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Gaynor's Milford kicks $16mln into Xero's $180 mln capital raising

Tuesday 15th October 2013

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Milford Asset Management, with more than $2 billion under management, participated in Xero's $180 million capital raising this week, building a 0.7 percent in the stock exchange's eighth biggest company.

A number Milford's funds, including Trans-Tasman Fund, Dynamic Fund, Active Growth Fund and Active Growth KiwiSaver Fund, contributed $16 million at $18.15 a share in Xero's placement this week, having invested in the company on and off over the past few years. Xero sold 9.92 million shares to build a $230 million war-chest as it looks to break into the US market.

"One of Milford's founding principles was to invest in New Zealand companies with strong global ambitions. These companies create jobs, economic growth and wealth for shareholders," chairman of Milford's investment committee, Brian Gaynor, in a statement. "Hopefully Xero is the beginning of a new trend as far as New Zealand companies are concerned."

The shares gained 4.5 percent to $20.58 today, delivering a 13 percent gain to investors in two days. The stock has more than tripled in value for every year since its 2007 initial public offering at $1 a share, and Xero is now valued at $2.42 billion, leapfrogging casino operator SkyCity Entertainment and pay-TV firm Sky Network Television.

The sale represents 8 percent of the enlarged capital of the company and gives it a much wider cash buffer to fund growth as it chases 1 million customers, almost five times its current customer base of 211,000.

Valar and Matrix last injected funds into Xero in November, with $60 million of new capital, while buying $22 million of shares from director Craig Winkler, Drury, and co-founder Hamish Edwards at the same time.

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