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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, Vista and Xero gain while Goodman, Arvida drop

Friday 31st March 2017

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New Zealand shares gained, led by Vista Group International and Xero, while Goodman Property and Arvida Group declined.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 27.67 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,196.78. Within the index, 25 stocks rose, 19 fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $203.7 million.
Vista Group International was the best performer, up 2.8 percent to $5.98, while Xero gained 2.6 percent to $19.79.
Freightways rose 2.6 percent to $7.49, an all time record, and has gained 19 percent in the past 12 months.
"It's been an extremely good performer for quite some time now, and with retail stocks saying e-sales are growing it stands to benefit," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. 
Sky Network Television gained 1.8 percent to $3.92. The stock dropped to a near-six year low of $3.78 on Feb. 23 after the Commerce Commission rejected its proposed merger with the New Zealand operations of the global telecommunications giant, Vodafone. The companies have lodged a High Court appeal against the decision.
Goodman Property was the worst performer, down 1.6 percent to $1.205, while Arvida Group declined 1.6 percent to $1.27 and Metro Performance Glass dropped 1.5 percent to $1.30.
Retirement village operator Oceania Healthcare announced today it is planning to raise $200 million in a much-anticipated initial public offering in order to cut its debt and potentially buy new development sites, and will list on the NZX and ASX. The bookbuild will take place on April 11 and 12, and the company expects to start trading on the NZX and ASX on May 5, it said. 
"It could put a little bit of pressure on other listed retirement village stocks, investors don't want to get overexposed to that sector so you might see a bit of weakness but I wouldn't expect too much," Williamson said.
Listed retirement village operators declined today, with Summerset Group down 1 percent to $5.17 and Metlifecare dipping 0.3 percent to $6.13.
Separately, Summerset announced it will expand its funding lines with a new $600 million syndicated loan facility refinance to pay for development projects in existing and future retirement villages as a housing boom continues and an ageing population grows.
Outside the benchmark index, NPT dropped 0.9 percent to 58.5 cents. The company has called a special meeting on April 21 to be held in Auckland where a proposed deal with Kiwi Property Group will be put to shareholders with the blessing of the board. A rival bid by Augusta Capital, which owns 9.3 percent of NPT, won’t be discussed at the meeting but Augusta’s resolutions to dump the board and install its own directors will still be voted on.
Salt Funds principal Matt Goodson yesterday urged his fellow NPT shareholders to reject the deal, and NPT chairman Tony Sewell today said he was "disappointed" and he will take it up directly with the fund manager. 
"It's been an ongoing battle for a wee while now," Williamson said. "I think most people know NPT in its current form doesn't have the size nor scale to survive amongst the listed property stocks on the market, so something will have to happen."

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