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NZX CLOSE: NZ shares edge higher; Ebos, AMP Office, ANZ Bank rise

Friday 26th February 2010

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New Zealand shares edged higher, led by Ebos Group after the medical and scientific products distributor said it’s looking for acquisitions, and AMP NZ Office Trust announced an overhaul of its management structure.

The NZX 50 Index rose 4.41, or 0.1%, to 3156.10. Within the index, 23 stocks stocks rose, 17 fell and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $83 million.

Ebos (NZX: EBO ) climbed 4.7% to $6.25 after chief executive Mark Waller said full-year earnings would match the record level in the consensus of analyst forecasts at $23.5 million. Waller told BusinessWire the company could spend $100 million on acquisitions and is attracted to scientific products distributor in Australia.

The earnings track for Ebos rounds out a generally upbeat earnings season for New Zealand listed companies, who have managed to squeeze more profit out of declining revenue by cutting costs.

“In general it has been very good, very sound,” said Shane Solly, who oversees $50 million-to-$100 million for institutions and private investors. “Companies are delivering on costs and generally coming out with pretty robust balance sheets.”Solly says the pace of recovery in New Zealand may involve “bouncing on the bottom before a very sharp recovery.”

He cited the National Bank Business Outlook survey, out yesterday, which showed confidence has jumped to a 10-year high.

AMP NZ Office (NZX: APT )  rose 4.1% to 77 cents after the property investor bowed to shareholder pressure and said it will restructure by mid-year as a normal company with its own board and a new management fee structure to clearly separate the interests of the trust and its manager, AMP Haumi Management Ltd.

Steel & Tube Holdings (NZX: STU ), the supplier of steel building products to the construction industry, gained 4.3% to $2.65.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (NZX: ANZ )  gained 1.9% to $29.25, tracking its ASX-listed stock higher after the Melbourne-based lender’s four-month results showed underlying profit climbed 16% to A$1.6 billion in the period to Jan. 31, amid growing evidence of a strengthening Australian economy.

Delegat's Group (NZX: DGL ), which makes the Oyster Bay brand wines, tumbled 15% to $2.27 after forecasting a 30%-to-40% cut in full-year earnings as it prepares to write down the value of vineyards and their "biological assets" as wine industry oversupply sinks grape prices.

Air New Zealand (NZX: AIR ), the state-controlled national carrier, fell 1.5% to $1.29 after reporting first-half profit almost doubled as fuel costs tumbled and the airline reined in labour costs. Net income rose to $56 million while revenue declined 15%, reflecting lower yields, passenger numbers and cargo volumes. 

Widespread Energy (NZX: WEN ) jumped 20% to 12 cents after the company and its associate Widespread Portfolios said they had been granted a prospecting permit on the Chatham Rise, allowing them to test whether the area contains an estimated 100 million tonnes of rock phosphate, which could be worth $28 billion.Widespread Portfolios fell 11% to 15 cents.


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