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Share offer as US parent wastes away

By Michele Simpson

Friday 17th March 2000

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Wheelie bin-to-landfill listed company Waste Management is releasing its prospectus today for the $160 million stake in the local company being sold off by its US parent.

The secondary float offer opens on Monday but lead manager Warburg Dillon Read would not give a price range for the shares until the investment statement was made public today.

Waste Management International (WMI), listed on the NYSE, had made a decision last year to divest its international assets and non-core operations.

WMI plans to concentrate on its North American solid waste operations.

In New Zealand a decision was made to make another share offer but it is still unclear exactly how much of the 60.47% owned by WMI will be made available to the public here.

The offer is open to international fund institutions but available only to the public in New Zealand.

"We will have to wait and see where the demand is," a Warburg Dillon Read spokesman said.

"There is a lot of interest [from New Zealand and offshore]."

Waste Management New Zealand last month announced an operating profit after tax of $11.7 million for 1999, up from $10.8 million for the previous 12 months in 1998.

Total operation revenue had also risen from $78.7 million to $109 million from 1998 to 1999.

But the share price has dropped from nearly $4.80 at the beginning of the year to under $3.40. It finished yesterday at $3.36.

Waste Management New Zealand is also seeking a dual listing on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Analysts across the Tasman warn it is a bad time for New Zealand stocks to list in Australia, owing to the flood of "new age" technology companies offering public shares.

Waste Management managing director Kim Ellis was not available to comment on the sell-off.

The offer opens on Monday and closes on April 5.

WMI's Australian investments are not being floated but sold through a trade sale.

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