Market close: Huljich’s Pushpay shares sale worth $320m

Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Meridian and Contact Energy have much in common. They are three of the biggest cap stocks and at present they are the most volatile on the New Zealand sharemarket.

Their price movements, up and down, have often produced near-crazy swings in the S&P/NZX 50 Index. In the latest trading, they led the index upwards – a day after driving the market down nearly 1.5 per cent.

The index gained 65.25 points or 0.53 per cent to 12,394.34, with 77 gainers and 67 decliners across the whole market. Volume reached 224 million share transactions worth $454.72 million but the trading was dominated by a large parcel of Pushpay Holdings shares changing hands. Without that transaction, the overall volume would have been a paltry 51m shares worth about $134m.

Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare rose $1 or 3.36 per cent to $30.80; Contact Energy was up 7c to $6.82; and Meridian gained 15.5c or 2.96 per cent to $5.40.

Contact said it has engaged Plimmerton-based Roaring40s Wind Power to develop a pipeline of large-scale wind farms in New Zealand over the next six years.

There was plenty of other corporate news to spur the market along. Greg Smith, head of research for Fat Prophets, said the activity on the corporate front was pretty positive and the buyers have come back into the market after a bout of weakness.

Founding Pushpay investors Peter and Christopher Huljich sold their remaining 173 million shares, at $1.85 a share, to US investment firm Sixth Street in a deal worth $320m. Sixth Street becomes Pushpay’s largest shareholder with 17.8 per cent, and Pushpay’s share price increased 18c or 10.17 per cent to $1.95.

Smith said investors got excited about the fact that Sixth Street has invested in fast-growing technology companies such as Airbnb and Spotify, and will be looking for Sixth Street to give Pushpay a big push in its home market of the United States.

Apple grower and exporter Scales Corporation confirmed it was involved in the sale process of Villa Maria winery – the price tag is understood to be $200m – and its share price increased 6c to $4.61 following a sharp 4.6 per cent rise the day before.

Smith said the share price rise indicated the potential purchase of Villa Maria would be well received. “It’s an interesting one. Despite a lack of synergy, Scales has seemingly beaten off other rivals and is diversifying into a great branded asset.”

Retailer Kathmandu Holdings climbed 11c or 8.87 per cent to $1.35 after reporting a 13 per cent rise in revenue to $410.7m and increased net profit of $22.28m for the half-year ending January. Surfwear company Rip Curl contributed strongly to the result with an 86 per cent increase in sales to $251.5m. Kathmandu is paying an interim dividend of 2c a share on June 4.

Smith said the better-than-expected financial result was a pleasant surprise for investors. The timing of the Rip Curl acquisition didn’t look good for Kathmandu but Rip Curl is performing and carrying its weight.

Oceania Healthcare, price $1.39, went into a trading halt to raise up to $100m for buying the 100-unit Waterford on Hobsonville retirement village and more than 6ha of land in Franklin to develop a further village with 200 residences.

Fellow retirement village operators all had down days. Ryman Healthcare fell 28c to $15.41; Summerset Group Holdings declined 51c or 4 per cent to $12.23; and Arvida was down 3c to $1.70. “May be there was a bit of rotation selling to fund the Oceania capital raising,” said Smith.

Amongst the gainers, Ebos Group recovered 70c or 2.43 per cent to $29.50; Mercury Energy collected 10c to $6.30; EROAD climbed 17c or 4.25 per cent to $4.17; Sanford gained 9c or 1.99 per cent to $4.62; and Serko picked up another 2c to $6.39, having increased 614 per cent over the past 12 months.

Amongst the decliners, Port of Tauranga was down 18c to $7.50; Skellerup Holdings shed 8c or 1.87 to $4.20; Freightways decreased 14c to $10.93; Fletcher Building declined 13c or 1.93 per cent to $6.62; Briscoe Group lost 11.5c or 2.03 per cent to $5.55; and PGG Wrightson was down 14c or 4.11 per cent to $3.27.

Blis Technologies was the day’s biggest mover, rising 0.008c or 14.81 per cent to 6.2c after telling the market it is launching its third commercial probiotic strain to promote healthy skincare.

Employment solutions provider PaySauce has launched the BNZ PayNow mobile app that allows employees to draw down on funds or wages they’ve already earned, with no interest. PaySauce rose 1.5c or 5.26 per cent to 30c.

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