18 Jul 2011

NZX responds to questions over grain exchange

6:57 pm on 18 July 2011

Stock exchange operator NZX is adamant it has fully disclosed all information about its Australian-based grain exchange.

Legal action by NZX against the former owners of the Clear grain exchange prompted questions over whether the stock market operator had given a full account of the trading platform's performance, and sparked the interest of the Financial Markets Authority.

NZX administers and enforces the listing rules, as well as being a commercial entity.

The company is preparing its half-year earnings results, which are due next month, and the controversy about the grain exchange prompted it to ask its auditors, KPMG, to hasten an assessment on the value of the business.

Based on KPMG's work, the NZX board has left the $7.8 million value of the grain exchange unchanged, which represents less than 3% of the company's overall market capitalisation.

It also says comments about the exchange's poor performance reflected previous years and did not indicate its current or future prospects, which, while small in NZX's overall operations, have improved.

The company notes previous legal action against Grant Thomas, a former owner of the Clear grain exchange, had been reported as a contingent liability in the 2010 financial accounts.

It also says the sale of shares by NZX chief executive Mark Weldon had been cleared by NZX's board and that information had been released to the market in compliance with the rules.

The Financial Markets Authority says it will consider NZX's response.