22 Dec 2012

Three partial asset sales next year 'too many'

10:22 am on 22 December 2012

A fund manager says the possibility of the partial float of three state-owned energy companies next year might prove indigestible to investors and lessen the value of the sales.

Low interest rates, a buoyant stock market and unsatisfied local demand for units in Fonterra's Shareholders Fund has raised speculation the Government could sell 49% stakes in Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy and Genesis Energy by the end of 2013.

Finance Minister Bill English is keen to get two partial sales completed and won't rule out a third.

But Milford Asset Management executive director Brian Gaynor says selling stakes in one company at a time is the best approach.

"I think that to say we're going to do three electricity generators in one year would possibly frighten people away," he says.

"There's only a certain amount of money in New Zealand and if it gets spread amongst three new electricity generation companies it might dissipate the positive impact that the first and second one might have."

Mr Gaynor thinks there would be appetite for one, or possibly two, floats.