21 Aug 2013

Success of Meridian share offer tipped

9:04 am on 21 August 2013

The Shareholder's Association is confident the partial sale of Meridian Energy will be a success.

The Government announced on Tuesday that it will sell up to 49% of the company.

Small shareholders will be able to pay for their shares in instalments and the maximum price they have to pay will be capped.

Shareholders Association chair John Hawkins said that will be a reassuring drawcard for first-time investors, and provide a lot more certainty.

Hamilton Hinden Green brokerage director Grant Williamson said the float will appeal to a wide range of investors.

He said first-time investors can pay for the shares in instalments and receive three dividend payments before they have to pay the remaining 40%.

Fisher Funds managing director Carmel Fisher told Morning Report that instalment payments are a legitimate way of raising capital, and is often done in floats.

But she says there are risks, such as investors forgetting about delayed payments.

Ms Fisher said another risk is the prospect of the share price dropping below the balance of what an investor owes.

She said how the Government prices the sale will determine its success.

Further comment

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said the way the Government will float shares in Meridian Energy will cost $40 million.

He told Morning Report that places a heavy burden on the taxpayer.

Dr Norman said only 2% or 3% of New Zealanders will buy shares in Meridian while the other 98 percent have to pick up the cost of the sale.