26 Feb 2014

Smaller Genesis stake may be offered

10:23 pm on 26 February 2014

The Government says investor appetite will dictate how much it sells of state-owned Genesis Energy.

Finance Minister Bill English said on Wednesday he expects to sell a minority stake in the power company in the second half of March this year, with a sharemarket listing about mid-April.

Finance Minister Bill English.

Finance Minister Bill English. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The Government will try another tack to sell the shares, mindful that investor enthusiasm for the part-privatisations of Mighty River Power and Meridian Energy waned last year. It will set the price investors will pay before the offer opens and loyalty bonus shares will again be offered.

The institutional bidding process, or book-build, will happen at the beginning of the sales process, rather than at the end of the process, as was done with the sales of Mighty River Power and Meridian Energy.

Mr English said this will also provide greater certainty for New Zealand retail investors because they will know the price before they apply for shares.

He said selling a smaller stake could mean a higher price for the Government and if it only decides to sell 30 percent, that will be last act in its asset sale programme.

"We want to make sure that we get good value for the taxpayer and we've opened up the possibility that one way to achieve that would be to sell less than 49 percent, because there's some indication that that might be required."

Mr English said the Government would have the option to pull out of the float up until the last minute.