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Napier Port soars on debut as investors toast rare NZ listing


NAPIER Port Holdings, the operator of New Zealand's fourth-largest port by container volume, debuted at a 12 per cent premium to its offer price on Tuesday, as investors scooped up shares in a rare listing on the country's bourse.

The country's biggest IPO in at least three years comes amid heightened uncertainty around the US-China trade war that has affected trading partners like New Zealand, and contributed to weaker prices of log, the biggest export from the port.

However, CEO Todd Dawson told Reuters that the port had not seen any slowdown in the actual volumes of logs moving at this time.

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"Talks with forestry sector customers have indicated that the recent price slump in log price in particular has stabilised and there were some signs of recovery as well," he said.

The company, whose port is located on the south coast of New Zealand's North Island, hit the boards at NZ$2.91, giving it a market cap of NZ$582 million (S$517 million).

The stock was trading at NZ$3.0 as of 0332 GMT, compared with an offer price of NZ$2.60 a share.

Napier Port raised NZ$234 million earlier this month, after pricing its offering at the top end of a NZ$2.27 to NZ$2.60 range in an over-subscribed bookbuild.

Jeremy Sullivan, an investment adviser with Hamilton Hindin Greene in Christchurch, said investors were attracted to the company as "it is a good quality asset and was fairly priced".

The port operator has delivered profit growth for the past two years and will join on NZX bigger peer Port of Tauranga, which has beaten the benchmark for nearly two decades.

Napier Port plans to use the proceeds to reduce debt and fund the construction of a new wharf to increase the port's capacity. REUTERS