April 16, 2014 / 4:11 AM / 5 years ago

New Zealand govt raises $635 mln in Genesis stake sale

WELLINGTON, April 16 (Reuters) - New Zealand raised NZ$733 million ($635 million) from the sale of a minority stake in power firm Genesis Energy Ltd - the last of four partial privatisations to bolster state finances although they did not raise as much as first hoped.

The total amount raised through the programme came in at NZ$4.7 billion, bang on the latest government forecast but short of an initial range between NZ$5 billion and NZ$7 billion.

“(The sale) has raised billions of dollars that we can spend on assets New Zealanders want, without having to borrow overseas,” State owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall said in a statement.

Shares in Genesis, which has about a quarter of the country’s retail electricity market, will list on the NZX main board on Thursday.

Analysts have valued the shares between NZ$1.35 and NZ$1.93. The government set a share price of NZ$1.55 per share following a front-end bookbuild.

The offer includes a loyalty scheme for domestic investors, which awards a bonus share for every 15 held for 12 months from the offer, and the government has indicated a gross dividend payout for the 2015 financial year of up to 16.5 percent.

Factoring in the bonus share allocations, the government said 55 percent of the offered shares were snapped up by domestic retail investors, 20.5 percent by New Zealand institutions, while offshore institutions picked up 24.5 percent.

The government has also sold 49 percent stakes in Mighty River Power and Meridian Energy, while reducing its stake in Air New Zealand.

The Genesis sale had been considered to be the most difficult as it was the third utility company to be partially privatised. But market participants have become more optimistic about the country’s energy stocks, given that a plan by opposition political parties to create a single energy buyer may not come to fruition as the parties lag in voter support polls.($1 = 1.1566 New Zealand Dollars) (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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