Market close: Shares fall as Sky TV farewells shareholder, Infratil drops
New Zealand shares fell, led by Sky Network Television after one of its oldest supporters exited its 11% stake. Infratil fell after the Commerce Commission questioned the profit made by Wellington International Airport and Tower rose after selling its medical business.
The NZX 50 Index fell 17.80 points, or 0.5%, to 3914.07. Within the index, 25 stocks fell, 13 rose and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $325 million, the busiest day this year, reflecting the sale of Todd Capital's Sky TV stake.
Sky TV, the nation's dominant pay-TV operator, fell 4.9% to $5.10. Todd Communications, part of the privately owned Todd Corp, agreed to sell its 11.1% stake in Sky for $218 million, ending a 22-year tie-up.
Todd sold the 43.2 million shares at $5.05 apiece, a 5.8% discount to their trading price yesterday.
"Sky has under-performed – the market has been concerned with their growth profile," says James Lindsay, equities manager at Tyndall Investment Management. Todd's holding "is a very chunky stake".
Investors are also pondering the threat from internet based rivals such as Netflix, he says.
Infratil declined 1.8% to $2.20. Wellington International Airport, which is co-owned by Wellington City Council and Infratil, has "excessive" earnings targets that aren't being pulled down by stricter disclosure rules, the Commerce Commission says.
"It is a reasonable-sized asset for Infratil and the value of the airport has been hit slightly," Mr Lindsay says.
Auckland International Airport, New Zealand's biggest gateway, fell 1.5% to $2.64.
Tower, the insurance and wealth management company, rose 1% to $1.95 after announcing it had agreed to sell Tower Medical Insurance to ASX-listed nib holdings for about $102 million and plans to return the capital to shareholders.
Tower Medical has a market share of about 13% and competes with Southern Cross.
The unit "was probably sub-scale" for Tower and it was seen as one of the harder units for it to sell, Mr Lindsay says.
Among smaller stocks, Lyttelton Port Co fell 4.6% to $2.10 after the company told shareholders it sees 2013 annual profit falling by as much as 23% as it moves outside its indemnity period for cruise revenue and on smaller volumes of coal exports.
Wellington Drive Technologies, the unprofitable maker of efficient electric motors, tumbled 15% to 16.6 cents after it posted a 23% slump in third-quarter sales after switching its focus this year to commercial refrigeration markets. It doesn't see much good news on the horizon.
Sales fell to $6.6 million in the three months ended September 30 from $8.8 million in the same period a year earlier, the Auckland-based company says in a statement.
TeamTalk, the owner of the CityLink fibre-optic broadband service, fell 0.4% to $2.61 after saying it wants to buy rural telecommunications provider Farmside Group for up to $42.1 million as it looks to grow its footprint beyond urban areas.