Member log in

Market close: Shares rise, led by Xero after it doubles 1H sales

(BusinessDesk) New Zealand shares rose, led by Xero after it more than doubled first half sales and said it expects to list across the Tasman next year. The gainers were paced by Nuplex Industries, Air New Zealand, Fletcher Building and Telecom.

The NZX 50 Index rose 41.21 points, or 1.1%, to 3871.25, on turnover of $97 million.

Xero, the cloud-based accounting platform provider, rose 3.8% to $5.40. The Wellington-based company has more than doubled first-half sales to $16.7 million and is proceeding with its plan for a secondary listing on the ASX, which it expects will happen in November.

The stock has surged 88% this year.

"They have focused on getting customers and growing revenue and sales – profit is not their concern. There is nothing wrong with that strategy," says Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners.

"It looks expensive on the traditional ways that you measure a company but people investing in these companies are there for the long term – it's a growth story. To date it's hard to fault them because they keep delivering."

Nuplex Industries, the specialty chemical maker, gained 2.8% to $2.90. Air New Zealand, slated for a government selldown, increased 2.1% to $1.21.

Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest construction company, climbed 1.4% to $7.16. Telecom, the nation's biggest listed company, rose 1.5% to $2.40.

Goodman Fielder, the food ingredients manufacturer whose brands include Edmonds baking products and Vogel's bread, fell 1.6% to 63 cents.

It has completed the sale of its commercial oils business, Integro, to a consortium comprising GrainCorp and Gardner Smith for $A170 million. Funds from the sale will be used to reduce debt and strength Goodman's balance sheet.

Declines were led by Tower Insurance, which is about one third-owned by Guinness Peat Group, down 1.7%  to $1.77.

"You still have uncertainty around where the ownership will end up," Mr Lister says. "Over August and September other companies have powered ahead and Tower has lagged behind. There is no clear path forward for them."

Heartland New Zealand, the lender formed from the merger of Pyne Gould's Marac Finance with the Canterbury and Southern Cross building societies, fell 0.7% to 66 cents.

Michael Hill, New Zealand's only listed jewellery maker, fell 0.9% to $1.15. The Warehouse, the largest retailer on the NZX 50, shed 0.3% to $2.95.

Comvita, which makes products based on the virtues of manuka honey, dropped 2% to $4.01 even as it ramped up its supply, buying Whanganui-based Kiwi Honey for an undisclosed sum.

The Te Puke-based company will add 3500 beehives to its supply base after buying the apiary.