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MARKET CLOSE: Shares rise on Port of Tauranga deal

 New Zealand shares gained as Port of Tauranga rose to its highest level this year after inking a deal with the Fonterra and Silver Fern Farms-led Kotahi logistics venture guaranteeing minimum volumes across its wharves. Hallenstein Glasson Holdings climbed after saying late yesterday it was holding its own in the face of unseasonal weather.

The NZX 50 Index rose 25.613 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5130.154. Within the index, 30 stocks rose, six fell and 14 were unchanged. Turnover was $92.9 million.

Port of Tauranga, the nation's busiest export port, rose 4.4 percent to $15 after the announcement that Kotahi members had agreed to push 1.8 million containers across its wharves in the next 10 years and send more cargo to its half-owned Timaru Container Terminal. To cement the deal, Kotahi will take a 1.5 percent stake in Port of Tauranga and a half share of the Timaru terminal.

"It seems like another very robust deal done by the port's management team," said Grant Williamson, a director at brokerage Hamilton Hindin Greene. To reach such a long-term accord was very unusual, the deal was earnings-positive almost immediately and meant more business for Timaru, he said.

Lyttelton Port Co, which competes with Timaru, was unchanged at $3.15 after announcing a 30-year reclamation plan that will create space for a new container terminal and may cost up to $1 billion.

Ryman Healthcare, the nation's biggest retirement village operator, was unchanged at $8.43 after announcing its second $100 million development in as many months, a site at Pukekohe south of Auckland. The stock has soared about 440 percent in the past five years.

"It shows their continued aggressive expansion," Williamson said.

Retailers were mixed. Kathmandu rose 1.6 percent to $3.28, rising for a second day after a slump sparked by a profit warning it attributed to unseasonal weather. Warehouse Group, which has also trimmed its guidance because its having to discount winter stock, was unchanged at $3.04.

Hallenstein climbed 4.1 percent to $3.05. The clothing retailer said this week that sales in February-June were about 2 percent above year-earlier levels, despite unfavourable weather, and it had inventory levels under control.

Contact Energy led gains among power companies, rising 2.1 percent to $5.32. Meridian Energy was up 1.2 percent to $1.23 and Genesis Energy climbed 1.7 percent to $1.80.

A2 Milk Co was the biggest decliner on the NZX 50, falling 2.8 percent to 69 cents. Diligent Board Members Services fell about 2 percent to $3.99.

Of the two companies that debuted on the NZX this week, online travel booking firm Serko rose about 4 percent to $1.05, still below the $1.10 IPO price, while Gentrack Group, which sells software for utilities and airports, gained 1.6 percent to $2.53.

Guinness Peat Group rose 0.8 percent to 67.5 cents with 8.2 million shares changing hands. Trade Me Group rose 1.2 percent to $3.49 as 3.3 million shares traded.

Foley Family Wines rose 6.5 percent to $1.65 after flagging that it intends to join the benchmark index after a placement. Milford Asset Management has emerged with a 9.3 percent stake.

(BusinessDesk)

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