Scales expected to file for IPO within fortnight

Scales MD Andy Borland

Horticulture and logistics company Scales Corporation confirms it is considering an initial public offering and NZX listing possibly as early as next month.

Scales is currently 84% owned by private equity investor Direct Capital, through its Direct Capital IV and Pohutukawa II funds along with co-investment partners New Zealand Superannuation Fund and ACC.

The balance of the shares are held by senior management team members and some 400 external investors.

The proposed offer will likely comprise the sale of existing shares and the issue of new shares by the company. 

Direct Capital intends to sell down a portion of its current shareholding in Scales, but is looking to retain a cornerstone shareholding, according to a statement issued by the company and its advisors this morning.
Deutsche Craig and First NZ Capital are the joint lead managers for the offer.

A prospectus is expected to be available in mid-June and the company expects the shares to be quoted on the NZX Main Board in late July, the statement said.

Scales lifted profit by 50% in 2013 as rising Asian demand for apples helped mitigate the impact of a stronger kiwi dollar.

Net profit rose to $20.4 million in calendar 2013, from $13.6 million a year earlier.

Sales rose 17 percent to $278 million.

The company’s Mr Apple unit exported 4 million cartons, of which 2.82 million cartons were grown at its own orchards. Scales didn't break down earnings for its horticulture, storage and logistics, and food ingredients units.

Apples made up a third of New Zealand's $1.55 billion in fruit exports in the year ended March 31, with Thailand the biggest destination in Asia with $46 million in annual sales.

Direct Capital and co investors the Superfund and ACC, acquired a 79% stake in Scales for $44 million in 2011 from the late Allan Hubbard's failed finance group, South Canterbury Finance.

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