Warehouse worst performer on NZX 50 Index after trading resumes following share sale

Mark Powell, Warehouse Group Chief executive
James Lindsay, Senior Portfolio Manager at Tyndall Investment Management
Warehouse Group 5-day price history (NZX.com)
Warehouse Group 12-month price history (NZX.com)

UPDATEDWarehouse Group [NZX: WHS] is the worst performer on New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 Index today after the shares resumed trading following a discounted stock offering to raise money for the retailer's expansion into financial services.

Shares in Warehouse dropped 3.6 percent to $3.48 after the retailer yesterday raised $100 million selling shares at a discount of $3.23 apiece. The shares closed at $3.61 on Wednesday before the company issued a trading halt ahead of the announcement of its earnings and the expansion into financial services.

New Zealand's largest listed retailer said yesterday it plans to pay $3 million for the Diners Club New Zealand business to beef up its financial services offering, as part of a plan to get half its earnings from areas other than its core 'Red Sheds'.

Warehouse is following retailers including Target Corp and Tesco as it aims to boost earnings from selling financial services and help the estimated 1.5 million people who come through its doors every year buy more products.

The company expects to have $600 million of receivables by the 2020 financial year, which it anticipates could add $30 million to earnings. The company currently generates about $400 million of receivables for third parties and its joint venture, from which it receives a small share of profits.

"To bring it in house and try and get a little more margin out of that seems perfectly logical," said James Lindsay, who helps manage about $400 million in equities at Tyndall Investment Management. "It's obviously another leg for operations, a strategic area."

(BusinessDesk)

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EARLIERWarehouse Group [NZX: WHS], the country's biggest listed retailer, successfully raised $100 million from institutional investors to help fund its drive into financial services.

The Auckland-based company sold the shares at $3.23, an 11 percent discount to its last trading price, to 15 local and Australian institutions and a broad range of eligible New Zealand retail investors, it said in a statement. The settlement date for the new shares is March 13. It will launch a share purchase plan to raise a further $15 million from existing investors on March 24.

"It is pleasing to see the market has recognised the value of our move into financial services," chief executive Mark Powell said. "Investors have signalled that they endorse our business strategy and we are looking forward to extending the offer to eligible shareholders via the share purchase plan."

Warehouse raised the funds yesterday to bolster its balance sheet as it looks to take a $3 million stake in Diners Club New Zealand and beef up its financial services offering. It had cash and equivalents of $42.6 million as at Jan. 26, generating net cash inflow of $19.9 million in the six month period after boosting its operational cash flow 64 percent.

The retailer hopes to emulate the likes of Target Corp and Tesco by encouraging customers to buy more of its products.

It expects to have $600 million of receivables by the 2020 financial year. The company currently generates about $400 million of receivables for third parties and its joint venture.

The shares will resume trading today, closing at $3.61 on Wednesday, and have slipped 3.5 percent this year.

(BusinessDesk)

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