Hart may float Carter Holt Harvey

Building products supplier Carter Holt Harvey is understood to be looking at listing on the NZX by July.

Building products supplier Carter Holt Harvey is understood to be considering listing on the NZX by July, although the brokers rumoured to be working on the float are declining to comment.

The business is owned by New Zealand’s richest man Graeme Hart, who paid $3.6 billion in 2006 for it and put a $3 billion-equivalent five-year leveraged loan in place to recapitalise the group.

Since then, he has sold off large chunks of the company, including all 30 Carter Holt Harvey farms, which were converted from forests, and a paper, pulp and packaging division sold a year ago for $1.04 billion to Japan's Oji Holdings and Innovation Network Corp of Japan.

All that is left of the original business is the timber products business Woodproducts (NZ and Australia) and the Carters Building Supplies outlets.

The business is tipped to float within the next three months. A market source says Mr Hart is expected to retain a cornerstone holding and the IPO could raise up to $1 billion based on earnings multiples, although this would be subject to price and demand.

Credit Suisse and First NZ Capital are said to be heading the IPO process, although First NZ Capital chief executive Scott St John declined to comment, citing stock exchange rules.