Unlisted wins Zespri share trading from ShareMart

The shift to Unlisted from ShareMart is effective from February 1, 2016.

Zespri International, the global marketer of New Zealand kiwifruit owned by about 3000 current and former growers, is moving its share trading platform to the Unlisted market.

The shift to Unlisted from ShareMart is effective from February 1, 2016, the Mount Maunganui-based company said in a letter to shareholders and growers posted on its website. To buy shares, Zespri growers must demonstrate current production of kiwifruit.

The change to Unlisted comes after the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project recommended Zespri review its share trading platform to ensure it was facilitating the fair distribution of market information, was cost effective and reduced share price volatility through increased share trading visibility and liquidity. As part of new legislation on the licensing of financial markets, ShareMart this month ceased operating as an unregistered financial market and became a "matching service" for potential buyers and sellers of Zespri shares.

Zespri selected the Unlisted market over alternatives such as the NZX's NXT market and the existing ShareMart platform because the cost of trading on Unlisted was about 35% cheaper, it was independent from Zespri and subject to independent oversight, it said. The change reflected Zespri's maturity, improved share trading transparency and access to historic information, and offered the ability to leverage the market announcement platform.

Off-market trading in the shares, which often occurs alongside an orchard sale, will continue to be offered through Computershare Investor Services, which runs ShareMart, Zespri said.

The addition of Zespri will take Unlisted's issuers to 14. Unlisted said it has had increased interest from prospective issuers since it was granted an exemption from the licensing requirements of the Financial Markets Conduct Act in August. Share trading on Unlisted takes place through its six registered brokers.

Zespri shares last changed hands at $1.69 through ShareMart, according to Zespri's website.

Computershare's ShareMart platform, a screen-based, order matching system, also offers trading for EastPack, MTF Vehicle Finance, SYFT Technologies, and Waikato Property Investments, according to its website.