Market close: Sydney Airport takeover bid sends Auckland International Airport shares soaring

The New Zealand sharemarket and Auckland International Airport came alive following a surprise $22 billion takeover bid across the ditch for counterpart Sydney Airport by an infrastructure fund consortium. Mainfreight also reached an unprecedented level of $80.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 100.47 points or 0.79 per cent to 12,812.32. There were 73 gainers and 61 decliners over the whole market on volume of 44.19 million share transactions worth $164.72 million.

Auckland International Airport surged 39c or 5.4 per cent to $7.61, indicating that the stock may be undervalued considering the unsolicited bid for Sydney Airport. Air New Zealand was also up 2.5c to $1.58.

An Australian consortium of superannuation funds, IFM Investors, QSuper and Global Infrastructure Fund, has offered A$8.25 ($8.83) a share for Sydney Airport, which climbed 32.7 per cent to A$7.71, at 5.45pm NZ time, on the ASX market. Sydney Airport was nearly A$9 before Covid-19 stunted air travel.

Shane Solly, portfolio manager with Harbour Asset Management, said the Sydney Airport takeover offer reinforced the valuation for Auckland airport. The offer showed that investors are prepared to pay more for longer-life infrastructure assets.

“Airports have been challenging, but we are getting closer to a normal degree of air travel,” said Solly. “The corporate activity has certainly driven the local market, and there will be more information to come out about Sydney Airport.”

Leading retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare received a setback when the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal turned down its $200m development at Mount Eliza on the Mornington Peninsula. Ryman will no doubt appeal and its share price fell 43c or 3.13 per cent to $13.29.

Global transport and logistics operator Mainfreight soared $3.15 or 4.1 per cent to a new high of $80. Courier and information management firm Freightways also strode to new heights, rising 19c to $13.11.

The milk stocks had strong days. Synlait was up 6c to $3.72; and a2 Milk rose 18c or 2.57 per cent to $7.19. The a2 Milk Company has gained Overseas Investment Office approval to buy 75 per cent of Mataura Valley Milk and the other 25 per cent will be held by China Animal Husbandry Group, which is the parent company of a2 Milk’s Chinese distribution partner, CSFA Holdings Shanghai.

Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was up 8c to $30.54; Ebos Group rose 20c to $32.20; Chorus increased 6c to $6.35; Port of Tauranga recovered 8c to $7.05; and Tourism Holdings collected 5c or 2 per cent to $2.55. Meridian Energy gained 4c to $5.22, but Mercury was down 17c or 2.47 per cent to $6.71.

Property companies Vital Healthcare gained another 6.5c or 1.97 per cent to $3.365; Stride Property picked up 4c to $2.59; and Argosy also rose 4c or 2.38 per cent to $1.72. Kiwi Property Group has opened a $100m, seven-year green bond, with up to $50m of oversubscriptions, and its share price edged ahead 0.005c to $1.18.

Amongst the small caps, NZME rose a further 2c or 2.35 per cent to 97c; Harmoney gained 9c or 4.97 per cent to $1.90; Rakon was up 5c or 5.38 per cent to 98c; TIL Logistics climbed 11c or 10 per cent to $1.21; and Cavalier increased 2c or 3.92 per cent to 53c.

Chemicals specialist DGL Group increased 4c or 2.58 per cent to $1.59 after buying Labels Connect, which is the main supplier of digital packaging labels to DGL’s Chem Pack business. Labels Connect produces one million labels per month and DGL make up 70 per cent of its revenue.

Shane Sampson, well respected in the technology sector, has switched listed companies by being named Serko’s new chief financial officer, after holding a similar role with Pushpay Holdings. Serko declined 4c to $7.60, and Pushpay was down 5c or 2.86 per cent to $1.70.

The New Zealand Refining Company, to be renamed Channel Infrastructure NZ, has sent out details to shareholders to convert the Marsden Point facility from a toll oil refinery to a fuel import terminal, primarily serving the Auckland and Northland markets. NZ Refinery’s share price gained 2c or 2.99 per cent to 69c.

Medicinal cannabis company Cannasouth will be completing a $6m capital raise after announcing it is buying out its cultivation and manufacturing joint ventures, Cannasouth Cultivation and Midwest Pharmaceutics NZ. Cannasouth will then have 100 per cent control, and its share price slipped 1c or 2.04 per cent to 48c.

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