This article originally appeared in the NZ Herald.
The NZX/ASX listing debate has raised questions about the performance of New Zealand companies listed on the ASX.
Have these companies, particularly NZ businesses listed on the ASX only, taken advantage of the larger investment base across the Tasman?
There are 54 New Zealand companies listed on the ASX, with 45 of these dual listed on the NZX and the remaining nine on the ASX only. These nine companies are profiled in the accompanying table.
By contrast, there are only six Australian companies listed on the NZX.
Before starting this analysis, it is important to note that there are three main requirements for a successful stock exchange listing;
- IPO promoters must have exciting stories and visions to present to investors
- Companies must achieve their initial forecasts
- Board and management must continue to communicate clear strategies to investors and achieve these objectives on a consistent basis.
Companies won’t be successful if they don’t achieve these objectives, regardless of whether they are listed on the ASX, NZX or any other stock exchange.
9 Spokes was established in Auckland in 2011 and listed on the ASX in June 2016.
Chairman Paul Reynolds, the former Spark NZ chief executive, wrote in the prospectus that the company was formed “with a view of becoming a globally leading cloud services brokerage, particularly for small- to medium-sized enterprises. Since that time, the company has developed software to support an online marketplace platform for apps made available by third parties”.
Reynolds went on to write that the company “now has contracts with some major finance and banking industry channel partners” but “the shares remain speculative”.
9 Spokes raised A$25 million through the issue of shares at A20c each in mid-2016.
The company reported a net loss of $14.1m for the March 2017 year on revenue of just $1.2m, although it has had a recent capital raising and released more optimistic forecasts.
Its share price is 55 per cent below the IPO price.
Bathurst Resources, which is based in Wellington, originally listed on the NZX and ASX in mid-2013. However, in mid-2015 it delisted from the NZX and became an ASX-only company while maintaining its Wellington head office.
There was minimal investor interest in the company when it delisted from the NZX when its share price was trading at only 1.5c. Interest in the company has picked up since then, particularly after it purchased several coal mines previously owned by the failed Crown-owned Solid Energy.
Broken Hill Prospecting, which is based in Parnell, listed on the NZX and ASX in 2011 following the issue of 22.5 million shares at A20c each. The company had several prospecting licences in the Broken Hill area.
Broken Hill delisted from the NZX in early 2013, while remaining on the ASX, but has attracted minimal investor interest across the Tasman.
CropLogic, which is based in Lincoln and chaired by former Brierley Investment executive John Beattie, is the latest New Zealand company to opt for the ASX only. The company raised A$8m through the issue of 40 million shares at A20c each and listed across the Tasman three months ago.
CropLogic’s latest interim report described its business as “an agronomy services company, blending science, technology and agronomy to help large-scale growers make better decisions in the management of their crops. It currently operates in Australia, the USA and New Zealand”.
There has been minimal interest in the company, with its share price down nearly 50 per cent from the IPO price after just over three months on the ASX.
Living Cell Technologies, which listed on the ASX in September 2004, is based in Auckland. The company’s share price has fluctuated wildly in recent months as investors responded negatively to the results of its Phase 11b NTCELL clinical study for Parkinson’s disease.
Martin Aircraft, the Christchurch-based developer of the Martin Jetpack, listed on the ASX in February 2015 after it raised A$27m through the issue of 67.5m shares at A40c each. The stock traded above $1 for a short period after listing but investor interest has dissipated in the past year.
Only A$3m worth of Martin Aircraft shares have traded on the ASX this year compared with $13.5m worth last year and $105.8m in 2015.
The simple reason is that the Martin Jetpack hasn’t lived up to its hype with the company generating revenue of only $13,432 for the June 2017 year and reporting a loss of $24.4m.
Neuren Pharmaceuticals, which is based in Auckland and listed on the ASX in February 2005, is the largest company in this group in terms of sharemarket value. Neuren is a biopharmaceutical company developing therapies for brain injury, neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders.
The company recently had a one for 20 share consolidation.
Chairman Kerry McDonald wrote in the Powerhouse Ventures prospectus that the company “works with research-intensive organisations (such as universities and Crown Research Institutes) to identify valuable intellectual property (IP), then commercialise this through start-up companies in which Powerhouse invests”. The Christchurch-based company had a highly diversified portfolio of 19 ventures in the areas of clean-tech, healthcare and digital/ICT.
Powerhouse raised $11.5m through its IPO, at A$1.07 a share, in October 2016. It had been hoping to raise A$20m.
Powerhouse has been rocked by controversy since listing and its share price is now 70 per cent below the IPO price. Only A$1.1m worth of the company’s shares have been traded on the ASX since the end of 2016.
Finally, Wellington-based Volpara Health Technologies listed on ASX in April 2016 following the issue of 20 million shares at A50c that raised A$10m.
Chairman Roger Allen wrote that Volpara “helps in the early detection of breast cancer.
Volpara develops digital health solutions to enable personalised high-quality breast cancer screening based on objective measurements of breast density”.
There has been reasonable interest in the stock with A$6.8m worth of shares trading in the second half of 2016, $5.2m in the first half of the current year and $11.3m since June 30.
Volpara’s share price has remained consistently above its IPO price.
The company reported sales revenue of $1.3m for the six months to September 30 and a loss of $4.2m.
An assessment of these nine NZ companies listed on the ASX contradicts a widely held belief that there is easy money — and a guaranteed strong share price performance — across the Tasman.
Most of the nine companies had good stories and visions before listing but they have failed to achieve the other criteria outlined at the beginning of this column.
They either didn’t achieve their initial forecasts and/or they have failed to communicate a clear strategy to investors and achieve these objectives on a consistent basis.
Martin Aircraft is a clear example.
The harsh reality is that many of New Zealand companies listed on the ASX, but not on the NZX, are now worth less than the equity they raised. The ASX is not an easy ride, Australian investors are particularly harsh on companies that don’t meet expectations.
Consequently, New Zealand companies need to realise that meeting the three objectives outlined above has a far greater impact on their sharemarket performance than the decision to list on the NZX, ASX or any other exchanges.