24 Jul 2013

Synlait starts strong on NZX

7:39 pm on 24 July 2013

Shares in Synlait Milk traded at a healthy premium to their issue price at their debut on the New Zealand stock exchange.

The shares were issued at $2.20 but began trading on the NZX on Tuesday at $2.62 before rising as high as $2.80. They ended their first day at $2.74.

Synlait raised $75 million to repay debt and to fund its growth plans for infant formula and other products, and existing shareholders also sold nearly $38.7 million worth of shares.

Managing director and founder John Penno said there will be debate over whether the issue price was too low, but said the strategy has been to build long-term value by getting the right share register together.

"Ultimately, 85% of the shareholders are still in the company - those who were there before the IPO are still there today and so they're enjoying this uplift in value that's happening as we list."

NZX chief executive Tim Bennett said it was particularly pleasing to have a listing by a company that has a good exposure to the key agricultural sector.

He said he hopes Synlait Milk's successful debut will provide an example for other mid-sized New Zealand companies to list on the exchange.

Mr Bennett said there's a real confidence in the New Zealand market and a strong pipeline of potential floats scheduled for the next six to nine months.