20 Aug 2013

Z Energy still able to grow - chief executive

7:08 am on 20 August 2013

Z Energy chief executive Mike Bennetts believes the company still has the potential to grow following its strong sharemarket debut.

The shares began trading on Monday and finished the day at $3.66, down from their debut at $3.73 but still at a 4.5% premium to the $3.50 issue price.

The forecast dividends of about $88 million for this financial year to Z Energy's new investors will mean a gross dividend yield well above 8%.

Major trading banks are currently offering between 4.5% and 5.1% on five-year term deposits.

Z Energy shares traded between $3.64 and $3.74, with more than $195 million of stock changing hands.

About a quarter of the shareholders are retail investors and 35% are institutional investors, while the original shareholders, the infrastructure investor, Infratil, and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, still hold 40% between them.

Mr Bennetts said it was important to his company to have a diverse pool of shareholders, and he believed that had been achieved.

"First of all, it's obvious that we're a yield stock so we have strong cashflow so that makes us attractive as a starting point," he said.

"And there are growth opportunities for us within our current core business. There's still a bit more that we can do. We can still continue to invest in our stores, we can continue to expand our retail service station footprint and we can continue to develop our offers in the commercial market.

"So I'd say there is still some growth to come."

Infratil and the Super Fund reaped $840 million from the share sale.

Fund general manager of investment Matt Whineray said he was pleased with the way Z Energy's shares had debuted.

"As a percentage of our portfolio, Z had increased since we bought it," he said.

"The investment had performed very well, Mike and the team had done a great job in transforming the business and, as a result, the value of Z had grown proportionally."

The super fund had sold as it was looking to rebalance its portfolio but Z Energy remained one of its larger investments, Mr Whineray said.

The proceeds from the sale would initially be reinvested in public markets, he said.