26 Jun 2014

Gentrack boss pleased with float

7:48 am on 26 June 2014

Specialist utilities and airports software provider Gentrack has started trading after earlier raising $99 million at $2.40 a share.

The stock opened at $2.58, and hit a high of $2.60 before easing back to end the session at $2.49.

Gentrack chief executive James Docking said he was pleased the company has proved popular with investors.

However, he was at pains to distance the company from other listed tech companies which had a bumpy ride during the past few weeks.

"We're not a tech stock in the way that Xero or Wynward or Serko are. They're companies that are going for high growth - essentially doing a land grab in various areas in the hope that in the future they will have a significant customer base from which they can create a profit," Mr Docking said.

"We're more what you'd call an infrastructure software company, where we're dealing with big, large infrastructure companies - electricity, water, gas and airport companies."

Gentrack was listing to increase its viability in the eyes of both existing, and potential, international customers, Mr Docking said.

"The main reason for the float was that we're becoming more and more successful internationally. Most of our business is outside New Zealand now, and we're winning bigger and bigger deals with larger and larger utility companies.

"What they want is assurance that we're going to be around for 20 years, that their relationship with Gentrack is going to outlast James Docking in the current management team."

It was hard to give that assurance as a privately owned company with quite a big debt, or with private equity owners, he said.

"So we felt that by lifting the company it would give that sort of solid, transparent platform for the business which would help us secure these big, international deals."

Meanwhile Gentrack issued its interim report on Wednesday for the six months ended March, with net profit of about $2.4 million, up from $2 million in the six months to March 2013.