30 Jun 2021

Arborgen, AMP in potential mergers, acquisitions

3:15 pm on 30 June 2021

Two new potential deals have emerged today - the small tree genetics company Arborgen, and the New Zealand investment and advisory operations of Australia's AMP.

AMP is an Australian financial services company. This is its office in Melbourne.

Photo: 123rf

The Australian newspaper speculated the New Zealand arm of AMP Capital is being looked at by Australian investment giant, Macquarie, as its parent looks to sell more non-core assets.

Citing unnamed sources the paper said the operation, which offers investment management services including KiwiSaver funds, was potentially worth $500 million.

The business has previously been slated for divestment through a sale, or NZX listing, before AMP decided to keep it as a stand-alone operation.

The renewed talk of a sale has been prompted by expectations that AMP, badly scarred in the fallout from the Australian banking Royal Commission, will need extra funds to cover further consumer and restructuring costs.

AMP's local management said it would not comment on market speculation.

Meanwhile, Arborgen, formerly known as Rubicon and one of the last remnants of the former Fletcher Forests, disclosed it had received an indicative, non-binding, and highly conditional bid from a "credible third party".

It said the offer through a scheme of arrangement or some other method "materially undervalued the company".

"In light of this, the board has decided to commence a strategic review ... to consider all options to unlock value for the benefit of all shareholders. These options could include but are not limited to, a potential sale of all of the shares in, or all or some of the assets of the company, or a US listing," the company said in a statement to the NZX.

The US-based but New Zealand-listed company's share price surged more than 25 percent on the news to 21 cents a share, valuing the company at just under $135 million. Last month it raised its earnings forecast for the coming year to between $US13m-$US14.5m compared with $US11.5m this year.

The company has a range of nurseries and other facilities producing 540 million seedlings of various species for the timber and agriculture industries in Australia, New Zealand, US, and Brazil.

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