9 Sep 2010

Foreign ownership of listed firms still falling

7:16 am on 9 September 2010

Foreign ownership of the country's listed firms is continuing to ebb.

In its latest annual snapshot of who owns the equity market, JB Were says foreigners' holdings fell from 38% to 36%, while retail investors and local managed funds lifted their shares.

JB Were strategist Bernard Doyle says the change, in part, reflects greater local savings being poured in by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund.

But it also highlights, he says, dwindling foreign interest in the country's stockmarket because of a lack of quality firms.

Offshore firms do have a strong presense in some sectors, such as banking, while top stocks like Telecom, Fletcher Building and Contact continue to have substantial overseas ownership.

Mr Doyle says local ownership will be boosted by tax changes aimed at boosting the productive sector and Capital Market Development Taskforce recommendations to sell stakes in state-owned enterprises.