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Govt to sell 20% of Air NZ's shares at an 'opportune time' via two-day bookbuild

Govt to sell 20% of Air NZ's shares at an 'opportune time' via two-day bookbuild

The Government says it'll sell a 20% stake in Air New Zealand during Monday and Tuesday, reducing taxpayers' holding in the national airline to 53%.

Finance Minister Bill English and State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall announced on Sunday afternoon they had started the process to sell 20% of Air New Zealand's shares.

Ryall said Air New Zealand shares were trading at five-year highs, making it an opportune time to conduct the sell-down.

The company's shares closed at $1.65 on Friday, valuing the 20% stake at about $363 million.

“The Crown currently owns 73% of Air New Zealand. Therefore, the sale of 20% of Air New Zealand shares will leave the Government with a shareholding of around 53% of the airline," English and Ryall said.

“A sale of shares to New Zealand brokers and to New Zealand and some offshore institutions will commence tomorrow, Monday 18 November, via a bookbuild process,” Mr English said. “We expect the transaction to be completed by Tuesday evening."

“New Zealanders will be at the front of the queue for shares and we are confident we will achieve the Government’s objective of at least 85% New Zealand ownership."

English and Ryall noted that the Air New Zealand sell-down was a different scenario to those that have preceded it under the Mixed Ownership Model - Mighty River Power and Meridian - because Air New Zealand is already listed on the New Zealand and Australian sharemarkets.

The Mighty River Power and Meridian sell-downs raised $3.6 billion, and with just Genesis Energy to come, the Government looks like falling short of its target of raising between $5 billion and $7 billion.

See all our stories on the SOE sell-downs here.

“The Treasury sought proposals from its panel of financial advisers to carry out an off-market sell down via a bookbuild. Craigs Investment Partners, together with Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, have been appointed to undertake the transaction and work with New Zealand sharebrokers in particular to target widespread New Zealand ownership," Ryall and English said.

“Shares will be sold via a competitive bookbuild process to New Zealand sharebrokers for on-sale to New Zealanders, and to New Zealand and some overseas institutional investors."

The ministers said this type of sell-down was generally conducted off-market when the company’s shares are not trading on a stock exchange, to ensure the company’s share price isn't affected by speculative trading. Air New Zealand shares on the NZX and ASX will be in a trading halt on Monday and Tuesday, with share trading expected to resume on Wednesday.

“Usually these types of sales are completed in less than one day. However, to target widespread New Zealand ownership, we are conducting the bookbuild over Monday and Tuesday to give New Zealand sharebrokers time to discuss the offer with retail investors," said English and Ryall.

“The proceeds of the (asset sell-down) programme have been allocated to the Future Investment Fund so the money can be reinvested in new assets and new infrastructure without the need to borrow money from overseas lenders,” said Ryall.
Here's some questions and answers the Government released with the Air New Zealand statement and a timeline graphic

Why is the Air New Zealand sell down occurring now?

The Crown is progressing through its share offer programme and has previously committed to sell down its shareholding in Air New Zealand when market conditions were right. Air New Zealand’s share price has recently been trading at five year highs and the NZX is up by around 25 per cent over the past 12 months, so it is an opportune time to sell down the Crown’s shareholding to maximise proceeds for the benefit of New Zealand taxpayers.

What is an off-market sell down?

It is a sale of a significant quantity of shares conducted when the company’s shares are not trading on the sharemarket. Off-market sell downs are used to reduce potential share price volatility, which can impact negatively on a company’s trading price in the lead up to a sale of a significant number of shares.

What other recent transactions have used similar off-market sell down processes?

There have been a number of recent sales of significant shareholdings in NZX-listed companies that have used similar off-market sell down processes. These include Sky TV, Summerset, Auckland Airport, TradeMe, and Steel and Tube.

Why is the Crown undertaking the sell down using a bookbuild process?

A sell down to retail brokers and institutions is fast and efficient, which is important when working with a company that is already listed and trading on the NZX and ASX. Using this process, the Crown will be able to achieve widespread New Zealand ownership while minimising disruption to the company, and keeping down transaction costs.

Who can participate in the bookbuild process to bid for shares?

New Zealand retail broking firms, New Zealand institutions and some overseas institutions will be invited to participate. New Zealanders will be at the front of the queue for shares and we are confident of achieving 85 per cent New Zealand ownership.

How will New Zealanders be at the front of the queue for shares?

The Crown will allocate shares through a bookbuild process, similar to Mighty River Power and Meridian, giving it discretion over who gets shares. New Zealand sharebrokers will be invited to participate in the bookbuild and a condition of participation will be that shares can be allocated only to clients who meet the New Zealand client test (IRD number, New Zealand bank account, New Zealand address), as was the case with the previous share offers.

How can New Zealanders buy Air New Zealand shares?

New Zealanders interested in buying Air New Zealand shares should talk to a sharebroker or authorised financial adviser. Anyone can buy Air New Zealand shares on market when the company resumes trading.

How many shares does the Crown own?

The Crown currently owns 804,191,058 Air New Zealand shares or about 73 per cent of the company. Twenty per cent of the company is around 220 million shares.

How many shares will be sold?

No decision has been made on the final number of shares to be sold, as this will be subject to the outcome of the bookbuild process. However, we are expecting to sell 20 per cent of the company, which would leave the Government with around 53 per cent of the airline.

At what price will the shares be sold?

The price will be decided by the Crown based on the bidding price offered by investors through the bookbuild process. New Zealand retail broking firms, New Zealand institutions and some overseas institutions will be invited to participate in the bookbuild bidding process.

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If I owned shares in an airline I would be selling too.  I would accuse the government of being forward thinking and realising that airlines are going to be in big trouble as fuel prices rise steeply during short lived economic recovery and then as the world rolls back into "recession" as a result of the cost of oil demand for flights will be hit hard.

Except if the government can see this coming why did they sell off large shares in relatively renewable energy production?  It's almost like they don't know what the hell is going on.


Thats correct, they do not, or rather they dont want to look. 

I'd sell 10% of AirNZ tomorrow myself.

Not just air flights but air postage. Just last week I went to send something faulty back to the UK only to find the cost of postage was more than I'd get back, so I binned it.

In terms of shares in Renewables the demand for these will always exist and the share price is based on BAU, which clearly I think we both agree cannot continue, ergo share prices will collapse.

Im savings some $, might buy some utility shares at 10cents a pop......




Don't get Air NZ pricing. Im heading home on the 1st and know there will be empty seats, i can never just turn up at the airport and get a cheap seat any longer, now I pay full price, unless I book a month or more ahead. Last time I flew I had to change my return date, AirNZ told me there were no cheap tickets left, they charged me $500 US, to change, I get on the pane and there are empty seats everywhere. Planes are getting old, as are the Crew.

 We need some competition how about allowing Emerates on the North Americam routes. 


There is now $s in changes, its pure profit.

Fairly sure this is how the US companes operate? so any monopoly position they have ie a change you have to do is charged at the maximium.

Its known as gouging....time for better consumer protection, pity we dont allow class actions, I think we should.




.....I waiting for labour to announce the launch of KiwAir.....low prices based on the living wage.


Labour policy mad-libs:

New Zealanders are sick and tired of seeing profits from the [blank] industry going overseas. That's why Labour is today announcing Kiwi [blank]


They should sell it to Emirates .


It seems Ma & Pa are liquidating their previous MoM investments to participate in the latest lolly scramble.  View MRP and Meridian Instalment Receipts values here and here.


Maybe this is yet another "why" BE is abandoning asset sales.  The odds are stacking up against the asset sales agenda, share price drops, price gouging claims, referendum soon, all point at losses, vote losses.




Its a long time ago when the shares were worth $0.12cents


Have noted previously that selling down Air NZ does not concern me. It is the hydro power company sales that do not sit well in my opinion.

If the worst happened again (unlikely in the foreseeable future) Air NZ is replaceable or rebuildable easily enough. The airline is already run commercially, making a moderate but hardly gouging profit, while fares in real terms between the main centres and on main routes are probably as cheap as ever, even with higher fuel prices. 

Airline dynamics seem to mean profits are always somewhat limited. The current PE of ~10; and yield of 4.8% make the share somewhere between a growth and yield stock. Am not sure growth will be all that high, but apart from occasional fuel shocks, the yield is likely to be sustained it seems to me.


In some ways I dont see the power companies as any different to AirNZ in terms of human fear and greed, ie peak oil, share price collapse. change. 

Yes I agree, I wouldnt sell them....but there are other options, so,

a)  Sovereignty, Air NZ operates in a truely commercial environment based on customer demand and international prices and competition.  The NZ Govn cant act in any sovereign way ie regulation except prop the company up via cash injections or bailouts.   Not so the power SOEs...if a Govn of the day doesnt like the "privately owned" electricity market and how it operates it can re-regulate it. (TPP is of course a huge worry on that front). 

b) Share price fear and greed. This is a human aspect that frankly seems to defy any logic short term. 

Lets say finally it dawns on investors that expensive fossil fuels is going to collapse the AIrNZ price, well thats a huge Govn loss, so if its sold off not a tax payer loss. 

Power SOE's? they could go up in value, except of course they have a huge P/E right now and thats only relevent to BAU.  So with even worse returns Meridian etc share price should collapase....again a Govn loss.    Then there are PV's eating the power companyes peak charging profits in Germany, do the same here and that P/E is again destroyed.

So really I see huge future impacts to the value of these shares.  Do we need to own the SOEs? no, as we control the market they have to conform to.