Sunday, 28 Nov 2021

Market close: Synlait, a2 Milk defy NZ sharemarket fall

The milk companies Synlait and a2 Milk, rallying in price, set themselves on a path to recovery on a day where the New Zealand sharemarket lacked direction.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index had a rocky ride with short, sharp falls at lunchtime and in the last half hour to close at 13,227.7, down 31.85 points or 0.24 per cent, after reaching an intraday high of 13,305.95.

There were 63 gainers and 77 decliners over the whole market of 185 stocks on volume of 40.45 million share transactions worth $150.1 million.

Synlait rose 26c or 7.88 per cent to $3.56 after reporting a loss of $28.45m for the year ending July on revenue of $3.367 billion, up 5 per cent. Its main customer and shareholder a2 Milk increased 17c or 2.89 per cent to $6.06.

Synlait said net profit is expected to return to robust profitability in the 2022 financial year. Its nutritional sales were down 35 per cent to 34,362m tonnes, with infant formula declining because of a2 Milk’s reduced demand.

In a further announcement, Synlait has appointed Miraka dairy company boss Grant Watson, formerly a Fonterra senior manager, as its new chief executive. Watson starts his new role in January.

Jeremy Sullivan, investment adviser with Hamilton Hindin Greene, said Synlait had its first loss in nine years on the back of downgrades by a2 Milk. But Synlait used robust language on its outlook and “this gave investors confidence, till it’s taken away from them.

“Synlait has to follow through on its strong language and investors are giving them the benefit of the doubt,” he said.

Sullivan said the local market was directionless, though the real estate sector was down – most likely on the prospect that interest rates will start rising soon.

The Reserve Bank delivers its next update on October 6 and is expected to increase the official cash rate by at least 25 basis points, from 0.25 per cent.

Amongst the property stocks, Argosy fell 3c or 1.82 per cent to $1.62; Goodman Property Trust was down 4.5c to $2.50; Vital Healthcare Property Trust declined 5c to $3.05; and Precinct Properties decreased 3.5c or 2.06 per cent to $1.66.

Property for Industry shed 3c to $2.965; Kiwi Property decreased 3c or 2.54 per cent to $1.15; Investore declined 2c to $2; and Stride was also down 2c to $2.44.

Z Energy told the market that the exclusive four-week due diligence period for its suitor Ampol has been extended by another two weeks to determine whether key transaction items and documentation can be agreed. Z Energy said there’s no certainty about reaching an agreement and its share price declined 4c to $3.39.

Sullivan said Ampol will be going through the Z Energy books with a fine-tooth comb and the announcement probably implied they were struggling to agree on terms of reference.

“Running service stations is pretty straightforward but there will be a lot of detail under the bonnet – such as, whether the properties are owned or leased and when they come up for renewal,” he said.

Contact Energy increased 13c to $8.41; Mainfreight rose 52c to $95.52; Skellerup Holdings hit the $6 mark after gaining 6c; and Vista Group was up 13c or 4.96 per cent to $2.75.

Air New Zealand climbed 4c or 3.45 per cent to $1.65 as hopes rise that the border may reopen at Christmas – assuming a 90 per cent vaccination rate – and it can once again fly more routes.

The Warehouse Group was up 11c or 2.87 per cent to $3.94 on the eve of reporting its latest annual result; Scales Corporation picked up 11c or 2.05 per cent to $5.48; DGL Group increased 10c or 3.23 per cent to $3.20; Bremworth gained 6c or 8.22 per cent to 79c; and Third Age Health Services collected 6c or 2.32 per cent to $2.65.

Fisher funds Marlin Global was up 8c or 5.52 per cent to $1.53, and Barramundi gained 2c or 2.02 per cent to $1.01.

Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was down 13c to $32.12; Trustpower declined 10c to $7.45; Mercury fell 11c to $6.39; Restaurant Brands lost 25c to $15.45; and Delegat Group shed 26c to $14.52;

Hallenstein Glasson, declined 8c to $7.09; Sky Network Television decreased 6c or 2.94 per cent to $1.98; Sanford fell 15c or 2.83 per cent to $5.15; and My Food Bag was down 4c or 2.88 per cent to $1.35.

The retirement village operators had a down day. Summerset Group Holdings declined 17c to $15.03; Ryman Healthcare decreased 16c to $14.90; and Oceania Healthcare fell 5c or 3.29 per cent to $1.47.

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