Monday, 2 Aug 2021

Stock Takes: Super fund appoints NZ equities manager, Meridian’s Q3 water storage slumps, Spheria lifts MHI stake

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has appointed Joe Halapua to oversee its direct investments into New Zealand equities.

The $55 billion fund has around $2b invested into NZX-listed companies including sizeable holdings in A2 Milk, Auckland International Airport, Contact Energy,Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Meridian Energy, Mercury NZ and Spark.

Halapua has been with the sovereign wealth fund since 2011 and is the chair of the risk committee and has worked across both the direct investment and external investments and partnerships teams.

He was previously an investment banker at Goldman Sachs JBWere.

The fund invest in New Zealand equities through a combination of in-house investment professionals and through external investment managers Mint Asset Management and Devon Funds Management.

Meridian's water storage slumps

Hydro and wind power generator Meridian said its water inflows over the third quarter to March were 70 per cent of the historical average and 31 per cent lower than the same quarter last year.

Meridian’s Waitaki catchment water storage at the end of the quarter was 82 per cent lower than the third quarter of last year, the company said in its quarterly report.

Compared to the previous third quarter, Meridian’s New Zealand generation was 16.5 per cent lower in the March quarter at a 266 per cent higher average price.

Over the period, New Zealand futures prices lifted significantly across all future quarters.

New Zealand Aluminium Smelter’s average load during the quarter was 565 megawatts compared with 590MW in Q3 last year.

National electricity demand in the quarter was 2.2 per cent lower.

By the end of the quarter, Meridian’s New Zealand customer numbers were 5.7 per cent higher than the same time last year.

Meridian’s New Zealand retail sales volumes were 8.2 per cent higher at a 0.1 per cent lower average price.

All segments showed increased sales, except agricultural, which fell by 3.7 per cent, the company said.

Meridian’s Australian wind generation was 10.5 lower, at a 91.7 per cent lower average price, over the quarter.

Shares in Meridian last traded at $5.89, having gained 32 per cent over the past 12 months.

Spheria lifts Michael Hill stake

Australia’s Spheria Asset Management has lifted its stake in Michael Hill International to 13.1 per cent from 11.52 per cent, the investor said in a notice lodged with the NZX.

According to its website, Spheria is a fundamental-based investment manager “with a bottom-up focus specialising in small and microcap companies”.

Michael Hill last traded at 88c, up 138 per cent over the past 12 months.

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