NZ government to start sale of 20% of Air NZ today

Written by Reuters | Wellington | Updated: Nov 18 2013, 10:39am hrs
The New Zealand government said on Sunday it will sell a 20% stake in the national airline this week to raise as much as NZ$365 million ($304 million) to fund infrastructure and reduce debt. The off-market sale to local and offshore institutions, which would cut the governments ownership of Air New Zealand to 53%, is part of a programme to sell minority stakes in four state-owned firms to raise NZ$5 billion. Craigs Investment Partners, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs have been appointed to run the share sale.

The book-building process will start on Monday, and finance minister Bill English said he was confident of achieving the governments objective of having 85% New Zealand ownership of the airline.

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

The company has requested a halt in the trading of its shares on the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges. The government has raised about NZ$3.6 billion from the sale of 49% stakes in Mighty River Power and Meridian Energy. A stake sale in a third power company, Genesis Energy, is slated for the first half of next year.