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Strong interest in Mighty River Power shares

Published: 5:19AM Tuesday March 05, 2013 Source: ONE News

More than 35,000 New Zealanders have already pre-registered their interest for shares on the Government's Mighty River Power website. 

The site has averaged around 5 registrations per second since it went live this morning.

However, State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall was forced to admit the site had experienced technical problems after a number of interest investors failed to register their details on the website

"This interest resulted in huge volumes of traffic on the website in the first few hours," Ryall said.

"Some people may have had difficulty accessing the site, and others will have noticed it was slow in processing their requests for information."

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Interested investors contacted ONE News when the site slowed to a crawl this morning.

"It keeps ignoring the info that I have entered, keeps asking what country I reside in, the drop down list doesn't always contain all countries and sometimes NZ is not available, I have entered my country about six times so far, only to have that wiped out and have to start over again," Joe Conway told ONE News.

Another interested investor said she was unable to register from Australia, despite being a New Zealand resident and holding a New Zealand passport. 

"My husband and I want to buy shares, however the site will not allow us to register," Vanessa Murphy told ONE News.

"This is very disappointing. We are Kiwis and want to be a part of this."

Ryall said there was plenty of time to pre-register for shares before March 22 and there was no advantage to pre-registering early.

Government offers incentive

Earlier this morning, Finance Minister Bill English and State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall announced that New Zealanders are being given an incentive to pre-register their interest in the Mighty River Power share offering.

Those who pre-register may be allocated up to 25% more shares than people who do not, if demand exceeds shares available.

"The Government is committed to ensuring New Zealanders will be at the front of the queue for shares," said English.

"We've already announced that New Zealanders applying for up to $2000 of shares will be guaranteed that amount. However, if demand exceeds the number of shares available, then New Zealanders who request more than $2000 worth will have their bid scaled back.

"In that case, those who pre-registered may get up to 25% more shares than those who did not, English explained.                                                                                                             

Ryall emphasised that pre-registration is not an obligation to buy shares, but purely an expression of interest at this stage.

"We want to encourage everyday New Zealanders to register their interest - and the communications campaign will include a strong investor education element for those unfamiliar with the share-market. We strongly recommend investors obtain their own independent financial advice," he said.

Institutional investors are not eligible to pre-register.

ASX fears downplayed

Meanwhile, concerns that New Zealanders will miss out on Mighty River Power shares are being overplayed, an investment expert says.

Prime Minister John Key said yesterday that subject to market conditions, the Government will float Mighty River Power in the second quarter of this year, and expects that there will be a secondary listing on the Australian Stock Exchange.

This morning, Milford Asset Management's Brian Gaynor told TV ONE's Breakfast that New Zealanders should not be too concerned about the Australian listing.

"I don't think we should dwell over the ASX listing. It is a New Zealand issue, the primary listing is going to be on the NZX and New Zealanders are going to get first priority for the shares.

"There is going to be caps on the total amount any one shareholder can buy so we won't see control of Mighty River Power going to an overseas party," he said.


Pre-registration for shares will finish on March 22, and anyone interested in Mighty River Power shares will be able to register by website or call centre, both of which have been launched today.

A $1 million advertising campaign to promote the sale of Mighty River Power shares to would-be investors also gets underway today.

To buy shares New Zealanders would need to invest at least $1000.

SOE Minister Tony Ryall said Mighty River Power employees would be guaranteed a minimum of 5000 shares each in the offer if they wanted them.

New Zealanders applying for up to $2000 worth of shares will not be scaled back if the IPO is over-subscribed, Ryall said. .

When the offer period closes, the institutional book-build takes place. Ministers then make share pricing and allocation decisions.

Mighty River Power will then be listed on the sharemarket.