Market close: Mainfreight chairman Bruce Plested sells $75 million worth of shares

Mainfreight dominated the trading on the New Zealand sharemarket after it was revealed that its chairman Bruce Plested sold $75 million worth of shares in the transport and logistics company.

Despite continued strong volume of transactions overall, the S&P/NZX 50 Index drifted, closing on its low for the day at 12,518.01, down 48.49 points or 0.39 per cent. The index’s intraday high was 12,587.68 points.

There were 76 gainers and 67 decliners over the whole market, with 50.85 million worth $278.23m changing hands. Nearly a third of the trading value was in Mainfreight, which fell $1.80 or 2.33 per cent to $75.30.

A substantial holder notice showed Mainfreight founder Plested sold 1 million shares off-market for $75m through Rorohara No. 2 Trust. The trust now has a 14.83 per cent shareholding in Mainfreight, down from 16.29 per cent.

One broker, who didn’t want to be named, said Plested no doubt sold the shares to buy an asset. “It’s a small part of his overall holding and I suspect it would have pained him to sell. He is a long-term bull on the stock and I have no issue whatsoever with his move.”

Global marketer a2 Milk’s recovery ran out of puff after falling 18c or 2.93 per cent to $5.97, impacted by a competitor’s comments in China. Feihe, China’s largest infant formula maker, said sales would drop sharply in the next one to two years since many women cannot bear children within six months of coronavirus vaccination – and thus delaying births.

Synlait Milk, which supplies a2 Milk, was down 9c or 2.5 per cent to $3.51.

The broad rally seen over the previous three trading days also petered out. Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was down 5c to $29.30 on trade worth $21.5m; Ebos Group fell 56c to $32.74; Chorus decreased 10c to $6.55; Freightways declined 15c to $11.90; and Skellerup Holdings shed 13c or 2.78 per cent to $4.55.

Retailer Briscoe Group was down 11c or 1.91 per cent to $5.65; Air New Zealand lost 3.5c or 2.11 per cent to $1.62; AFT Pharmaceuticals fell 10c or 2.15 per cent to $4.55; Scott Technology declined 9c or 3.5 per cent to $2.48; Vista Group decreased 8c or 3.43 per cent to $2.25; and Plexure Group was down 4c or 5.33 per cent to 71c.

Leisure and travel stocks SkyCity Entertainment rebounded 10c or 2.9 per cent to $3.55; Serko gained 30c or 4.23 per cent to a new high of $7.40; and Tourism Holdings increased 4c to $2.57.

Ryman Healthcare increased 28c or 2.17 per cent to $13.18; Turners Automotive picked up 14c or 3.33 per cent to $4.34; Evolve Education recovered 3c or 3.49 per cent to 89c; NZX was up 5c or 2.44 per cent to $2.10; and NZME gained 2c or 2.74 per cent to 75c.

Napier Port held an institutional investor day and rose 14.8c or 4.52 per cent to $3.42. The port company is well advanced with its new 350m long wharf, having installed 380 of the 400 piles, constructed 35 per cent of the deck and completed more than half of the dredging. The wharf is expected to cost between $173m-$190m.

Northport, a joint venture between Port of Tauranga and Marsden Maritime Holdings, is spending $8m on container infrastructure as volumes increase. Northport is forecasting a 15 per cent lift in container traffic volume for the financial year ending June. Port of Tauranga was up 4c to $7.30, and Marsden was down 3c to $6.02.

Meal kit company My Food Bag rose 6c or 4.26 per cent to $1.47 after telling the market it will be using social enterprise firm GoGo’s carbon footprint tracker app. Last year, CoGo partnered with Westpac to promote its carbon tracker to the bank’s customers.

Precinct Properties reported a full-year revaluation gain of $284m including the $148.5m increase recognised at the end of December. Precinct’s portfolio will be valued at $3.3 billion at the end of June. Its share price increased 1.5c to $1.62.

The High Court has backed the sale of Tilt Renewables to Powering Australian Renewables (owning the Australian business) and Mercury Energy (taking over the New Zealand business), and Tilt shareholders will meet on July 14 to vote on the deal worth $8.10 a share. Tilt’s share price edged ahead 2c to $8.02.

Me Today has opened its $3.75m offer of shares to retail investors at 8.8c a share to help fund the purchase of King Honey, and Me Today’s share price slipped 0.005c or 4.46 per cent to 10.7c.

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