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Mighty River Power is buying back shares

Written By: - Date published: 11:32 am, October 10th, 2013 - 45 comments
Categories: business, privatisation - Tags:

Mighty-River-Power

It has just been announced that Mighty River Power is to stand in the market and buy back up to 2% of its company shares over the next 12 months.  Chair Joan Withers says this will happen as part of its capital management plans “reflecting the Board’s view that the purchase of its own shares is in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders”.

The buyback is said to be a “prudent use of capital”, will provide a return above MRP’s cost of capital and will be “value-enhancing” for its shareholders.  It is a shame that the Government did not see things this way and hold onto the shares.  As has been said many times this would have provided a return above the debt being paid back and would also have been value enhancing for all of us.

The purchase can happen from October 15 until October 14 next year. The shares bought back will not be cancelled.

The current price for MRP shares is $2.20.

The effect will be to at least maintain that price, and quite possibly there will be a surge in the price.  As at the time of writing the share price has jumped 5c to $2.25.

This announcement is coincidentally occurring at the same time that retail applications for Meridian shares are being accepted.  Retail offers close on October 18, 2013.  A deflated MRP share price would dampen the expected price that Meridian shares could demand.

Rod Oram has tweeted

MRP buys back shares – this is classic, desperate strategy of companies with excess profits, no growth opportunities and ailing share price

It also smacks of a desperate strategy to keep the privatisation process on track.

45 comments on “Mighty River Power is buying back shares”

  1. Rogue Trooper 1

    lolz, “lower than forecast capital expenditure FY2013…and the lower capital expenditure planned for FY2014″.hmmm

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1

      Thats so they can announce ” record profits”, once they are out from under the ‘yoke’ of State control.

      Its theatre of the absurd

      • Tom Gould 1.1.1

        Withers says they have a found a spare hundred million under the mattress? These Tories really are a bunch of amateurs. They are selling, then the are buying, while they are selling? And the power price goes up while demand is flat or falling? Bring on NZ Power.

  2. Ad 2

    They have also just got rid of all their major growth opportunities. This is a stale company.

    Perhaps the logical way to prop up their price is not to burn their own cash at it, but to require the Government’s own investors in EQC, ACC, and NZSuper to step in with higher shareholding.

    Maybe the market just said that renationalisation of MRP is necessary.

  3. Plan B 3

    they will be buying their own shares with debt. That is the most likely option.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      Silly me I thought the idea of the sale process was to pay down debt …

    • Colonial Viper 3.2

      In other words, they will supply debt sourced dividends to the National Government, while keeping that same debt off the National Government’s balance sheet.

      • Ant 3.2.1

        Pretty much, and they defer as much capital expenditure as they possibly can until after the election…

  4. tc 4

    How much debt did they add the the sector when Genesis borrowed to do a station swap with meridian ( get a Hydro station for a carbon burning one) which was turned into a one off govt dividend, as I recall.

    Also those adds claim meridian only generate from clean green renewable sources, does that include the carbon emitting one Herr Brownlee made them take from Genesis ?

  5. Paul Campbell 5

    Buying back shares raises the value of shares – but only the liquid 49% trading on the NZX the 51% still owned by the govt, because they’re not on the market they only have a nominal value – one that can’t be realised, unless the nats are planning on selling off the rest

    An obvious alternative to spending the money to buy back the shares would be to use the money to pay dividends – if they did then 51% of the dividends would go into the government’s coffers benefiting all of us rather than 100% going to the NZX rich crowd

    • RedBaronCV 5.1

      Exactly

    • Tamati 5.2

      As a result of this investment, the government will get about 52% of future dividends. It’s quasi-renationalisation on a very small scale.

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.1

        That’s a crying shame. The NZ taxpayer should have been receiving 100% of future dividends, not 52%.

        • Tamati 5.2.1.1

          But you’d prefer 52% over 51% right?

          Can’t you at least give the MRP board a tiny bit of credit? Maybe they are all DC’s mates from back in his management consultancy days?

        • fender 5.2.1.2

          +1 CV

          But then the 2% won’t get the other 48% worth of dividends to pay their power bills with, how unfair.

  6. Neil 6

    I find most of the comments pretty incomprehensible. Whether you like it or not, the future need for new power sources is not great in NZ. Therefore they have surplus capital which could be used as a dividend or reducing the number of shares on the market.
    What MRP(Not the government) has done is commonly used in the USA in particular. Reducing the number of shares increases the earnings per share.
    Better that than the dividends as they have in the past gone into the great unknown and spent badly by Labor governments.
    Using Rod Oram in this situation is like communists approving Stalin’s purges. Rod Oram is not a supporter of current government policy, however he is used by the left wing to justify their positions. As an investor, Rod Oram is the last person I would take any notice of.

    • karol 6.1

      I can see why you find most of the above comments incomprehensible, neil.

      Oram equated with approval of Stalinist purges? Now there’s a stretch.

      • lprent 6.1.1

        You’re charitable. Bearing in mind how mild that Oram is on his analysis, I suspect that this loon is of the redbaiter political fraternity. That is to say one who considers that Genghis Khan was a bit of a pinko because he concerned himself about roads across his military empire.

        “Neil” looks like a survivalist grade of human – homo erectus with a pretension of a having a rifle.

    • fender 6.2

      Good one Neil

      • Rogue Trooper 6.2.1

        as the page was ‘turning’ on this old notebook I wondered if That was where the link was leading. “gotta new motor?”

    • bad12 6.3

      And now for the Truth Neil, Mighty River power will from September to next September be in the market to buy back 2% of the company’s public shares,

      Mighty River WILL NOT be cancelling those shares, which simply makes all your blather about reducing the number of shares for a higher dividend yield a load of utter Bullshit,

      There can be only 2 logical explanations for the actions of Mighty River in buying back shares,(1), in an effort to get the share price back to the original retail price so investors can unload without being burned,(and taking that out on the National Party who sold them half a Lemon in the first place, OR,

      (2), Mr and Mrs Ma and Pa, the 2% who fell all over themselves to purchase this half a lemon,(in spite of being warned what Labour/Green planned for electricity pricing),have been slow to take the financial loss that was always on the cards for them,

      Such tardiness, in the vain hope of at least getting ‘their money back’ has resulted in the big players from off shore not being able to feast on what should have been a ‘panic sell’ by Mr and Mrs Ma and Pa and they have become impatient enough to pull on the chains in their well connected network so as to get the Mighty River shares moving at a timely rate onto their balance sheets,

      Hence Mighty River Powers buy in, and NON-cancellation of the 2% of shares they have announced as the initial ‘buy-back’, those shares aint going to reside at Mighty River for too long, little firms like Goldman Saches want their pound of flesh and the Mighty River buyback sure as hell from here looks likes the means by which they will get it…

    • Colonial Viper 6.4

      Whether you like it or not, the future need for new power sources is not great in NZ. Therefore they have surplus capital which could be used as a dividend or reducing the number of shares on the market.

      So please justify why this “surplus capital” didn’t go into the public purse, but is being spent on feeding private investors.

      Oh yeah. Tories helping out their bankster mates again. All part of the plan from the start, I suppose.

      Let’s just remember that investment banksters aren’t looking for “investments” they are looking for quick rorts to hit their quarterly bonus levels.

      What MRP(Not the government) has done is commonly used in the USA in particular. Reducing the number of shares increases the earnings per share.

      Did it ever occur to you that the financialisation games of the USA markets is not where we should be going?

      They are a “diminishing superpower” and not an example to follow.

    • Francis 6.5

      You neglected to add the third option, which is to give the surplus back to the consumers they have been excessively ripping off ever since electricity supply had been marketised back in the 1990s.

  7. bad12 7

    Sniff, sniff, i smell the stench of burning liquidity, who borrowed heavily, gambling that the Mighty River share-float would result in a share price 10-20% above the initial retail offering in the weeks and a few months after the sale,

    Kiwi-Power is coming, hopefully in the batch of Legislation the incoming Labour/Green Government will introduce to the Parliament in it’s first 100 days of office,

    Spending the profits on share buybacks which we all assume Bill from Dipton, the Minister of Finance, is happy with, is an act of sheer desperation, not necessarily on behalf of Mighty River, it’s share price having little to do with pofitablity,

    What this looks like to me is the profits, 51% of which are still owned by you and me being used in an effort to prop up the Mighty River share price so the 2% who fell all over each other to purchase our power company can attempt to bail out without losing their shirts,

    Come 2014-2015 and the advent of Kiwi-Power those Mighty River shares are going to have a market value of around a dollar, and those who borrowed heavily to buy in are all going to be spilling red ink all over the carpet…

  8. Nick 8

    “MRP buys back shares – this is classic, desperate strategy of companies with excess profits, no growth opportunities and ailing share price”

    Good that the government got 49% of it off its books then eh??

    • mickysavage 8.1

      What I would like to know is why did we pay millions of dollars to sell a company that was holding a spare hundred million in its coffers. This money should have been paid as a special dividend before the sale occurred.

      • tc 8.1.1

        Thats destined for all those new shareholders mickey, MRP was first for a reason.

        • Chooky 8.1.1.1

          @tc…funny money..I am confused also……shouldnt the spare hundred million dollars have gone back into the public purse for power rebates to those poor who can scarcely pay their power bills?…..or pay off national debt?…or go into investments into solar energy technology to make everyone’s power cheaper?

          …surely it wont be going into the coffers of Goldman Sachs and other big investors…John Key’s mates?

          ….am I stupid? …or is this a scandal?

          • Tamati 8.1.1.1.1

            It’s not unusual for companies to retain earnings. It’s cheaper and less risky than funding investments through debt or equity. Apple have several billion sitting in foreign bank accounts. Not really a scandal

            • Chooky 8.1.1.1.1.1

              @ Tamati( you have a nice Maori name…but is it real?)…Apple is not owned by the tax payer …it is not a state or public owned asset built up by the NZ taxpayers over many years….Apple is a private American software company

              “Not really a scandal” ….what is that supposed to mean?

              How are all the elderly and those on very low incomes or unemployed…. who have gone without power …been cold….because the prices are too high and have been increasing…. going to feel when they realise that that Mighty River Power has been charging them too much and has been sitting on $100 million of their hard earned money ?

              …..and John Key and Nact have now flogged their State Owned Asset off ( against the wishes of the vast Majority of NZers)…including all the money eeked out of their suffering( for paying for overpriced power)……to their rich share owning mates, their blind trust accounts and overseas investors with the predatory reputations of Goldman Sachs?

              I ask again….am I stupid?……. or is this a scandal?….are ordinary NZers ( who cant afford shares) being taken for Fools and to the cleaners?

              • Tamati

                I’m just saying that a company retaining earnings isn’t a scandal. Most companies do it to varying degrees, it’s cheaper and less risky than debt or equity funding. Solid energy should have done it a few years back!

              • Tamati

                Thanks, middle name. I have a nice Irish name too.

                • Chooky

                  I am not convinced..no matter what your name…how many Maori are going to be winners out of John Keys and Nact ‘s dealings ?

                  • Tamati

                    My point is that companies retaining earnings instead of paying dividends is in no way scandalous. Pretty simple really.

                    I guess Maori will be able to have their say on John Key in about 12 months time.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      More private sector troughing. Exactly why the Tories flogged off the public asset for cheap.

                    • Chooky

                      So it is the SCANDAL of Nact pigs (insult to pigs,sorry)… representing their private sector friends and troughing it at the expense of ordinary NZers public assets…which they have flogged off for cheap

                      ….thanks for clarifying that CV ( us Chooks have difficulty with funny money)

            • tricledrown 8.1.1.1.1.2

              Tahmatey thats the several billion they have avoided paying taxes in every country they operate in!

    • Chooky 8.2

      @ Nick…to the mug buyers?

    • felix 8.3

      The share price is nothing.

      The real value of the company is not in its share price or its dividend stream or its future growth potential or its customer base or its market share or its profit centres.

      The only real value is the ability to generate energy. The rest is meaningless.

  9. ScottGN 9

    I’m confused. Weren’t we being told just last week that the energy price rises we’ve had over the last year, in spite of increased supply, falling demand and low inflationary pressures were necessary because the energy companies needed the money to make capital investments? Now we learn that not only does MRP have wads of cash lying around but they can’t really see anything much in the future that they might need to spend it on.

  10. Mike S 10

    In my opinion this is possibly because of low participation in Meridian buy up so far. Potential investors are attracted because they see the MRP share price going up and that if the share price goes down, the company will buy up shares thus increasing the share price and dividend. Essentially it puts a floor if you like on the low end share price. Another example of rent seeking or subsidising or bail out by stealth or whatever else you want to call it.

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