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Revamp planned for AX

NZX wants to launch a “growth market” to get smaller companies to list without the rigours of a listing on the main board.

Sunday, May 12th 2013, 9:00PM

by Susan Edmunds

Amelia Wong, head of cash markets, said it was too early to say what that would look like and whether it would be in addition to or instead of the existing Alternative Market (AX). There has been only one new listing on the AX in the past year. Snakk Media listed in May.

Wong said NZX wanted to facilitate listings from smaller companies. “The listing process costs a certain amount of money, that’s hard for medium enterprises. The plan is to target these companies and make it cheaper to list, and give them more support.”

She said the NZAX had been designed with those same principles in mind, but people struggled to understand the difference between it and the main board.

Wong said the alternative market could be a stepping stone for private companies that did not have the full board of directors, auditing and investor relations in place for a full listing.

“It would get them used to the discipline of being listed. They could then come back, raise more capital and move to the main board.”

NZX had surveyed financial market participants and found that there were a lot of small to medium companies that were not listing but would like to. Some wanted to raise capital while others had been running for a while and the owners wanted to realise some capital from them.

“There are an amazing number of private companies that you and I have probably never even heard of that are really great little businesses, small at the moment but with potential to grow.”

She said the main board was made up of a lot of companies that paid good dividends but did not have much room for growth.  “It would be nice for investors to invest in something a bit different.”

Wong said the intention was to launch by the end of the year and NZX would know more about the design of the market in the next couple of months.

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