Infrastructure group Ventia expecting to list on ASX and NZX this month

Ventia, an Australasian infrastructure company that holds contracts with the likes of Transpower and Chorus, is seeking to raise more than $1 billion ahead of a market listing on both sides of the Tasman.

Headquartered in Australia but with more than 2000 employees in New Zealand, Ventia has launched an investment prospectus which could see its shares listing on both the NZX and ASX before the end of the month.

The Sydney-based ASX will be the primary listing for the company, with Ventia applying for listing with NZX as a foreign exempt issuer.

Formed in 2015 through the Visionstream, Leighton Contractors Services and Thiess Services, Ventia is currently owned by CIMIC Group and private equity giant Apollo.

It generated A$4.6b ($4.8b) in revenue in 2020 and claims to be the number one telecommunications infrastructure services provider in both New Zealand and Australia.

Chairman David Moffatt wrote in the prospectus that in the year to December 31, 2022, its pro forma revenue was expected to be $4.9b, with net profit after tax of A$155.5 million.

According to the prospectus, around 15 per cent of its group revenue comes from New Zealand (suggesting it is around $720m in 2020), with the company claiming to provide services to 90 per cent of the electricity transmission network.

Ventia’s website claims the company has 5500 “employees and subcontracting partners across New Zealand”.

The company’s business units have provided maintenance and project services to Transpower for 25 years and has made 450,000 premises ready for connection to the ultra fast broadband network.

“We have managed the State highway network through the King Country for over 20 years… [and] maintained the roading networks in the Far North, Coromandel and the Lyttelton Tunnel for over 20 years.”

In 2017 the company was awarded a five-year, $266m contract from Auckland Council to manage assets including parks, libraries and public pools in Howick, Maungakiekie-Tāmaki, Ōrākei, Waitemata, Devonport-Takapuna, Hibiscus & Bays, Kaipātiki and Upper Harbour.

Barrenjoey, JP Morgan and Macquirie are joint lead managers for the offer, with Forsyth Barr the only New Zealand-based co-lead manager named in the prospectus.

Ventia’s prospectus says it anticipates raising A$1b-A$1.2b (NZ$1.05b-NZ$1.26b) depending on where the shares sell on an indicative price range and whether it accepts over-subscriptions.

The sale would give the company a market capitalisation of A$2.14-$2.4b.

Around A$400m will be raised from the issue of new shares, while existing shareholders are attempting to sell A$600m-A$800m worth of shares in the offer.

Shares will be offered at between A$2.75-A$3.15. A broker offer for shares begins this week, with normal trading on both the ASX and NZX expected by November 25.

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