Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Meridian float - a reality check

There has of course been the usual political finger-pointing going on since the just-got-it-away Meridian float. There's even some truth to some of it.

But it looks to me as if the real reasons for the lukewarm outcome are much simpler.

One, most families don't want their (limited) direct equity holdings to be all power companies. I know we didn't: we went for Mighty River Power, and enough is enough.

Two, we might have nonetheless have been persuaded, if MRP had been a roaring success. It hasn't been.

End of analysis.

One final thought, though, and I accept it's totally with the benefit of hindsight. Why the decision to do MRP first, and Meridian second?

If I had to take a guess, I'd bet someone said, "Let's test the waters with the smaller one, and if we can get that one off our hands, we can get the bigger one away". And if I'd been sitting around the table in risk-management mode, I probably would have gone along with it, too. As it transpired, I wonder if it wouldn't have been more cost effective to have done them the other way around: the cost of the sweeteners needed to get the second one away could well have been less.

As for getting Genesis away in the light of all this - I can't see the current sales process delivering a successful float any time soon.

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