Hey Cuz, NZ’s economy is hot and Kiwi stocks are looking choice
A haka welcomes teams for a match between the Chiefs and Wales at Waikato Stadium in 2016. Pic: Getty
New Zealand is experiencing its strongest economic growth in two years thanks to growth in its agricultural sector.
But our Tasman neighbours are about more than agriculture and dairy. New Zealand’s economy has began to diversify into technology and health, led by a number of small cap stocks.
There are generally four reasons why Kiwi companies list on the ASX:
— New Zealand’s Exchange lacks diversity with only 156 companies including 77 small caps. There have been no Kiwi IPOs in 2018 compared to 45 on the ASX. In 2017 there was only one IPO on the NZX and 100 in Australia. In 2018 there have been only 15 NZX deals worth $A1.1 billion.
— Generous Australian listing rules allow dual listings and NZX companies have more relaxed thresholds under changes to the ASX Listing Rules in 2015
— Australia is a natural first step towards international expansion with a market 10 times bigger than New Zealand
— While Australia is liberalising listing rules for Kiwi small caps, New Zealand is going in the opposite direction. There are plans to increase the minimum market cap to NZ$15m (A$13.8m) and a minimum 500 investors.
If these trends continue we should see more New Zealand small caps coming to Australia.
Here are eight Kiwi stocks that can be found on the ASX:
9 Spokes (ASX:9SP)
Listed on the ASX since 2016, 9 Spokes offers a data ‘dashboard’ for business, allowing managers to quickly see accounting and financial metrics.
Although the product is intended for small to medium businesses, 9 Spokes has formed distribution partnerships with major banks such as BNZ and Barclays.
After a mid-year run-up, the stock fell two-thirds in August after losing a key customer, the Royal Bank of Canada. That will require 9 Spokes to make cost reductions until further customers are on board.
Soil tech CropLogic listed in September 2017 after attempts at equity crowdfunding in New Zealand.
The ASX listing was part of a plan to enter the Australian market but an acquisition to facilitate this was cancelled back in May. After listing at 20c it now sits at 2c. ‘
While there’s potential for growth and wide scale adoption, the company is clearly in the early stages and it’s not yet clear where growth will come from.
Living Cell Technologies (ASX:LCT)
Living Cell is attempting to develop treatments for diseases — particularly Parkinson’s.
At this stage it remains limited to research programs through Auckland University. The directors have said in an annual report they intend to “exit by collaboration or out licence with a global pharmaceutical company.
Its share price has been stable this year after falling significantly in the fourth quarter of last year.
Volpara Health Technologies (ASX:VHT)
Wellington-based Volpara is trying to apply Artificial Intelligence to breast cancer screening.
Unlike some of these other stocks has growing revenue and customers in the private and public sectors across 36 countries. The stock has risen from 70c to $1.24.
Adherium — which sells an asthma ‘adherence solution’ — began in Auckland and is now headquartered in the US, while retaining some Kiwis on its board.
The company makes sensors that work with inhalers and an app that syncs with them, to prevent patients from missing doses.
It can also help family members keep track of doses. The company has approval for over the counter sales in the US and a partnership with Texas-based Vitalus health to promote its product. Some 130,000 sensors have been shopped globally.
While sales revenue is growing ($5.9m in 2018) it is still recording operating losses.
AFT Pharmaceuticals (ASX:AFP)
AFT is are one of the larger small caps that sell retail pharmaceutical products in multiple countries.
These range from cracked heel cream to allergy tablets. Unlike most other companies in this list it is well established locally, being in business for 20 years.
It continues to engage in clinical studies to search for new opportunities so while it would seem a safe investment for those wanting a stable stock, it is unlikley to grow exponentially in the short to medium term.
Orion Health (ASX:OHE)
Another healthcare business that has grown over many years to be a profitable entity.
It has tried to combine IT with healthcare and its product range is diverse — ranging from a secure communications platform to medication management.
While it has offices in 15 countries, it remains headquartered in Auckland.
Auckland-based Zoonoo provides antimicrobial solutions from fabric sanitisers to sprays.
While not as well established as AFT or Orion, AFT is beyond the research phase and has just reached profitability (recording a modest $70,000 profit in the last financial year).
While looking for customers around the globe, Zoonoo is operating in a well-established market where it’s difficult to stand out. The stock has had a challenging time this year, falling from 37c to 11c now — mainly because moves into China have been slower than expected.
Although they have not completely shut down a deal with Chinese partners, they looking at other options.