Wellard chief executive Mauro Balzarini rung the bell at the ASX’s Perth office this morning as the company’s shares began trading for the first time.
The live cattle exporter began trading at $1.39 per share after completing a near-$300 million initial public offering to give it a market capitalisation of about $560 million.
The stock dipped to an intra-day low of $1.31 before closing at the issue price of $1.39.
“Since I took over this business from my family we have delivered on an ambitious plan we put in place 10 years ago,” he said.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to list on the ASX, but management and I decided that being a listed company had certain advantages, and we saw some of our competitors were listed companies and they were receiving certain advantages, so we wanted some of those for ourselves.”
The Balzarini family retained a 36.6 per cent shareholding in the company, with Wellard management holding a 3.4 per cent stake.
The company’s core business is live cattle exports – in FY15 it sold 383,000 head of slaughter/feeder cattle to customers in five countries.
It also exported 6,000 tonnes of sheepmeat, and exports a small number of dairy and breeder cattle and sheep
Its key assets include five pre-export quarantine facilities in Australia (three) and Brazil (two), with plans for two more in Australia.
The company also owns four livestock ships and has contracted to buy a fifth purpose-built livestock vessel.