By Omobayo Azeez
The Nigerian Stock Exchange may just be few inches away from welcoming more initial public offerings (IPOs) from Nigeria-owned oil and gas companies alongside other foreign companies.
This expectation has emerged as the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosed that it is already in talks with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Nigeria Liquified National Gas (NLG) to list their shares on the local bourse, the NSE.
According to Mary Uduk, acting director-general of SEC, who disclosed this at the just concluded the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) annual meetings in Washington DC., SEC is also wooing other foreign companies to list on the NSE.
She noted that the interest of foreign issuers in the Nigerian capital market had increased following the dual listing of two of Nigeria’s leading telecommunication companies, MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa on the NSE.
She said: “The primary market has witnessed a new trend in the last one year with the listing of the telecom companies (MTN Nigeria) and also the recent initial public offer and dual listing of Airtel.
“The dual listing of Airtel signifies the interest of the foreign issuers in the Nigerian capital market. Consequent to the Airtel IPO, some offshore companies are in discussion with the commission for an IPO that will be dually listed in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.”
Uduk further noted that the motive of attracting big players in the oil and gas sector to list their shares on the Nigerian bourse was to further give the capital market a boost and make it more attractive to investors.
Meanwhile, she said to accommodate foreign issuers, rules that enable them to list their shares on the stock exchange had been reviewed, adding that technology was being employed to deepen product innovation.
She, however, confirmed that companies had started disclosing their level of compliance to corporate governance practices which had driven up transparency in conducting business.
She said, “We expect to see high level of compliance because we have a national code, now in addition, there are other cases we are looking into that will become public in due time.”