United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Access Bank Plc, Lafarge Africa Plc and Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc were yesterday scaled up from the main board of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to the elite premium board.
The migration of the four companies brought the number of companies on the premium board to seven including Dangote Cement, FBN Holdings and Zenith Bank International. The migration followed the attainment of key indices for the premium board by the companies including corporate governance, size and liquidity.
The premium board was designed as a market for the most capitalised stocks with the best corporate governance and liquidity. The premium board was meant to showcase Nigeria’s best stocks to the global market.
The Exchange had indicated that the premium board is aimed at providing a platform for greater global visibility for eligible Nigerian entities, which will make it easier for them to attract global capital flows and reduce the cost of borrowing.
The criteria for the premium board include that companies to be listed on the board must have market capitalisation of not less than $1 billion or about N157 billion.
Also, premium board’s companies must also score at least 70 per cent on the Exchange and the Convention for Business Integrity’s Corporate Governance Rating System (CGRS). Besides, the companies must have a minimum free float of 20 per cent or value of shares floated must be equal to or above $1 billion and the number of shares representing its issued share capital must be equal to or above 10 billion units.
The companies are expected to meet stringent corporate governance, capitalisation and liquidity conditions.
To remain on the premium board, a company’s continued eligibility shall be evaluated by the Exchange annually in line with all the outlined criteria or on the basis of additional requirements which may from time to time be prescribed by the Exchange, provided that each company shall comply with all other continuing listing obligations as specified under the listings rules of the Exchange.
UBA, with a market capitalisation of N374.48 billion, had earlier passed the CGRS benchmark. Lafarge Africa, Seplat and Access Bank had market capitalisation of N391.37 billion, N378.60 billion and N347.12 billion respectively.
Speaking at migration ceremony at the NSE yesterday in Lagos, Group Managing Director, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka said the migration of UBA to the premium board of the Exchange evoked the leading roles of the bank as the pioneer of Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the Nigerian banking sector, following its listing on the NSE in 1970.
According to him, the migration of the bank is a further attestation of its size and the liquidity of the stock on the Exchange.
“It is also reinforcing of our continuously evolving sound corporate governance, which is a pre-requisite for companies to be listed on the premium board of the NSE. In expectation that this premium listing will further enhance the visibility of our stock on the Nigerian Bourse, we believe our decision to migrate UBA to this new board will deepen value creation for our shareholders,” Uzoka said.
He reiterated the commitment of the bank to sustainable and superior wealth creation for all shareholders, noting that the bank places utmost importance on value creation for all its investors.
In his remarks, Chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu described the migration as a well-deserving recognition of the size, liquidity and sound corporate governance of the UBA Group.
He commended the management of the Exchange for creating the premium board noting that the board should provide relevant visibility for prime stocks listed on the Exchange while helping discerning investors in their stock selection and broader investment decision process.
“I expect stocks listed on the premium board to attract the justified premium valuation, which they truly deserve, as large-cap companies with proven record of sound corporate governance and stock liquidity. I would expect the NSE or any of the major brokerage houses to develop an index around the premium board, as this my further deepen the market and create the much-needed products and liquidity for the Nigerian equity market,” Elumelu said.
Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe said the bank has always placed premium on sound corporate governance in line with its vision of being the leading African bank.
“Access Bank is pleased to have attained this status. We have always adhered to international corporate governance best practices, which is line with our aspiration to become Africa’s gateway to the World,” Wigwe said.
Managing Director, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Mr. Austin Avuru, said the migration of the company to the premium board four years after it was listed on both the London Stock Exchange and NSE in 2014 confirmed the adherence of the company to international best practices.
“Seplat has always adhered to international corporate governance best practices in every area of our operations,” Avuru said.
Managing Director, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Michel Puchercos, said the cement company as a member of the world’s largest building material multinational, LafargeHolcim, strives to be a role model in every country of operations.
Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema, said the migrated companies have fulfilled all the stringent listing requirements for the premium board.
“It is a platform for showcasing sector leaders, with sound corporate governance. Premium board features companies that adhere to international best practices on corporate governance and meet the Exchange’s highest standards of capitalisation and liquidity,” Onyema said.
According to him, companies on the board are well-run corporates with sound governance, which have strong visibility on the Exchange and are expected to further appeal to investors, seeking to invest in companies with the highest standards of corporate governance.
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