SEC, NSE lift suspension on Oando shares as shareholder groups differ on decision

SEC, NSE lift suspension on Oando shares as shareholder groups differ on decisionDifferent shareholder groups of Oando Plc have expressed varied opinions on the lifting of the technical suspension placed by Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), based on the recommendation of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Indeed, the shares of the company commenced trading on the capital market yesterday morning following a directive by SEC.

One group, Concerned Shareholders of Oando Plc, had called on the Federal Government to prevail on the equity market regulators – SEC and NSE to lift the technical suspension without further delay.

But other groups under the aegis of the Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PROSAN), Trusted Shareholders Association of Nigeria (TSAN), and the Oando Shareholders Solidarity Group (OSSG), vowed to resist any attempt to frustrate the ongoing forensic audit of the company, now in its third week.

As the various shareholder groups engage in war of wits, NSE allegedly, in a letter titled, “Notification of lifting of technical suspension on the shares of Oando,” obtained by The Guardian, said SEC on April 9, 2017 directed it to lift the suspension.

However, NSE management had since disputed the lifting of the technical suspension, describing it as, “not true.”

However, in another twist, a statement released by the NSE, on the evening of April 11, 2018 the Exchange explained that they reinstated the technical suspension based on a new directive from the SEC, throwing the financial market into chaos.

The share price thereafter rose to N6.30, a 5.8% increase from N5.99 within three hours of trading on Wednesday morning, April 11. The regulator briefly re-imposed the suspension on the same day, citing SEC directives but then lifted it again by Thursday, April 12.

The NSE’s statement went further to say: “In the overall interest of investors in Nigeria’s capital markets, and following consultation with the Commission please be advised that at the start of trading, 12 April, 2018, trading in Oando’s shares will resume without any impediment in price movement consistent with the NSE’s market structure.”

The NSE had on October 18, 2017, announced a 48-hour “full suspension” of trading in Oando shares, at the expiration of which it also announced a “Technical Suspension” on October 23rd.

The Exchange informed Oando that the suspension of its shares was done in compliance with a SEC directive.

But addressing journalists on Tuesday, in Lagos, shareholders in favour of lifting the suspension argued that the decision is sending wrong signals to the global community regarding the seriousness of the Federal Government in attracting foreign direct investments to bolster the economy.

To this effect, the leader of the Concerned Shareholders of Oando, Patrick Ajudua, noted that the continued suspension of Oando shares is a disincentive to the market, as shareholders are being denied of price gains on the trading of the shares.

However, in a counter-briefing also in Lagos, on Wednesday, the leaders of PROSAN, TSAN, and OSSG threatened to institute legal action against the regulators if the technical suspension on Oando shares was lifted.

The groups, in fact accused the SEC of “doing nothing concerning the Oando issue.”

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