Do you remember what 1 kobo looked like?
The Security and Exchange Company has finally approved for the Nigerian Stock Exchange to move the 50 kobo floor a stock can trade at to as low as 1 kobo.
The Rule states that “notwithstanding its par value, the price of every share listed on The Exchange shall be determined by the market, save that no share shall trade below a price floor of one Kobo per unit (N0.01)”.
The NSE had announced plans for shifting the floor price and was merely awaiting SEC approval to begin. However, SEC did not disclose details of how NSE is expected to proceed. We will have to wait for NSE to provide details as to when it plans for the new floor price to become effective.
What it means?
Currently, the lowest Nigerian stocks can trade for is 50kobo. That is no matter how much a share price drops it can never drop below 50 kobo. It is unclear how 50 kobo was selected as a floor price but it perhaps explains why most quoted stocks have a nominal price of 50 kobo per share.
With the floor set to be moved to 1kobo (N 0.01) stocks can now drop to as low as One kobo per share if the markets deems the price to be so.
Why the change?
There are several reasons why it makes sense to move the floor from 50 kobo to 1 kobo however one stands out to us. A share price of 50 kobo per share can be artificial and thus means some stocks are expensive. Imagine you hold a stock that trades at 50 kobo per share and no one is willing to buy at that price. The market probably feels it is worth lower. With the stock trading at 50 kobo per share no one is interested in buying even if the seller is willing to sell for much lower. Now that the floor is reduced by 98% to 1 kobo per share, there is room for buyers and sellers to bargain more thus creating more liquidity for the market.
What are the implications?
The implications are far-reaching and in fact could trigger a massive sell-off in the early days and weeks of its implementation. Lets explore what could happen
Penny Stocks – Investors with a lot of penny stocks in their portfolio could be among the first to be hit by a sell off. Stocks between 50 kobo per share and N1 per share could be in the firing line as investors reassess their values.
Illiquid stocks – Stocks that have remained stuck at 50 kobo per share could also begin to see some movement as investors who have held these stocks for months or even years may have their stockbrokers place a sell mandate. Some mandate could even be at any price further depressing value.
Nominal Values – It is very likely that some company could decide to reduce the nominal value of their shares to 1 kobo per share via a scheme of share reconstruction. That way they could escape the wrath of a massive value accretion. Whether that will be possible will depend on the regulation that SEC proposes around this.
Fund raising activities – Fund raising activities could also be significantly affected by this move. For example companies looking to embark on IPOs or Public Offers may have to list at a much lower price per share meaning that they will have to increase their shares outstanding to accommodate the value that they seek. This leads to the next point
Registrars – these guys may also need to re price the fees they charge for their registrar business. For example, if a company needs to raise N10 billion at 50 kobo per share, it will need to sell 20 billion units. At 1 kobo per share it will be 1 trillion shares. That is astronomical and could create a reconciliation headache for most registrars.
Your Portfolio – Those who have portfolios dominated by penny stocks may have to reconsider their portfolio mix as they might be the first to be hit. If penny stocks get pummeled like we suggest, then portfolios that have a large constituents of penny stocks will decline massively in returns.