From today onward, prospective buyers and sellers will be unable to either buy or sell shares of Ikeja Hotels Plc. This is because the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has suspended trading of the company’s shares on the floor of the NSE.
The suspension is as a result of the continued discordance in the boardroom of the company. The NSE invoked the Provisions of Rule 15.45 of its Rulebook which allows it to suspend trading of shares of companies with continued boardroom problems to safeguard shareholders of the company as the dispute could negatively impact the company’s governance structure.
The continued crisis in the boardroom has earlier manifested in the removal of the erstwhile Chairman, Mr Goodie Ibru, at an extra-ordinary general meeting (EGM) in early 2015, ThisDay reports. The removal was not without drama, though, as the Federal High Court in Lagos gave an order sanctioning the EGM at the request of some shareholders while a contrary order was given by another Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
This led to the EGM being held outside the premises of the hotel and having formed a quorum, shareholders voted Ibru out.
“We are rescuing this company from the hands of the cabals. We are legally authorised to hold this meeting. The regulators have failed us, let them come and see what is happening. We want to remove the virus that is eating deep into this company. How long shall we wait? You will see changes after today. There must be transparency and accountability in this company. Our auditors have also compromised.” President, Nigeria Solidarity Shareholders Association (NSSA), Chief Timothy Adesiyan was quoted as saying by ThisDay.
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seems to be in the know of these developments as the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, had said in statement that Ibru was also wanted for alleged money laundering.
“The public is hereby notified that Goodie Minabo Ibru is wanted by the EFCC in connection with a case of conspiracy, capital market fraud, stealing, diversion of funds and money laundering. He diverted billions of naira and assets of Ikeja Hotels Plc, owners of Sheraton Hotel, Lagos; Federal Palace Hotel and Capital Hotel; owners of Sheraton Hotel Abuja to his personal benefit,” EFCC said.
As things stand though, trading in shares of the company is on hold until the matter is resolved legally. While new investors would hardly have been seen rushing to buy the shares of the troubled company, present shareholders may groan at their inability to divest the troubled shares.
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From December 2015, when share price peaked at about N4.00 per share, share price of the company, according to Bloomberg Markets have continually dipped to the N1.78 it recorded upon closing of trading on Friday.