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Business News

NSE launches Growth Board to attract SMEs with growth potentials

The NSE has launched its Growth Board to provide issuers, especially SMEs, with opportunities to leverage on the Exchange for listing.

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NSE launches Growth Board to attract SMEs with growth potentials

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has launched its Growth Board to provide issuers, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), with opportunities to leverage on the Exchange for listing, raising long term capital and facilitating liquidity in the trading of their shares.

Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Oscar N. Onyema, disclosed that the initiative was established to elevate the Nigerian capital market and meet the needs of businesses at every phase of their lifecycle. According to him, the Alternative Securities Market board, which is a second-tier market, will be phased out.

The Growth Board is expected to encourage the listing of some of the 41.5million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) operating in Nigeria and provide them with a cost-effective platform to raise the capital needed to scale, attract investors, enhance corporate visibility and put in place a regulatory structure that fosters growth.

Head, Listings Business Division, NSE, Olumide Bolumole, said, “The Growth Board is expected to attract small to medium-sized companies that exhibit the potential for fast growth in their corporate earnings and are in the growth phase of their business cycle.“

The Growth Board offers two way of listing, the entry and the standard segment. The board offers relaxed entry criteria as well as less stringent ongoing listing requirements and allows for greater accessibility to capital flows, global visibility and credibility through corporate disclosures.

[READ ALSO: FBN Holdings wins World Finance Best Corporate Governance in Nigeria Award)

For instance, the Entry Segment of the board is for companies with a market capitalization from ₦50 million and the standard segment for institutions with a market capitalization from ₦500 million. The segmentation of the boards also provides alternative options for interested investors to participate in each company’s growth journey.

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Also, in a bid to ensure and promote sustainability of the board, the Exchange is collaborating with various strategic business partners and value-added service providers to offer cost-effective services designed to create a competitive edge for listed companies within their respective industries.

Some of the value-added services are pre-listing diagnostics, Institutional Services (including audit services, financial advisory, legal advisory, corporate strategic advisory); Investor Relations; Analyst Coverage, Corporate Access and Corporate Governance.

The Exchange will also provide tailored training on its learning and development platform “X-Academy” for capacity development and to promote increased Corporate Governance for Board and employees of companies on the Growth Board.

“I would like to invite growth companies and companies indicated in the CTIA report to join the NSEs Growth Board ecosystem and use the platform to achieve their strategic business objectives,” Onyema said.

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Corporate Press Releases

Deadlock in SEC case as Oando appeals court ruling

The legal battle between Oando Plc and the SEC continues as the former has appealed the recent court ruling.

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Oando Plc, Eni, Fraud, SEC

On Thursday, February 25, 2021 in a ruling presided over by Justice Giwa Ogunbanjo at the Federal High Court, Abuja, the judge declined jurisdiction to hear suits brought by Oando PLC and its directors against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The judge stated that the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) would be the appropriate forum to hear the matter.

The basis for the Court’s decision is Section 36(2) of the Constitution which allows aggrieved individuals to first approach any tribunal or administrative agency to determine civil rights and obligations as long as that process and the resulting decision is not final. The Court also reiterated that the IST has primary jurisdiction over Oando and its directors in respect of capital market issues and not the Federal High Court.

In July 2017 it came to public attention that the SEC was investigating Oando PLC; a long drawn out investigation followed culminating in the notorious May 31, 2019 letter from SEC to Oando finding them guilty of a number of infractions and imposing stiff sanctions. In response Oando and some of its directors, filed suits against the regulator for not following due process and a breach of their human rights to fair hearing. In addition to filing suits against the regulator, Oando took out and was granted by the Federal High Court of Lagos an injunction restraining the SEC from executing any of the sanctions in its May 31, 2019 letter.

An Oando official has explained that as much as they respect the decision of the court, the battle is far from over as in their opinion, this is still very much a case for the judiciary and thus Oando has lodged an appeal with the courts in Abuja, contesting the court’s decision that the suits are best heard by the IST. The belief being that justice will only be served through the courts and not the IST as advised by the presiding judge.

The company and its affected directors argue that the powers conferred by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on its citizens to enforce their fundamental rights supersedes the provisions of the Investment and Securities Act 2007.

They have also filed an application for stay of execution as well as an injunction pending appeal on the SEC’s May 31, 2019 letter to the Company, and as such the status quo that existed before today’s ruling remains unchanged meaning nearly 2 years on SEC’s hands are tied and they are still unable to implement sanctions imposed on the company or its directors. It begs the question at what point does the regulator decide to address this challenge in an alternative and more productive manner.

But Thursday’s ruling and Oando’s appeal is only the tip of the iceberg, 2021 has kicked off with shareholders weighing into this long drawn out battle. The shareholders have called on the SEC and Oando to settle the matter out of court, as the tussle continues to impact their investments. Some shareholders have gone as far as dragging both parties to court to seek an end to this impasse.

This month, various factions of Oando’s shareholders filed a case against the SEC in the persons of Alhaji Yakubu Gumel; Alhaji Kabiru Tambari, suing for himself and on behalf of the Sokoto Zone Shareholders Association; Tunde Badmus, suing for himself and for the benefits of Pacesetters Shareholders Association, at the Federal High Court Kano.

The shareholders filed for an interim order restraining SEC its agents or representatives from acting on its May 31, 2019 letter sanctioning the Management of Oando. The orders were granted on Friday, February 19, 2021 and present in court were lawyers for both SEC and the shareholders. The order restrains the SEC, its agents or anyone acting on behalf of the commission from disturbing or meddling with the affairs, management and activities of Oando PLC. It also restrains the SEC’s purported interim Management from meddling in the administration and activities of the company as well as an order restraining SEC from interfering with the shareholder’s exercise and performance of their statutory powers and duties as shareholders.

Alhaji Tambari Kabiru, one of the applicants, an Oando shareholder since 1991 explained why he decided to sue the apex regulator. He said “I’m not happy with the current state of my investment. I invested my money heavily with the hopes of capital appreciation and this has not been the case. This SEC and Oando case is affecting the value of our investment, it isn’t appreciating, instead it gets worse each year. For over two years now we have been totally in the dark on our investment in Oando. Where in the world is this done? Oando’s shares would have appreciated greatly if this issue wasn’t hovering over our heads. Year on year, our investment has depreciated in value. We are tired! As a shareholder I am strongly behind the Management of Oando. Not everyone can withstand the backlash this crisis has put the Management through these past four years and still remain committed to doing the job. We have reached out to the SEC and appealed for a resolution, but they haven’t listened to us, that’s why we’ve taken this matter to court.”

The court hearing between the SEC and aggrieved shareholders in Kano has been adjourned to March 17, where it is hoped a favorable ruling will be delivered by the court.

Amidst all of this was good news for one shareholder. On Tuesday, February 23, 2021 there was a court ruling in favor of an Oando shareholder Engr. Patrick Ajidua. He had challenged the regulator in a suit filed at the High Court of the FCT. He had challenged the SECs right to prevent the convening of an Annual General Meeting as a breach of his right to freedom of association.

In a hearing presided by Honorable Justice O. A Musa, all cases filed were granted in favor of Engr. Patrick. In summary the judge declared that the May 31, 2019 letter of SEC to Oando sanctioning its management, as unconstitutional, null and void and violation of Engr. Patrick’s fundamental right to fair hearing and his human right to receive information on the affairs of Oando and his interest and shares in Oando and more importantly instituted that within 90 days of the ruling Oando must convene an AGM for her shareholders.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has denied the claim by Engr Patrick Ajudua, that he won a court case against the capital market apex regulator. SEC disclosed in a statement it issued on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 that there was never a time it was served with court processes with respect to the purported matter at the FCT High court.

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It stated, “The attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the Commission) has been drawn to several publications in the media, where it is reported that a shareholder of Oando PLC, purportedly obtained a judgment from the Federal Capital Territory High Court against the Commission. The Commission wishes to inform the general public that it was never at any time served with court processes with respect to the purported matter at the FCT High court. The Commission will consequently take all necessary steps to verify and set aside the purported decision of the said Court.”

This denial is a clear affront to the Nigerian judiciary, implying that Honorable Justice O. A Musa who presided over the case made a judgement without giving SEC the opportunity to defend itself. This is contrary to court documents that have been sighted which indicate that SEC was served processes but did not appear in court. Once again it seems the regulator is indifferent to shareholder investments or the sentiments of the capital market and will doggedly continue to fight Oando PLC.

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Around the World

President Biden conducts first military airstrike against Iran-backed militia in Syria

The US has carried out military action in an approved airstrike against Iran-backed militia in eastern Syria.

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Joe Biden gains additional 4.6 million Twitter followers in less than 12 hours

U.S President, Joe Biden conducted his first military action in an approved airstrike against Iran-backed militia in eastern Syria, in a response to rocket attacks against American interests in Iraq.

This was disclosed in a report by Reuters on Friday morning, which revealed that the airstrikes were “limited in scope, potentially lowering the risk of escalation.”

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said: “At President (Joe) Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria.”

“President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq,” he added.

The Pentagon revealed that the airstrikes were targeted at multiple facilities used by Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS) at a Border Control point.

What you should know 

  • The attacks come just a month after Nairametrics reported that Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.
  • Also this week, Joe Biden revoked former President, Donald Trump’s order that blocked many green card applicants from entering the United States.

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