Oando: Court ruling stirs uncertainty over suspension of shares’ trading

Nigerian oil company, Oando. [Photo credit: Guardian Newspaper]
Nigerian oil company, Oando. [Photo credit: Guardian Newspaper]

More than a week after the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE suspended trading in shares of Oando Plc, the fate of the oil firm still remains uncertain, PREMIUM TIMES reports.

The NSE had last week suspended trading on the shares of the oil firm, following a directive by the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC.

SEC said it ordered the suspension based on petitions received from two aggrieved stakeholders of the oil firm, Dahiru Mangal and Ansbury Incorporated.

Similarly, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, JSE, acting on a correspondence from the NSE, also suspended the oil firm.

On Monday, the Nigerian bourse relaxed its sanction and placed the company’s shares on technical suspension, saying trading on its shares will not affect prices.

But Oando in its reaction on Tuesday said it had obtained an order of a court restraining the NSE and SEC from placing its shares on technical suspension.

A statement by Oando’s spokesperson, Alero Balogun, and the Chief Compliance Officer, Ayotola Jagun, faulted the decision of SEC and the NSE.

The company said the ex-parte order, obtained from the Federal High Court, granted an interim injunction “…restraining the NSE and any other party working on their behalf from giving effect to the directive of the SEC to implement a technical suspension of the shares of the company pending the hearing and determination of the motion for injunction.”


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The company also said the court order restrained SEC from conducting an audit into its finances pending the hearing of the motion.

The statement said that the notice had been served to the regulatory bodies on Tuesday, adding that the bodies are expected to comply henceforth.

But more than four days after the court order was reportedly served to SEC, PREMIUM TIMES finding revealed that the company’s shares are still on technical suspension.

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted Mrs. Balogun on Thursday, she said the order had been served and there is an engagement between both Oando and SEC, although the company expects immediate compliance.

“We have issued them with the court order. There is an engagement and we are waiting for the conclusion of that engagement”, she said.

When asked specific questions on why the suspension had not been lifted, the oil firm’s spokesperson said the regulatory bodies are in the best position to respond to the queries.

“You need to reach out to SEC and NSE directly to get feedback from them on why the suspension has not been lifted”, she said.

“If you remember, (when) SEC released its statement last week, we only said we were looking at the issues. So, even if we were doing anything (on assuring compliance), we would do those things privately and confidentially. For now we issued them with the court order and anything else that is happening is happening behind closed doors,” she said.

She however told our correspondent to check back on Friday for possible update.

Meanwhile, efforts to reach the NSE on Thursday proved abortive as messages sent to the communication unit were not responded to.

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted SEC for further details on Thursday, Ojabo Susan, the commission’s Senior Manager, External Relations Department, acknowledged receipt of PREMIUM TIMES’ enquiry and and told our correspondent to check back on Friday for a response.

But on Friday, she said the enquiry had been directed to the appropriate quarters and “the unit is awaiting response.,”

She, however, advised PREMIUM TIMES to check back again next week.

Similarly, Mrs. Balogun, in a chat with PREMIUM TIMES Friday evening, said Oando had not recorded any development that could be put in public domain. She also suggested that the company is working behind closed doors to resolve the issues and ensure compliance by the regulatory agencies.

“I don’t have any additional information on what NSE and SEC is doing. I think you need to reach out to them”, she added.

But David Adonri, a stockbroker at the Nigerian stock market, told PREMIUM TIMES Friday evening that Oando shares are still on technical suspension.

“Oando Plc shares are on full offer but now on technical suspension. Transactions can take place but at a fixed price – that was the last price at which it traded before the suspension”, he said.

He also suggested that the suspension might not have been lifted yet due to certain procedural technicalities at the SEC and the Exchange.

“It might be the order has not been passed to the authority of the market yet and they, too, might file an appeal. It is not a simple matter that may be lifted like that…So they (SEC/NSE) may want to file an appeal.

“But as we speak, Oando shares are still on technical suspension.”


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