The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Wednesday lifted the technical suspension placed on Oando shares with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but ordered a reversal three hours later.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that confusion trailed the action of the exchange and SEC with market operators and shareholders calling on the federal government to intervene in the matter.
NAN reports that the exchange, in a letter entitled: “Notification of Lifting of Technical Suspension on the Shares of Oando,’’ said SEC on April 9, directed it to lift the suspension.
“We refer to our bulletins of 18, 20 and 23 October, 2017 regarding the directive of the SEC to the Nigerian Stock Exchange to place the shares of Oando Plc on Technical Suspension.
“Please be informed that on April 9, 2018, the commission directed the Exchange to lift the technical suspension placed on the shares of Oando.
“On receipt of the commission’s directive, the Exchange put the process in place to lift the technical suspension, including testing on its trading system.
“Further to the commission’s directive of April 9, please be advised that effective today, April 11, 2018, the Exchange lifted the technical suspension placed on the shares of Oando.
“Consequently, there is no longer any impediment to price movement in Oando shares.
“The above is for your information and records update please,” said the Exchange.
However, three hours after lifting the technical suspension on Oando’s shares, the suspension was reversed by the NSE.
All efforts by NAN to get the reasons for the reversal were unsuccessful as the Corporate Communications Officers of both the NSE and SEC declined to pick their calls or respond to inquiries.
Commenting on the issue, Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd. described both regulators’ actions as unprofessional.
Mr Omordion said SEC and NSE needed to correct the impression on time in order not to dampen investors’ confidence.
“If this impression is not corrected, the confidence of the investing public in the regulators will start dwindling which will not be good for the market.
The regulators are expected to have done their due diligence before giving any directive,” he said.
NAN reports that some concerned shareholders of Oando Plc had on April 10 urged the Federal Government to prevail on NSE and SEC to lift the technical suspension placed on the shares of the company without any further delay.
The shareholders at a news briefing in Lagos said that the suspension of Oando’s shares was sending wrong signals to the global community about the seriousness of the Federal Government to attract investments to bolster the economy.
NSE, on October 18, 2017, announced that it had placed the shares of Oando, a public quoted energy company trading on the floor of the NSE, on ‘full suspension for 48 hours.’
The exchange, thereafter on October 23, 2017, further announced that it had placed the shares of the company on ‘Technical Suspension.’
The NSE informed the company that the suspension of its shares by the NSE was done in compliance with a directive issued to it by SEC.
Patrick Ajudua, Head, Concerned Shareholders of Oando, said that the continued suspension of the company’s shares could also send wrong signals about the prevailing operating environment in the country.
Mr Ajudua said the federal government should protect a prosperous company like Oando from going down if it wanted to demonstrate to the investing world its seriousness to attract investors to the country.
“The continued suspension of Oando is a wrong signal to the global market about the prevailing harsh operating environment in Nigeria.
“This is at variance with the Federal Government’s initiatives to diversify the economy through increased Foreign Direct Investment,” he said.
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