GSE to list three companies this year

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) expects three  companies  to announce their initial public offers (IPOs) in 2013 and if successful, be admitted to the league of listed companies in the country.
The exchange is, however, keeping the names of the companies to its chest but stressed that the offers would happen before the end of the year.

“I will not mention names but we are confident three big companies will be added to the exchange before the year ends,” the deputy Managing Director of the GSE, Mr Ekow Afedzie, said in an interview.

“There’ve been some discussions and the processes are ongoing smoothly and so we expect them to come on board anytime soon,” he added.

He spoke to the GRAPHIC BUSINESS on the sidelines of the Executive Committee meeting of the African Securities Exchange Association (ASEA) which ended in Accra on April 5.

The meeting brought together some executive committee members of ASEA – a grouping of stock markets on the continent – to review the association’s activities for the past year and chart a new course. It was not opened to the media.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Mr Afedzie said the local bourse was anticipating more activity in 2013 especially with the three companies expressing interest in coming on board.

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The successful listing of the three companies would bring the number of publicly traded companies on the GSE to about 44, up from the present list of about 40 companies.

The listing is also expected to help increase activity and the rate of liquidity on the bourse, especially if the companies are as big as the deputy MD said.

It is not immediately clear which companies the GSE is convincing to list but indications are that they would be in the telecom, banking and/or insurance sectors.

Efforts by the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) to go public by floating part of the government’s 52 per cent stake in the bank on the Stock Exchange stalled last year partly due to the December 2012 general election.

Also, local mobile phone and computer manufacturer, rlg Communications, has on several occasions announced intentions to float part of its stake on the bourse to help raise capital for expansion while making its wealth available to the general public.

That, however, remained on paper as the company, which is part of the Agams Group of Companies, takes steps to restructure its finances and clean its books to meet stock market requirements.

The government has also come under pressure from stock market analysts, including the GSE, to float part of its stake in the Ghana Reinsurance Company (Ghana Re), Vodafone and Airtel Ghana to help whip up investor interest in the local bourse.

The Chairman of the Governing Council of the GSE, Dr Sam Mensah, said at the exchange’s annual general meeting in Accra in September last year that the government needed to take “far-reaching listing and divestiture decisions” to help support the growth of the GSE and the capital market at large.

“Vodafone, Airtel and the Ghana Reinsurance Company are stocks that would make the market interesting to investors and so we think that if government list its minority interest in them, it will help increase activities on the bourse,” he said at the time

He also hinted of moves to develop the corporate bond market to serve as a sure source of alternative financing to corporate institutions in the country.

“We want to whip up interest in the bonds market too, the corporate ones I mean, especially using the pension funds thing,” he added.

He said a committee which worked on corporate bonds had since submitted its report to the Ministry of Finance for approval.

Interest on the corporate bond market has dwindled over the years despite the good investor appetite that greeted bonds initially issued by the HFC Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.GB

Story: Maxwell Adombilla Akalaare

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