A Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Dr Charles Asembri, has said small businesses have failed to take advantage of the Ghana Alternative Market (GAX) because they do not have adequate information on it.
He explained that intensifying education on the benefits of listing on the GAX by the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) would woo many Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) to list.
Since the Ghana Alternative Market was introduced in 2013, only four companies which included the Intravenous Infusions Limited, Samba Foods, afb (Ghana) PLC and the Meridian Marshalls Holding (MMH) had successfully floated on the market.
Speaking to the GRAPHIC BUSINESS at the sixth Ghana Investment Awards held in Accra, Dr Asembri indicated that the growth of the capital market was crucial for the development of the country’s economy.
He admitted that although the current environment does not appear to be favourable for investment in shares by some people, stakeholders were optimistic that when the local economy picked up, more companies will clamor to be on the market.
He said the GAX would provide credible and efficient market for SMEs and a parallel market that offered opportunities to investors for investment, hence the need to deepen the education about GAX.
Listing an SME on the GAX increases visibility, provides liquidity for shareholders, facilitates innovation and growth and also comes with tax benefits.
“Among the huge benefits that awaits businesses which are listed on the GAX, like the accessibility to long-term capital at relatively lower cost, other incentive packages have also been put in place to complement these benefits,” he said.
He emphasized that the GAX accommodated companies at the various stages of their development, including start-ups and existing enterprises, both small and medium.’
For instance, there is the GAX-SME listing support fund which is placed to support the cost of raising capital and differed of up-front fees. Companies listing on GAX can apply for funds under the GAX-SME listing support fund to pay fully or partly for the cost of advisory services.
This is being done with the support and partnership of the Venture Capital Trust Fund and the African Development Bank.
He explained that given the difficulties many local businesses face to get on the main market, this alternative market was set-up by the GSE with far less stringent requirements, processes and cost to enable domestic businesses to get listed.
A company applying to list on the GAX must have a minimum stated capital of GH¢250,000 at the time of listing. The stated capital of GH¢250,000 shall be the capital after the company's initial public offer but prior to listing.
The public float of the applicant must constitute a minimum of 25 per cent of the total number of issued shares.
The minimum number of public shareholders shall be 20.
Admission may be granted to a start-up company, provided the applicant submits to the GAX a three-year business plan, demonstrating clearly the viability of the applicant.
The company seeking admission to the GAX need not have recorded profits historically but must have the potential to make profit at least at the end of its third year of listing.
Licensed Dealing Members, Investment Advisors or Issuing Houses shall sponsor an application for listing on the GAX.