Shareholders of Oando PLC, are overjoyed at the rise in the company's share price by 26% following the removal of a technical suspension placed on the company's shares on October 23, 2017. The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) commenced free trading of Oando shares following a directive from the SEC on April 12. The share price has experienced a price jump from N5.99 to N7.55 after only three days of trading on the Nigerian capital market.
Speaking on the lifting of the technical suspension, Mr. Babatunde Badmus, Pacesetter Shareholder Association said: "We are happy the SEC and the NSE has finally heeded to the pleas of minority shareholders like myself. It is unfortunate it took six long months to take effect, nonetheless we are pleased to finally be opportuned to reap from the Company's positive operations over the last 6 months."
Oando minority shareholders have been the hardest hit since the imposition of the technical suspension. During the period when the company's shares were placed on technical suspension, the NSE's All-Share Index gained c.14%.
By virtue of the sustained suspension, Oando shareholders have been unable to benefit from the positive sentiments in the market within this period. Should the shares have been freely tradable, a positive correlation between crude oil prices and the share price of Oando PLC would have afforded the over 270,000 shareholders an opportunity to profit from the inevitable price rally.
Mr. Tambari an Oando shareholder with the Sokoto Zone Shareholders Association said; "The lifting of the technical suspension is a breath of fresh air. Every true shareholder of Oando is delighted that we can finally reap a return on our investment. It is for this reason I doubt the authenticity of these shareholder groups saying the suspension shouldn't have been lifted. Haven't we suffered enough? The public knows that the company is viable, this is already evident in the price jump since the NSE commenced trading."
Ms. Ayotola Jagun, Chief Compliance Office and Company Secretary, Oando PLC in an interview with CNBC recently said; "On day one, the day the suspension was lifted, 178 million Oando shares were on bid with only 5.5 million available for sale. The company's share price hit the NSE daily price ceiling of 10% by 10.45am; further evidence that there is a lot of interest in Oando shares and that the general mood around the market and our shares is positive."
On the contrary, Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PROSAN), The Trusted Shareholders Association of Nigeria (TSAN) and the Oando Shareholders Solidarity Group (OSSG) differ in opinion on the removal of the technical suspension. They have termed Kemi Adeosun's, Minister of Finance redeployment of Dr. Zubair as "A ploy by the Minister of Finance to sweep the weighty allegations against Oando under the carpet."
Speaking on the controversy surrounding the lifting of the technical suspension Eng, Patrick Ajudua Oando shareholder with the New Dimension Shareholders Association said; "It is worrisome how the conversation has shifted from this good news, Oando shares trading on the capital market, to the call for the Minister of Finance to be sacked.
Shareholders should be happy because we have lost out the most. This is a major hurdle that has been crossed and should be celebrated. But instead troublesome and supposed Oando shareholders are not celebrating they are protesting this good news. Why would any shareholder do that? Should they not be asking for the swift conclusion of this investigation so Oando can focus on generating a profit and dividend for us shareholders. My hope and that of the members of my association is that the SEC will conclude the forensic audit as soon as possible so that the company can focus on its business operations."
For 176 days, shareholders and the capital market were held to ransom. The suspension of Oando shares, which experts have argued shouldn't have lasted this long, halted the company's ability to contribute its quota to the NSE All-Share Index and denied shareholders the opportunity to benefit from its positive business operations.
The suspension of Oando's shares pending a forensic audit does not follow SEC's own rules using the case of MRS as an example, a forensic audit was conducted on the company but the shares of the company wasn't suspended. Under the NSE Listing Rules, there is in fact no mechanism for a Technical Suspension in the trading of listed shares.
Even the Company's shareholders in South Africa were made to partake in the prolonged suffering as the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), where Oando has a secondary listing, had to institute a full suspension of trading in the shares of Oando on the JSE, so as to be consistent with the trading status of Oando shares on the NSE.
Oando made four profits in a row from its FYE 2016 results to its Q3 2017 results which wasn't reflective in its share price. As a matter of fact, when a company comes out of a technical suspension the norm is for shareholders is to dump their shares as the value falls. However this has not been the case with Oando. Demand has far outweighed available shares - imagine the true value of these Oando shares now if trading hadn't been suspended for 6 months.
Oando's positive activities , coupled with the rise of crude oil to just over $70 these past months cannot be ignored, just last week the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) announced that a consortium consisting of Oando PLC and OilServe Limited have been awarded the Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) mandate for the construction of a gas pipelines stretching from Ajaokuta to Abuja as part of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Pipeline. The pipeline is a section of the Trans-Nigerian Gas Pipeline under the gas infrastructure blueprint designed to enable the industrialisation of the Eastern and Northern parts of Nigeria and also enable connectivity between the East, West and North, which is currently non-existent.
Also, the company commissioned its new office building, the Wings Office Complex, a two 12-story building which also offers a world-class indoor event space, a one-of-a-kind space that can hold up to 300 people and an outdoor waterfront area with a hosting capacity of 200 people and overlooks Lagos State's waterway. The building will not only act as the company's new state of the art head office but will also be an additional revenue generator from its 27,000m2 worth of lettable office space.
The hope is that the forensic audit into Oando will be concluded as soon as possible and the results published and processes put in place to ensure this doesn't occur again and more importantly so that shareholders can finally put this issue to rest and reap a return on their investments.