Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nigeria’s Bourse Targets $1 Trillion Market Value in Five Years, CEO Says

The Nigerian Stock Exchange Chief Executive Officer Oscar Onyema. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
By Chris Kay and Oliver Joy

The Nigerian Stock Exchange Chief Executive Officer Oscar Onyema. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
The Nigerian Stock Exchange, whose index has tumbled 67 percent from its March 2008 peak, is targeting a market value of $1 trillion in five years as it attracts companies and plans to give shares to members through demutualization, Chief Executive Officer Oscar Onyema said.

“Our goal is to grow our market capitalization from $74 billion to $1 trillion in five years,” Onyema said in an interview in Moscow today. “If we can attract the oil and gas sector, if we can attract the telecoms sector and power sector then we should be able to hit those numbers.”

The bourse, whose index is sub-Saharan Africa’s third-worst performer over the past 12 months after Kenya and Botswana’s, is the second-biggest by market capitalization after South Africa’s, which has a value of $494 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has asked the nation’s Securities and Exchange Commission to get oil exploration and telecommunications companies to trade their shares on the exchange, Arunma Oteh, the regulator’s head, said on Feb. 7.

Oil exploration, power and telecommunications companies aren’t represented on the bourse and “would be totally new areas for the exchange,” said Onyema. Agriculture is “another area where we will be making a push” as it’s underrepresented on the bourse and makes up 40 percent of the West African nation’s gross domestic product, he said.

“We really want them because we believe a well functioning capital market is a good barometer for the economy,” Onyema said. “So where these major sectors are not represented in our capital markets today we are not giving you an accurate picture of the economic potential of Nigeria.”

Demutualization Plan

The exchange of Africa’s top oil producer has no time frame for its plans to demutualize and a committee focusing on the process is scheduled to start next month, Onyema said.

“We want to do it right, we don’t want to do it in a rush,” he said. “We want to make sure we take into consideration all the stakeholders and we address all the key questions that need to be addressed as part of the demutualization process.”

Onyema, who started work in April, replaced Emmanuel Ikazoboh who was appointed in August as interim administrator after the Securities and Exchange Commission removed former head Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, as part of measures to address “inadequate oversight of the exchange,” it said.

Onyema joined the Nigerian bourse from the American Stock Exchange, where he was a senior vice president and chief administrative officer.

To contact the reporters on this story: Chris Kay in London at ckay5@bloomberg.net; Oliver Joy in Moscow at ojoy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net

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