Although the shares are still closely held by erstwhile members, there is a strong appetite from nonmember retail investors and institutional investors to own shares in the exchange.
The Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) completed its prolonged ambition to be listed on the exchange it operates. At the end of its first day of trading, October 15, 2021, the bourse operator’s market capitalization reached 34.86 billion naira ($85 million) from the sale of 1.96 billion units of shares that started trading at N17.75 ($0.04).
“NGX Group’s listing allows us to expand in key capital market infrastructure verticals and look beyond Nigeria’s borders, as we deliver on our growth plans to become Africa’s leading capital market infrastructure group,” said Oscar Onyema, Group CEO of NGX, during a listing event.
Although the shares are still closely held by erstwhile members—especially the dealing member institutions, each of which received more than six million units of the demutualized NGX shares—there is a strong appetite from nonmember retail investors and institutional investors to own shares in the exchange.
The exchange operator’s decision to demutualize “is positive for the agility of the NGX and its ability to effectively reinvent and reposition itself for global competitiveness,” according to Yadinma Onwu, executive vice chairman of Funds Matrix & Assets Management.
“It is good for stronger governance and market development and, of course, [to] unlock the exchange from the shackles associated with a mutually owned entity, where decisions had to be taken in the interest of the broad members even when such undermines market development,” he says. “With the completion of this process, the exchange should be more efficient in running its core operations, even as it may also explore new opportunities to broaden the scope of the Group’s operation.”
Chinenyem Anyanwu, CEO of Dependable Securities, notes that “the members are now shareholders, who may seek to hold the shares or trade it with other interested investors—who do not necessarily have to be participants of the exchange to own its shares—as an investment just [like] any other corporate entity listed on the bourse.”
Anyanwu also finds it exciting that NGX would now report profit to its shareholders, “unlike [the] hitherto practice when it operated as a nonprofit-oriented entity, with annual surplus or deficit, as the case may be.”