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FG’s Control of Unclaimed Dividends Could Cause Mass Exit from NSE—Ayeku

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Unclaimed Dividends

By Dipo Olowookere

President of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN), Mr Bode Ayeku, has warned that many companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) may begin to consider delisting their shares because of the new policy of the federal government.

The Nigerian government is planning to take control of the unclaimed dividends in the capital market believed to be worth N200 billion. This is to be done through the Financial Bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly soon.

Section 39 of the document seeks to establish an Unclaimed Dividends Trust Fund for the transfer of idle shareholders’ reward of firms listed on the stock exchange for three for the use of the federal government.

Also, if the dividends remain unclaimed for 12 years, the funds would become government revenue and would be transferred from the trust fund to the federation account as federation revenue.

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Business Post gathered that it would become an offence for any company that fails to transfer its unclaimed dividend to the fund.

The punishment is the payment of five times the value of the unclaimed dividends with accumulated interests at the monetary policy rate (MPR) rate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which is currently at 11.50 per cent.

But Mr Ayeku sees this policy as counterproductive because according to him, the federal government never made any attempt to solve the root cause of the unclaimed dividends.

Speaking at the 44th annual conference of the institute last Thursday in Lagos, he said the control of the unclaimed dividends could make companies delist from the NSE as the bill seems to target them.

According to him, this move could compel them to “re-register as private companies as recently done by some companies in order to avoid the take-over of their unclaimed dividends which are private funds.”

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The ICSAN leader questioned why the federal government was interested in the idle funds when it “has already collected companies income tax of 30 per cent and education trust fund of 2 per cent from the profit of each company before the dividend was declared, in addition to another 10 per cent withholding tax from such dividend, notwithstanding that it did not invest in the shares of public listed companies generating these unclaimed dividends.”

He advised the government to “replace Section 39 of the Finance Bill 2021 with a provision that unclaimed dividends shall be accessible to shareholders indefinitely and shall not be forfeited by any company after 12 years, but to be kept by the companies as stated in CAMA 2020.”

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He argued that, “This is because companies have a contractual responsibility to pay dividends to shareholders and this Bill has the implication of inducing a breach of such contract.”

Mr Ayeku further said the various state governments should “review their complex, unfair and exploitative probate process; arbitrary valuation of assets of deceased leading to compromise by probate officials; high estate duty of 10 per cent which dependents of deceased are compelled to pay notwithstanding that probate/letter of administration is just a change of name and not the sale of assets of the deceased.”

“They should fix a time frame of a maximum of two months for issuance of probate after receipt of complete documentation by the probate registry of each state to enable executors/administrators of deceased shareholders quick claim their unclaimed dividends in order to reduce their hardship,” he added.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

11 Plc Joins NASD Exchange, Trades at N215 Per Unit

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11 Plc

By Dipo Olowookere

An energy company, 11 Plc, formerly known as Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, has joined the NASD over-the-counter (OTC) Securities Exchange.

The firm joined the NASD Exchange on Friday, June 18, 2021, after it voluntarily delisted its stocks on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited last month.

Business Post gathered that when 11 Plc was admitted into the unlisted securities market, it was allotted the trading symbol, SD11PLC, and its securities were listed at N215 per unit.

Recall that in February 2021, Business Post reported that 11 Plc would trade its shares on the NASD platform after it exits the country’s main stock exchange.

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The energy firm had explained that it was leaving the NGX to “focus on revenue generation, consider strategic opportunities, alliances and collaborations; and tremendously shift from regulatory, administrative, and financial reporting regulations that companies listed on the exchange must adhere to.”

Before leaving, it offered shareholders who intend to sell their stake in the firm N213.90 for each of the unit held by them, noting that this amount was reached because it was the price shares of the company were sold at the exchange six months preceding the notice of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of 2020, where the decision to delist was agreed.

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At the close of business on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, shares of the company traded flat at N228 per unit. The firm had shares outstanding of 360,595,262 and a market capitalisation of N82.2 billion.

“The interest of dissenting shareholders shall be bought by the company for a consideration of N213.90 per ordinary share, being the highest price at which 11 Plc shares have traded, six months preceding the notice of the AGM at which the resolution to delist was deliberated, as provided by the rules of the NSE,” 11 Plc had said.

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In a related development, the NASD OTC Exchange has also admitted Capital Bancorp Plc on its trading platform. The company also joined last Friday.

Capital Bancorp, which offers financial services, was given the trading symbol SDCBANCO and was listed at N3.83 per unit.

This brings the total number of companies on the trading exchange to 41. The OTC platform was created for securities that are not listed on any other securities exchange, providing a secure regulated platform for investors to trade on them.

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Economy

Unlisted Securities Suffer 0.01% Loss in 24th Trading Week

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Unlisted Securities Traders

By Adedapo Adesanya

Investors suffered a marginal loss of 0.01 per cent at the 24th trading week of 2021 on the floor of the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange.

This reduced the NASD Unlisted Security Index (NSI) by 0.07 points to close the week at 746.12 points in contrast to 746.19 points of the previous week.

Also, the market capitalisation of the unlisted securities ecosystem went down by N0.05 billion to N530.35 billion from N530.4 billion it closed in the preceding week.

The decline witnessed in the four-day trading week was buoyed by two equities; Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc and Central Securities and Clearing System (CSCS) Plc.

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NGX Group lost 3.1 per cent to close the week at N19.28 per unit compared with the previous N19.89 per unit, while CSCS went down by 0.01 per cent to close at N17.99 per share in contrast to N18.00 per share it ended the preceding week.

During the week, the volume of stocks transacted by investors decreased by 21.03 per cent to 11.8 million units from 14. 9 million units of the previous week, while the value of shares traded went down by 20.13 per cent to N240.4 million from N301.0 million recorded a week earlier, with the number of deals going down by 18.4 per cent to 124 deals from 152 deals of the previous week.

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The most active security by value in the week was NGX Group with the sale of N205.1 million. It was trailed by CSCS Plc with N26.4 million, Nipco Plc with N8.4 million, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc with N497,202 and VFD Group Plc with N114,484.

Also, NGX Group was the most traded stock by volume last week with 10.3 million units. CSCS Plc traded 1.4 million units, VFD Group Plc exchanged 1.1 million units, Nipco Plc transacted 120,050 units, while UBN Property Plc traded 7,000 units.

ALSO READ  Value of Unclaimed Dividends Rises to N103bn

On a year-to-date basis, investors have traded 395.4 million securities worth N8.6 billion in 2352 deals.

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Economy

Weekly Investment in Equities Shrinks to N10.4bn

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equities Investment Strategy

By Dipo Olowookere

Investment in equities in Nigeria shrank last week following the public holiday declared by the federal government last Monday to mark June 12 Democracy Day.

Data from the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited showed that in the four-day trading week, investors only traded 981.2 million shares worth N10.4 billion in 15,001 deals as against the 1.1 billion shares worth N12.8 billion transacted in 17,854 deals the preceding week.

If not for the holiday, the turnover would have increased in the week as market participants traded an average of 245.3 million stocks worth N2.6 billion in 3,750 deals.

Business Post observed that Zenith Bank, Sterling Bank and Wema Bank accounted for 265.7 million units valued at N2.5 billion in 2,742 deals, contributing 27.08 per cent and 23.60 per cent to the total trading volume and value respectively.

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Also, financial stocks accounted for 695.8 million units worth N5.2 billion in 8,616 deals, contributing 70.92 per cent and 49.86 per cent to the total trading volume and value respectively.

Consumer goods shares followed with 75.9 million units worth N1.2 billion in 2,263 deals, while conglomerates equities recorded 67.4 million units worth N367.3 million in 612 deals.

A total of 38 equities closed on the gainers’ chart in the week, higher than 35 equities of the previous week, while 25 stocks finished on the losers’ log, lower than 36 stocks of the preceding week, with 93 shares closing flat, higher than 89 shares of the prior week.

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Berger Paints was the highest price gainer, appreciating by 14.93 per cent to trade at N7.70. Lasaco Assurance gained 10.29 per cent to sell for N1.50, Champion Breweries increased by 10.00 per cent to quote at N1.98, Morison Industries went up by 9.68 per cent to trade at N1.36, while Red Star Express gained 8.06 per cent to sell for N3.35.

On the flip side, UAC Nigeria closed the week with the highest week-on-week loss of 11.01 per cent to trade at N9.70.

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Airtel Africa lost 10.00 per cent to close at N753.30, Abbey Mortgage Bank fell by 9.52 per cent to trade at 95 kobo, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance reduced by 9.46 per cent to 67 kobo, while Okomu Oil dropped 9.44 per cent to quote N105.50.

At the close of transactions for the week, the All-Share Index (ASI) and market capitalisation depreciated by 1.30 per cent to close at 38,648.91 points and N20.143 trillion respectively.

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