NSE launches index for SMEs, relaxes listing requirements

The Nigerian Stock Exchange has launched a new index called the ‘Growth Board’ for the Small and Medium Enterprises.

The Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Mr Oscar Onyema, while speaking at the launch, said the growth board aimed to encourage companies with high growth potential to seize the opportunity of raising long-term capital and promoting liquidity in the trading of their shares.

He stated that the board also presented an avenue for companies in their growth phase to leverage the NSE’s platform and varied products and services to achieve their long-term business objectives.

Onyema said, “From a growth perspective, Nigeria had the single largest representation with 97 companies featured in the 2019 Companies to Inspire Africa report jointly produced by the London Stock Exchange and the  PwC Africa.

“The high representation by Nigerian growth companies clearly emphasises the opportunities present in the segment and the nation at large.”

He said the growth board was designed to offer relaxed entry criteria, as well as less stringent ongoing listing requirements to allow for greater accessibility to capital flows, global visibility and credibility through corporate disclosures.

He noted that the growth board also restructured current market segments to better meet the needs along company’s entire lifecycle, that is, entry segment for a company with a market capitalisation from N50m and standard market for institutions with a market capitalisation from N500m.

Onyema said, “The segmentation of the boards also provides alternative options for interested investors to participate in each company’s growth journey.

“To successfully achieve our listed companies’ growth strategy and listing objectives, the NSE will be collaborating with various strategic business partners and value-added service providers to offer cost-effective services to create a competitive edge for listed companies within their respective industries while stimulating investors’ interest through enhanced information delivery.

“Services such as pre-listing diagnostics and institutional services such as audit, financial advisory, legal advisory, corporate strategic advisory, investor relations, analyst coverage, corporate access and corporate governance will be provided.

“The Exchange will also provide tailored training on its learning and ‘development platform ‘X-Academy’ for capacity development and to promote increased corporate governance for boards and employees of companies on the growth board.”

The Head, Listings Business Division, NSE, Mr Olumide Bolumole, said growth board companies would enjoy reduced the NSE fee structure, reduced pre- and post-listing obligations and increased turnaround time for approvals and time to market.

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