By PETER EGWUATU & NKIRUKA NNOROM
In its quest to boost power supply in the country, the Federal Government is set to create better enabling environment in the oil and gas sector to attract more investors in gas production.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, stated this at the ‘Facts behind the listing of Seplat Plc ‘on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE.
Seplat is an indigenous upstream petroleum company and the first Nigerian company with dual listing on the London Stock Exchange, LSE, and NSE.
The listing also represents the first Initial Public Offer, IPO, to be undertaken by any company since 2008 capital market meltdown.
The company listed 543 million ordinary shares of 50kobo each at N576 per share and was simultaneously listed at 210 pence per share on the LSE main board.
Alison-Madueke said the federal government would continue to support indigenous companies in the oil and gas sector to list on the NSE in order to create wealth for investors and boost revenue generation for the country.
She noted that Seplat’s listing was a major milestone in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, saying that it was clear testament of government’s support for companies in oil and gas.
She said, “I have always heard, even in the media, that the government does nothing to support indigenous companies. We are going to support any indigenous company that has the wherewithal to produce gas that would in turn support the power sector in line with the federal government objective.”
She further stated that government is committed towards enhancing the economy by encouraging companies to list on the NSE as it is part of government’s deliberate policy of stimulating local companies for growth, while encouraging other oil and gas companies to seek listing, not just in Nigeria, but on international scale. Speaking at the event, the Chairman of Seplat, Mr. ABC Orjiakor, noted that the listing was the outcome of reform agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
He affirmed that despite a challenging market for oil and gas stocks, the response towards the IPO was excellent and demonstrated strong demand in both London and NSE for a leading Nigerian indigenous E&P player. Austin Avuru, CEO, Seplat, added, “We are already a leading indigenous independent oil and gas company in our home market, but the opportunities opening up in Nigeria for companies like ours are quite significant.”
In his remark, Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema said “ The NSE made a commitment to facilitate durable wealth creation by listing and nurturing the next group of “African Champions”. That is companies with over $1billlion in market capitalization with operations across the continent. We view the listing today, as a major step in your journey to becoming an African Champion. “Today we celebrate many
milestones with this listing, Seplat becomes the 1st Nigerian company listed on the main market of the LSE and the first pure play upstream listing on the NSE. The recent rebasing of the Nigerian GDP further highlighted the low market cap of listed companies-to-GDP ratio, and your listing today will boost the NSE’s market capitalisation by $1.9billion, bringing the ratio to 15.86%. This ratio indicates the significant opportunity for growth in the capital market in the country.”