Banking & Finance Economy

COVID-19: NSE finally shuts trading floors March 25, resorts to remote trading

NSE: Market capitalisation closes upbeat, rises N53bn
Written by Maritime First

… As Dangote Cement set to issue madien bonds for medium-term debt financing***

Following the raging effect of COVID-19 in country, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has finally decided to temporarily close its trading floors and engage in remote trading, with effect from March 25.

Mr Oscar Onyema, NSE Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement on Monday in Lagos that the decision became imperative due to recent developments in the country.

“Over three weeks ago, we activated precautionary health measures across our offices where we screened visitors with thermometers, provided sanitizers and minimized access into our premises.

“Further to this and with the significant growth in new cases, effective  March 24, we have activated a 30-day remote working plan for our employees excluding essential staff.

“In order to give our dealing members enough notice, effective March 25, all our trading floors will be temporarily closed, although remote trading will continue and NSE staff will be available through all our digital platforms to provide support.

“We regret any inconvenience this may cause in the discharge of your business activities, but we must act in the best interest of all stakeholders at this time.

“In line with our robust Business Continuity Management framework, we would like to reassure you that we have put in place measures to ensure our operations and trading activities continue seamlessly throughout this period.

“As an exchange, we will ensure that all relevant information continues to flow into the market to ensure the pricing of risk assets remains transparent and reliable across asset classes to allow investors to value their portfolios and make informed investment decisions under these volatile conditions.

“Dealing members are, therefore, encouraged to continue to trade remotely via our electronic platforms such as FIX protocol and XNET, and reach out to their Compliance Officer if any support is required. Please note that we will provide manual support to members without remote access during this period.

Issuers who have any business to conduct with The Exchange can reach out to their Relationship Manager for guidance.

“You should continue to submit all regulatory filings via Issuers’ Portal (X-Issuer).

“As the Exchange embraces social distancing as prescribed by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), we have further engaged with the Federal Government on issues of Annual General Meetings, maturing financial instruments, financial reporting, to mention a few and appropriate updates will be provided in due course.

“Furthermore, all physical meetings within and outside our office premises have been suspended until further notice. We have instructed our employees to leverage technological tools to conduct meetings virtually. We assure you that our virtual lines of communication will remain open to engage with you and attend to your need.

“Please contact us via e-mail, mobile phone or other digital channels if you have any questions, comments, complaints or observations in this regard.

“We understand that these are trying times, but we are committed to ensuring we do not experience any disruptions to our operations. As we navigate this new reality, we encourage you to follow our various communication channels as we continue to share relevant updates,” Onyema said.

In the meantime, the Dangote Cement Plc (DCP) has obtained approvals from its board of directors to access the capital market for medium term debt funding.

Mr Edward Imoedemhe, its Deputy Company Secretary, said in a statement on Monday to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) that the maiden bond issuance was subject to regulatory approval and favourable market conditions.

Imoedemhe stated that the proceeds of the Series 1 Bonds would be used to refinance existing short-term debt previously applied toward cement expansion projects.

He said that the proceeds would also be used for working capital and general corporate purposes.

According to him, book building for the Series 1 Bonds will commence following approval of the transaction by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

He said that the process of obtaining requisite approvals from the SEC for issuance of the bonds had begun.

The DCP is the largest company by market capitalisation on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

It is also the largest cement producer in sub-Sahara Africa, with an installed capacity of 45.6mta across operations in 10 African countries.

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Maritime First