April 2nd, 2012 by Tom Minney
This morning (2 April) South Africa’s securities exchange, the JSE Ltd, announced a revised strategy to attract more listings from African countries, as they say international interest in investing into the continent’s growth story continues to soar. The JSE is closing its Africa Board and moving the 2 listed companies onto the Main Board (listing requirements for the Africa Board are the same as for the Main Board) or to Alt-X if they are growth companies. The JSE is also stepping up trading in depository receipts (DRs) and offering a broader range of exchange-traded funds and debt instruments.
Siobhan Cleary, Director of Strategy and Public Policy at the JSE, said in a press release: “The JSE’s existing African offering includes 12 African companies. In future, there will be no differentiation (for listing purposes). For equities, this will mean that we will list the companies on the Main Board or AltX as applicable. We will also actively market and profile the African companies that are already listed.”
She says the move is driven by demand for capital and also by the increasing supply of capital from investors. African consumer markets are increasingly being targeted by local companies and companies from overseas, including a growing wave of foreign direct investment activity. Other very active channels for investments are private equity funds, hedge funds and other investors. “We think it is time that stock exchanges started to play an appropriate role in channelling the investments.”
In October 2011 South Africa’s National Treasury announced that companies previously viewed as foreign listings would in future be treated as domestic and this makes it easier for South Africans to invest in JSE-listed African stocks and makes it easier for foreign companies to raise capital. South African institutions will apparently be able to include JSE listed companies among their domestic asset holdings. Second, the JSE has developed good relations with several stock exchanges on the continent through the African Stock Exchanges Association and the Committee of SADC Stock Exchanges. Third, there are increasing investment flows into the continent’s markets and more funds focused on the region, seen as high growth compared to many world markets.
Nathan Mintah, Chairman of the JSE’s Africa Advisory Committee, commented: “This evolution in JSE’s strategy is a step in the right direction in the quest to increase capital flows into the rest of Africa. Offering issuers and investors the ‘whole JSE’ market platform for access to instruments across the capital structure in equities, mezzanine, and fixed income combined with the JSE’s liquidity will clearly benefit all stakeholders and serve as a catalyst for product innovation in areas such as exchange traded products for the rest of Africa.”
The JSE is diversifying the instrument range it offers investors from the rest of the continent. Cleary says: “We already have four interest-rate instruments from the rest of the continent, as well as an African exchange-traded product. We will give increased focus to listing further debt and quasi-equity products in future. These will also include DRs, which are traded like shares and offer investors the same economic, corporate and voting rights as holding underlying shares directly. DRs enable issuers to reach investors located outside their home markets while reducing the risk of cross-border investment.” The JSE altered its listing requirements last year to accommodate DRs, which will provide a way for African companies to raise capital on the JSE without requiring a secondary listing. DRs are applicable for African companies regardless of whether they have an existing listing on an African exchange or any other exchange. Freely traded in South African Rands, this will allow African companies to market themselves to both South African and international investors.
Cleary says there is a pipeline of companies interested and she expects more African listings this year. The JSE is competing with international exchanges such as London and New York for key listings, and also with Australia and Toronto for mining listings. Recently Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote said (see article in Financial Times, for instance) he would take the $11bn Dangote Cement for a London listing in 2013, and last year Zambia’s Zambeef also opted for London.
The two listings on the JSE Africa Board, launched in February 2009, were Trustco from Namibia and Wilderness Safaris from Botswana. The JSE says both prefer to be ranked with their sector peers and in industry sectors. Quinton van Rooyen, Trustco Group MD, commented: “This repositioning of Trustco allows the company, whilst keeping its African identity, to be benchmarked against its peers, on a world-class platform. This can only be beneficial to Trustco and the extensive African investment community.” The JSE is also pledging roadshows and analyst events to highlight the African companies from outside South Africa.
The JSE believes that its approach provides a workable solution to the sometimes complex issue of investment on the continent. The JSE’s approach also contributes to the development of markets within their own economies. Cleary added: “There is an opportunity for the JSE to work with these exchanges and various development institutions to build capacity on the continent. It also gives the JSE the opportunity to evolve its Africa strategy. This has meant looking critically at what issuers – companies, governments and others – from the rest of the continent are looking for, and aligning their needs with the JSE’s objectives,” says Cleary.
October 28th, 2011 by Tom Minney
The next step for Africa’s securities exchanges is critical for the continent’s development. There is a huge demand for capital to be put to productive use in what could be the world’s fastest-growing continent, with a dire need for fast growth to drive out poverty. There is also a tide of international risk capital, looking to fund that growth and share in the profits. Between the two are the capital markets, challenged to move fast to become liquid, transparent and effective.
Lots of these topics are on the agenda for The 15th Annual African Securities Exchange Association conference (www.aseaconference2011.ma) (in Marrakesh, Morocco), which looks to have an excellent agenda. Casablanca Stock Exchange is the host, the theme is “Africa, alive with opportunities!”
Top speakers include key opinion leaders such as Thomas Friedman, Mark Mobius and maybe Christine Lagarde of the IMF. Expect speeches from Sunil Benimadhu (Stock Exchange of Mauritius and chair of ASEA), Karim Hajji of the Casablanca bourse, leaders of African securities markets and top speakers from several world bourses including BM&F Bovespa, Istanbul, NASDAQ OMX and the London Stock Exchange, with India’s National Stock Exchange and NYSE Euronext to confirm. They will be joined by finance ministers, bankers, analysts, traders, investors and many more.
Topics on day 1 include
• “The financial crisis: Is there a pilot in the plane?” Top analysts, bankers and traders, possibly joined by a European Commissioner from the heart of the crisis
• The economic implications of the “Arab Spring” for the continent, featuring key Ministers who are rebuilding post-crisis countries, a strategist and others
• Capital markets and BRICS (see previous story on stock exchange link-ups) – hear from CEOs and Executive Directors of key BRICS stock exchanges and Emergent Asset Management
• Nursing Africa’s future IPOs: heads of top African stock exchanges from Mauritius to Morocco, via Ghana and maybe Nigeria, plus PAI Partners, a leading French private equity firm
• A new FTSE-ASEA African index.
Day 2 tackles
• Regulation for cross-border development: Regulators from Morocco and the central African stock exchange, plus long-term Africa bull stockbroker Jonathan Auerbach
• Cost-effective and scalable technology options for emerging markets exchanges – featuring Tony Weeresinghe of the LSE, Anne Ewing of NASDAQ and maybe Joseph Mecane of NYSE Euronext, 3 top suppliers of securities markets systems to the continent who hold many of the keys to the next stage of evolution.
• “What’s hot in Africa today?” with a host of top speakers from politics, consulting, banking, mining, economics and development finance covering energy, infrastructure, mining, industry, agribusiness and others.
OPINION: Please note the Day 2 morning topics address critical and urgent issues of how African stock exchanges can work across (colonial) borders to build liquid and effective markets, part of the grand process of African integration and building viable economies.
Expect participants from over 100 countries. The ASEA AGM and committee are on 11 Dec and the conference starts on 12 Dec. The official language is English with Arabic and French translations.
Unmissable! Book the conference here via the ASEA website (www.africansea.org).
Warning!! You may not want to come home. The conference is in Hotel Palmeraie Golf Palace & Spa. The conference website says: “As a backdrop, the majestic, silvery, sentry-like summits of the High Atlas stand out. At the foot of the mountain lies a beautiful city, built in red and surrounded by age-old palm trees. Monuments defying time form a string of pearls for her. An enticing labaryinth, created centuries ago, of old ramparts meanders along its slender “body”. In this fairy-tale decor, lies Marrakesh the legendary; Marrakesh the imperial, the pearl of the south, bathed by an invigorating sun all year round.”
May 31st, 2011 by Tom Minney
Many foreign investors have investments in Africa but hold them in international custody in London or New York and perhaps wish to trade them on international securities markets such as London Stock Exchange or New York’s NYSE Euronext. They would choose to hold their equities in the form of Depositary Receipts, usually known as “American” (ADRs) if issued in the US, “Global” (GDRs) in London and there are DRs in several other countries including South Africa (SADRs).
The idea is that shares listed on an international exchange are transferred to a strong financial institution, who then issues a DR security which can be more easily traded on an international exchange or over-the-counter (OTC) market. BNY Mellon dominates the field but other issuers include JP Morgan Chase, Citi and Deutsche Bank. The total value of DRs traded in 2010 worldwide was $3.5 trillion, up 30% on 2009, and 89% of this trading was in the US.
Michael Cole-Fontayn, CEO of BNY Mellon Depositary Receipts (www.bnymellon.com), explained to African Capital Markets News that when institutional investors request, either for a capital raising or for more trading, BNY Mellon approaches the company and other stakeholders to set up a DR programme, usually under English or New York law. The details of the new DR security, including its currency, can be adapted to suit the international investors.
BNY Mellon holds the underlying security in the local market through a custodian, usually Standard Bank, while the newly issued DR clears and settles through the usual international clearing houses. An investor who has bought the shares in the local market can also approach BNY Mellon to convert them into DRs, which are often cheaper to own and easier to trade and settle.
When an investor holding a DR wishes to sell, he may first look for an international buyer for the DR. If not, his broker can find a buyer in the home market, then BNY Mellon would cancel the DR and deliver the shares for settlement in the local market. This can be done overnight if there is a time difference, but cancellation was suspended for Egyptian DRs when the Egyptian Exchange closed for two months in January-March 2011.
BNY Mellon currently offers DRs in shares in South African, Nigerian and Egyptian companies and offers indices based on the DRs. South Africa’s Anglogold Ashanti raised $705m through issuing DRs in New York in September 2010. Egypt’s Orascom Construction and Remco Tourism Villages created DR programmes for the US OTC markets, while Orascom Telecom traded $1.8bn of DRs on the LSE’s International Order Book (IOB) market. Four African companies – Malawi’s Press Corp, two Nigerian Banks and media house Naspers of South Africa – have GDRs listed on the LSE’s Main/Professional Securities Market.
Mary Gormley, Vice President at BNY Mellon Depositary Receipts, said that one big advantage was the speed of clearing and settlement and reduced costs. For instance, Oando plc, listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange then cross-listed on the JSE in 2005. Movements between share registers could take 40 days, while equivalent changes using the DR system would be much quicker. She believes the DR programme will grow, with growth businesses in Kenya and Ghana interested and Senegal, Togo and Zimbabwe also considering it: “DRs come out of a need for capital raising.”