As government moves ahead to finalise the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF) draft bill, the Namibia Stock Exchange (NSX) says it supports the push for Namibian participation at shareholder level of foreign companies.
The bourse has long called for government to consider a proposal where foreign owned companies could meet their local ownership requirements through listing.
“We have long proposed 100 percent foreign owned companies should open their shareholding for Namibians to participate. As government is also proposing employee participation, we further propose wider market participation and our pension funds play a major role in ownership and price discovery on the exchange. These two coupled are ideal to open the books and make your market part of your ownership,” NSX CEO, Tiaan Bazuin said.
He maintained that continued delays in the finalization of the proposed regulations was hampering efforts for increased local participation in the companies, as they were uncertain over compliance.
This comes as government bowed to local and international pressure by removing a clause in NEEEF that would have forced white businesses to sell a 25 percent stake to previously disadvantaged Namibians.
“Namibian companies are hesitant to come to market due to the continuous uncertainty of NEEEF. Clearly the market is crying out to invest in Namibian companies with our Namibian capital, but it’s a difficult sell without the required clarity,” Bazuin said.
On the NSX achievements to increase listing and investment options on the bourse, Bazuin said, “various new activities have been launched to deepen the market, most recently the listing of our first capital pool company. We also launched an Over the counter trading facility upon which AGRA trades and we were one of the first exchanges in Africa to list a green bond last year.”
Bazuin said Development Capital Market (DevX) was achieving its aim of being an alternative exchange for companies that could not meet the main board’s stringent listing requirements.
“Currently five companies listed on DevX, with Celsius that listed early 2018,” he said.
The NSX boss said the company was expected potential listing during the course of the year, with giving details, but, maintained the planned delisting of Bidvest Namibia was a normal practice on stock exchanges.
“Bidvest is considering a possible de-listing from the NSX. Of what impact will that have size of the exchange and its attractiveness to investors? We don’t want any companies to delist, but this is normal and can happen for various reasons. We have had very few delistings, while other exchanges have it a lot more,” he said.
Bidvest is current in the process of seeking shareholder approval to delist from the NSX.
Going forward, Bazuin said the passing of the Financial Institutions Market Bill (Fim Bill) will allow the bourse to move ahead with plans to set up a Central Securities Depository (CSD) in partnership with the Bank of Namibia.
CSD will provide electronic settlement of equities and bonds transactions concluded on the NSX and settle transactions in money market securities and will be regulated by the Namibian Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (NAMFISA).