LSE says, hello, Africa! Come list with us

22nd May 2019, By: Bloomberg

It’s not often that the LSE comes to Africa looking for listings. Traditionally companies based on the continent have to make a strong case to have their stock traded on one the world’s biggest bourses.

But this week, officials are on roadshow in a bid to boost the LSE’s 115 African listings. The exchange is banking on partnerships with African exchanges, including those in Nigeria and Kenya, for dual listings, according to Director of Emerging Markets and International Markets Ibukun Adebayo.

They will visit Nairobi and Luanda, the capitals of Kenya and Angola respectively, after a similar visit to South Africa two months ago. They also plan future stops in Abidjan, Cairo and Casablanca, Adebayo said. A final roadshow in New York is planned to showcase the companies to African investors as part of a UN initiative, he said.

“If a company has an international strategic growth plan, then the LSE is a perfect vehicle for the company to come and list,” Adebayo said Tuesday in an interview in Nairobi. “If the company is purely domestic and it needs to raise money in the domestic market and increase the number of investors available to it, then the LSE can help work with local partners.”

The LSE doesn’t expect Brexit to have a significant effect on the operations of the bourse, Adebayo said. On average, about 40% of the investors in companies listed on the LSE are from the UK, 30% from the US and 9% are European, he said.

Many African companies are in the budding stage, focusing on growth and lack the scrutiny that comes with being a publicly traded entity, Nairobi Securities Exchange Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Odundo said during the roadshow.

“Every entrepreneur’s dream is to go public,” Odundo said. “We are yet to get to that realization in Africa.”

Companies that have announced plans to list on the LSE include the National Oil Corporation of Kenya and Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.