The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has delisted Gombe-based Ashaka Cement Plc from its official list, shutting the door of secondary market transaction on the company’s shares.
The delisting, which was effected on Tuesday, was however at the instance of Ashaka Cement as part of the group consolidation arrangement that will see Ashaka Cement reverting to a private limited liability company under its parent company Lafarge Africa Plc. Lafarge Africa remains quoted on the Exchange.
The Quotation Committee of the Exchange had approved the voluntary delisting of the cement company after a long-drawn process that had seen Lafarge Africa staking cash and shares in many tender offers aimed at acquiring minority shares in Ashaka Cement.
Company Secretary, Ashaka Cement, Mrs Zainab Silas-Umaru, who confirmed the delisting, said the shareholders that had exercised the option to exit the company through the tender offers will be paid as agreed.
Lafarge Africa had separately launched a Mandatory Tender Offer (MTO) and Voluntary Tender Offer (VTO) to acquire minority shares in Ashakacem. During the MTO and VTO, Lafarge Africa offered 57 new Lafarge Africa shares for 202 AshakaCem shares and a cash consideration of N2 per every AshakaCem exchanged.
Shareholders of AshakaCem had at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in December 2016 approved the resolutions for a voluntary delisting of the company from the NSE. With the approval at the EGM, shareholders were given a 90-day window to decide on the exit plan on offer, in line with the requirements of the NSE on voluntary delisting.
Within the 90-day period, shareholders had three options. They may decide to trade their shares on the NSE through their nominated stockbroker. Alternatively, shareholders may decide to receiveconsideration from Lafarge Africa in exchange for transferring their shares, on same terms as were for the MTO and VTO. On the other hand, shareholders may decide to retain their shareholdings in the unlisted AshakaCem.
According to the board, through the voluntary delisting, the company, which current free float of 15.03 per cent is in violation of the NSE listing rule of a minimum of 20 per cent, will be shieldedfrom any enforcement action or sanction that the NSE may impose due to the violation.
They noted that a mandatory regulatory delisting that would have resulted from unresolved free float deficiency could damage the reputation of the company.
Lafarge had on July 9, 2014 received shareholders’ approval to consolidate its cement businesses in Nigeria and combine these with South African operations to create a leading sub-Saharan building materials giant to be known as Lafarge Africa Plc. The consolidation was done by transferring Lafarge’s assets in South Africa and Nigeria to Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria Plc.
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