LAGOS, NOVEMBER 6, 2017 – The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is to begin the implementation of new pricing rules that will remove the stopgap that has supported stocks at their nominal value. The new rules will allow shares of quoted companies to trade for as low as one kobo.
The new rules will effectively remove the current rule, which places minimum allowable price to trade for any stock at its nominal value, irrespective of the market forces.
The new rules stipulate that “notwithstanding its par value, the price of every share listed on the Exchange shall be determined by the market, save that no share shall trade below a price floor of one Kobo per unit”.
Par value is the nominal value of a share as stated in the Memorandum of Association of the company while price floor means the amount below which the price of one unit of a share shall not be permitted to trade, and the minimum amount which must be paid for a share in the event of a drop in the unit price of that share.
Regulatory documents obtained at the weekend also indicated that the amendments to the pricing technology at the stock market will see a categorisation of quoted companies under three groups with different pricing rules.
The tick size, the minimum price movement by which the price of a trading instrument can change, will also be lowered to as low as one kobo. Although all quoted companies shall continue to trade within the current pricing band of 10 per cent maximum allowable change per day.
Under the new groupings and pricing rules, which shall take effect on Monday January 29, 2018, stocks under the first category, Group A, shall consist of large-cap equities that are priced at N100 per share or above for at least four of the last six trading months, or new security listings that are priced at N100 or above at the time of listing on the Exchange.
The second category, Group B, shall consist of medium-priced equities that are priced at N5 per share or above, but less than N100 per share for at least four of the last six months, or new security listings that are priced at N5 per share or above but less than N100 per share at the time of listing on the Exchange.
The third category, Group C, where majority of listed companies fall, shall consist of equities that are priced at one kobo per share or above, but below N5 per share for at least four of the last six months, or new security listings that are priced at one kobo per share or, but below N5 per share at the time of listing on the Exchange.
The new rules expectedly link price movements and minimum quantity of equities traded that will change the published price of an equity security. Stocks under Group A shall have price change with minimum of 10,000 units; stocks under Group B shall have price movement with a minimum of 50,000 units while stocks under Group C shall have price change with minimum volume of 100,000 units.
The tick size, which is the minimum price movement that any equity shall trade, shall also be linked to the groups. Group A will have a tick size of 10 kobo, Group B, five kobo while Group C will have a tick size of one kobo. This implies that the share price of each stock shall be allowed to move up or down in multiples of its tick size.
The Nation’s check at the weekend indicated that there were only nine stocks under the “high-priced stocks” category of Group A. These include Dangote Cement Plc; Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc; Nestle Nigeria Plc; Nigerian Breweries Plc; SIM Capital Fund; Skye Shelter Fund; Nigerian Energy Sector Fund (NESF); Total Nigeria Plc and Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc
The Nation’s check also indicated that at least two-thirds of quoted companies fall under the Group C and about a quarter of quoted companies may drop below their nominal values upon the implementation of the new pricing rules.
A large part of quoted companies have been stagnant at their nominal value for many years and have been on supply, a market euphemism for shares glut and sell pressure. Most of the stocks have been sustained by the current rule of a stopgap of nominal value.
Market pundits said the new pricing rules will enhance the price discovery mechanism of the stock market, noting that the new rules are in tandem with the market’s principle of demand and supply as price-determinant at the stock market.