• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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SEC investigates share price freeze on Access Bank


access-bank-buildingThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it was investigating last month’s price freeze on the shares of top tier lender Access Bank ahead of its planned N68 billion ($415 million) rights issue.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in September suspended the shares for a week after the bank applied to the bourse, arguing that information on its capital raising was not publicly available and that it wanted to avoid speculation in its shares.

The SEC, the main securities market regulator said in a statement it was aware of last month’s price freeze on Access shares, but it had issued a directive five years ago that no listed company should have its share price frozen for reasons of fund raising.

“The commission is … investigating the circumstances surrounding the action of the NSE in imposing the technical suspension on Access Bank Plc shares as no such suspension was placed on the shares of other listed companies who undertook capital raising recently,” the SEC said in a statement.

It said it directed the bourse to lift the freeze on September 23.

Former Access Bank CEO Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede became president of the bourse in September, replacing Africa’s richest man cement tycoon Aliko Dangote.

The SEC said rival firms such as Diamond Bank and Unity Bank had their shares trading while they were raising funds.

Access Bank earlier this week said it had filed for regulatory approval to raise fresh capital after its shareholders backed the plan.

Shares in the bank closed at 8.35 naira each on Thursday, more than 11 percent below the pre-suspension price.