The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has unveiled Dangote Cement Plc, FBN Holding Plc and Zenith International Bank Plc as the pioneer companies that have qualified for listing on the prestigious new Premium Board and associated Premium Board Index platform.
The three companies passed the Corporate Governance Rating System (CGRS), with market capitalization of N2.87 trillion, N277.70 billion and N587.43 billion respectively before applying for the premium board.
The launching of the Premium Board according to the management of NSE is in line with its commitment to promote Africa biggest companies, as well as influencing the economic growth and development of Nigeria.
Commenting on the new listing board, Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema explained that as a member of the United Nation Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative, which is designed to encourage stock exchanges to influence their ecosystem to adopt sustainable ways of doing business around Environmental, Social, and Governance dimensions.
The Premium Board is one result of our commitment to place corporate governance front and centre as a way to improve the climate for doing business in Africa. Pointing out that companies on the board will enjoy the highest levels of visibility and appeal to investors looking for large companies with the highest standards of corporate governance.
Also speaking on this development, the Executive Director, Business Development, NSE, Mr. Haruna Jalo-Waziri, stated that the launch of Premium Board and the Premium Board Index is in line with The NSE commitment to promoting and continuously developing a more transparent, liquid, accessible market.
The Premium Board is for issuers with minimum market capitalization of N200 billion and highest corporate governance standards. Companies aspiring to be listed on the Premium Board must achieve a minimum score of 70 percent on the stringent Corporate Governance Rating System (CGRS).
In addition, they are required to maintain a minimum free float of 20 percent of their issued share capital or a free float value equal to or above N40 billion.
The Premium Board Index would serve as a benchmark for investors looking to track the performance of large firms with excellent corporate governance and sustainable business models.
Typically, similar indices outperform their market wide index by double digits. The NSE Premium Board Index had a four year average return of 17.65 percent versus the All Share Index return of 11.31 percent over the same period.
The Board will feature companies that meet the Exchange most stringent listing criteria of capitalization, governance and liquidity. It aims to provide a platform for greater global visibility for eligible African corporates to make it easier for them to attract global capital flows and reduce the cost of funding.
The Premium Board Index on the other hand, is an equity index designed to provide a benchmark to capture the performance of companies listed on the Premium Board. The index will also provide a basis for developing products (such as ETFs and equity index derivatives) that are tradable on the bourse.