The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Tuesday delisted AG Leventis (Nigeria) Plc, closing more than four decades of public listing at the stock market.
The delisting yesterday was due to a request for voluntary delisting after AG Leventis’ core investors pushed through a plan to buy out minority shareholders.
The Leventis family, which remains the majority core investor in the conglomerate with some 88 per cent controlling shareholding, had launched a process and succeeded in buying out minority shareholders in order to implement a turnaround programme. AG Leventis had some 30,000 minority shareholders.
One of Nigeria’s oldest and largest conglomerates, AG Leventis was incorporated in Nigeria as a private limited liability company in 1952 and was converted to a public limited liability company and listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1978. At the last count, the AG Leventis Group consists of eight subsidiaries, three associates and three Joint Ventures, all of which were incorporated in Nigeria.
The group’s operations span the wide gamut of the economy from foods and beverages to automobile, real estate, hotel, general trade and merchandise.
AG Leventis had been under regulatory watch-list for failing to meet the minimum free float requirement for its listing category. The company has a free float of 11.64 per cent, 8.36 per cent below the 20 per cent free float for companies listed on the main board.
Free float, otherwise known as public float, refers to the number of shares of a quoted company held by ordinary shareholders other than those directly or indirectly held by its parent, subsidiary or associate companies or any subsidiaries or associates of its parent company; its directors who are holding office as directors of the entity and their close family members and any single individual or institutional shareholder holding a statutorily significant stake, which is 5.0 per cent and above in Nigeria.
Thus, free float’s shares do not include shares held directly or indirectly by any officer, director, controlling shareholder or other concentrated, affiliated or family holdings.
Companies listed on the Exchange are required to maintain a minimum free float for the set standards under which they are listed in order to ensure that there is an orderly and liquid market in their securities.