More state-owned enterprises and joint ventures are to be privatised and consequently listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) from next year, Minister of State in charge of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Anthony Osei-Akoto has said.
As part of the 2007 budget in which government outlined the intention of rationalizing its participation in state-owned firms, the divestiture of the Ghana Oil Company Limited (GOIL) and the State Insurance Company (SIC) has been completed with GOIL already trading on the Accra Bourse.
SIC on the other hand has commenced its Initial Public Offer (IPO) for general business portfolio, where it is seeking to raise about ¢250 billion from a minimum of 200 shares at a price of Gp30.
Ninety-seven million, eight hundred and twenty-two thousand, five hundred (97,822,500) shares are expected to be sold to individual and institutional investors.
Speaking at the launch of the IPO of SIC, Dr. Osei Akoto stated that the coming days will be very intensive for government as it is set to conclude the sale of Ghana Telecom (GT).
Despite the fact that France Telecom is being touted as the winner among the 3 short-listed companies, including Vodacom of South Africa and Portugal Telecom after the interview with the two transaction advisers, Ecobank Development Corporation and Societe General, government is still scrutinizing the documents submitted by the companies before announcing the winner.
Dr. Osei Akoto said government will continue to support the GSE including the floatation of government securities to promote the development of the bond market as well as encourage private companies to list on the exchange.
He challenged other insurance companies to improve their capital base by raising additional capital through the stock market.
Most investor analysts say SIC's listing will boost the market capitalization of the GSE since it will generate more trading activities on the market.
SIC controls about 40 per cent of the market, with regard to general business and 30 per cent, with regard to life.
The IPO of SIC will end on December 21, 2007.
In the event of oversubscription, government will issue additional shares of 10 per cent in the company.
...Four Coys' Interested
In SIC Life
Meanwhile Managing Director of SIC, Peter Osei Duah has told CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE that four foreign entities have express interest in acquiring some shares in SIC's Life business.
Though the names have not been disclosed, CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE gathers that two South African and one each from the United States of America and United Kingdom are contesting for a strategic stake in the company.
Should any of the companies get the nod after undergoing due diligence from the transaction advisers, Merban Stock Brokers and SIC Financial Services limited, it will own between 30-35 per cent in the SIC Life.
Mr. Osei-Duah further told CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE that it is expected the life business portfolio will be listed during the first quarter of 2008 when the winner will be chosen after the negotiations had been concluded.
By Charles Nixon Yeboah