Ghana Regulator Probes Adviser in Latest Hurdle for Biggest IPO

ACCRA, Ghana, Capital Markets in Africa: Ghana’s largest initial public offering hit another snag as the nation’s regulator put the listing of shares in Agricultural Development Bank Ltd. on hold and began an investigation of the transaction adviser.

ADB, which sold 450 million cedis ($116 million) of shares in an IPO that closed in March, filed a complaint last week against Accra-based IC Securities Holdings Ltd., Adu Anane Antwi, director general of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said by phone on Wednesday. A committee had been formed to probe the advisers, he said. Solomon Atefoe, a spokesman for ADB, confirmed the complaint, without giving details.

The lender’s shares haven’t started trading on the stock exchange as the government, the largest shareholder which sold an undisclosed portion of its 52 percent holding, missed a second deadline of May 5 to approve the transaction. Investors who were allocated shares and paid for them have yet to receive their stock, while the nation’s biggest investor, the state-owned pension fund, last week launched a late bid to buy a stake. 

The Ghana Stock Exchange had hoped the sale would boost trading volumes, helping to spark a recovery after the benchmark index fell into a bear market earlier this year. The index retreated for a fifth day on Thursday, bringing its loss this year to 11 percent.

Michael Darko, executive director at IC Securities, didn’t answer two calls to his mobile phone on Thursday or respond to a text message seeking comment on Wednesday.

Source: Bloomberg Business News

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