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Afreximbank still plans IPO in London, Oramah says

By David Whitehouse, David Whitehouse
Posted on Wednesday, 13 November 2019 12:28

REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

The African Export-Import Bank still aims to go ahead with a initial public offering in London after postponing the plan at the end of October.

The bank’s interest in IPO has “not gone away”, Afreximbank Chairman Benedict Oramah said at the African Investment Forum in Johannesburg.

  • The plan was postponed because “major developments in the bank should be reflected in information to shareholders,” he said, without elaborating. “We plan to go ahead with an IPO in London.”

The bank had hoped to raise $250m and initially said that the shares would start trading in London in November.

It postponed the plan at the end of October, citing “unfavourable market conditions.”

Oramah spoke on 13 November after the signing a memorandum of understanding between Afreximbank and  industrial group Thelo DB on railway and rolling stock financing.

  • According to Harry Broadman, chair of the emerging markets practice at Berkeley Research in Washington, a dollar-denominated listing would have been more logical as Afreximbank’s investments are made in dollars.
  • Broadman sees a signifciant risk that stock markets will decline in coming months, with the London stock market especially vulnerable to due to continued uncertainty over Brexit.

That pessimism is echoed by research published by Société Générale Cross Asset Research on October 25,  which predicts sharp declines in emerging market currencies as the world economy slows and stock markets correct in coming months.

Bottom Line: With many investors predicting a correction or worse in stock markets in 2020, Afreximbank may find that its best opportunity to list has already passed.