Seplat: Why Is ABC Orjiakor Selling His Shares?

On Tuesday, Seplat Nigeria Plc was the most traded stock on the Nigerian stock exchange after it recorded a transaction volume of about 22.6 million units valued at N8.5 billion indicating a large sale had occurred. This follows a similar pattern observed in December 2016, where it sold about 7.6 million shares on the London Stock Exchange. Seplat has a dual listing of its shares.

According to records filed in December 21 2016, Seplat reported that its Chairman, Dr ABC Orjiakor had through its company, Shebah Petroleum Development Company Limited sold off 7,636,912 shares to an existing shareholder Petrolin Trading Limited.

Shebah Limited is the investment vehicle used by Dr. Orjiako and his family for their holdings in Seplat Petroleum. As at 2015, Dr. Orjiako held a 15.04% stake or 85.6 million shares in Seplat through Shebah Petroleum and various holdings held by his siblings and relatives.

While there was no notification of the transaction by the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the London Stock Exchange, notified the investing public of that transaction. This week, 22.6 million shares were traded in a cross transaction without any notification from Seplat explaining what had happened. The Nigerian Stock Exchange is yet to make any comment on the matter.

Retail investors have requested to know if there is any issue of interest that could have warranted the sale considering that no major announcement has been made. A combined sale of about 30 million units represents about 37.5% of Shebah’s holdings. Whoever purchased these shares, if a single buyer, will be the 5th largest shareholder in Seplat.

Seplat’s Q3 2016 results showed the company reported a loss after tax of ₦ 24 billion naira compared to a profit after tax of ₦ 13.5 billon naira in the corresponding period of 2015. This was due to a shut down of the Forcados export terminal and lower crude oil prices. Indications are that Forcados terminal will be back up anytime soon suggesting a return to its optimum production output and a significant boost to investor confidence.
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