The drop in the Oando share price was attributed to the revelationsmade at a Southwark, London Court, lastweek by the former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, of allegedly owning almost one-third of Oando Plc.
The Executive Director, Energy Resource Limited, Mr SanniAdams, said the decline was as a result of the British prosecutor’s claims and subsequent reactions by the oil company.
“The negative news of Ibori’s hidden money into their account was responsible for the fall in the company’s share price. They should embark on serious image laundry management to restore shareholders’ confidence and state the position of the company on the matter,’’ he said.
Adams noted that shareholders’ fears stemmed from the fact that if in deed Ibori had substantial equity in the company, the British Government might clamp down on Oando.
Also commenting, the Managing Partner, Max-Connect Energy Digest Limited, Mr Anthony Davies, said that Oando ought to have informed or published its business transactions with James Ibori before his prosecution by the British government.
He urged Oando’s management to send their legal representative to the British court where Ibori’s trial is taking place to clear the air on the allegation.
“It is natural for people to react to such news as they had done, but the decision by some investors to sell off their shareholdings in the company was hasty. This does not mean that shareholders are right. Even if Ibori had substantial holdings and the British government takes over, it would just be a change of ownership. It does not affect the company,” he argued.
Davies urged investors not to be hasty in selling of their shares, but to tarry a while longer to get more information on the issue before deciding whether to sell their shares or not.
However, a spokesperson for Oando Plc, Mrs Alero Balogun, attributed the decline in Oando’s share price to market forces.
She explained that Oando is a publicly traded company listed on the Nigerian and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges, and as such, cannot control the trading in its securities on the floor of the respective Exchanges.
“We want to assure our shareholders that the share price will rise again due to the on-going projects that the company had embarked upon. The current situation is just for a while. When the issues are finally addressed, it will boost the shares of the company more,’’ she said.
Balogun also said that based on the company’s current shareholding register, Ibori’s shareholding stood at 443 shares out of a total issued and paid up share capital of N6.8 billion ordinary shares, adding that such is clearly insignificant, and cannot be considered as “a large part of Oando.”
According to the website of First Registrars Nigeria Limited, registrar to Oando Plc, the company had a total of 572,300,897 ordinary shares issued and fully paid for, of which the top 20 shareholders owned 35.73 percent amounting to 204,496,262 shares, as at 2004.
Some of the major shareholders include; Ocean and Oil Investments Limited, (24.69 percent); Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, (3.34 percent);BarauDahiruMangal, (0.90 percent); EDC Securities Limited, (0.88 percent);OjoraAdekunle, (0.70 percent);Billahi Nigeria Limited, (0.54 percent); Williams Street Trustee Limited, (0.51 percent).
Information from Vanguard was used in this report.