GTBank says listing on London Stock Exchange enhances its operations

By The Citizen

The Group Deputy Managing Director, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Mrs. Cathy Echeozo, has said the bank's listing on the London Stock Exchange is a boost to its operations.

She said this while speaking on the need to increase business relations between both countries during a United Kingdom Nigeria investment partnership forum organised by GTBank in Lagos on Thursday.

'The bank has benefited from its dual listing on both the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges through broadening and deepening of its investor base and source of financing; an example which other Nigerian institutions have since followed,' Echeozo said.

According to her, GTBank is the first Nigerian company to take advantage of the capital market opportunities in the UK market to raise both equity and debt capital to fund its business operations and growth aspirations.

She said Nigerian businesses must take advantage of the increased bilateral trade relationship between and access capital where required, even as the government on its part, continued to counteract some of the misconceptions that discourage investments in Nigeria.

The group deputy managing director said the bank organised the forum to present a platform for discussion on promotion of partnership, trade, investments and improved relations between Nigeria and UK.

While quoting some statistics, Echeozo said export of goods and services to Nigeria was worth about £4bn in 2012.

Nigeria, she added, presented a serious business proposition and continued to be a vital investment destination in Africa.

According to her, various drivers that have sustained the country's high economic growth rate over the past decade include a stable democratic government, government- driven reforms, liberalization of key sectors, a well regulated financial services sector, growth of non-oil sectors and exports, amongst others.

She said Nigeria remained a region of real growth in Africa, adding that Gross Domestic Product growth rate in 2012 was 6.4 per cent and is currently forecasted at 7.5 per cent for 2013.

'We believe this rapid growth rate should put Nigeria in the top 20 fastest-growing economies for 2013,' she said.

The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Mr. Alderman Gifford, said the quality of the governance in Nigeria and the growing confidence of UK-based investors in financing Nigerian equity had increased business between  both countries.

He said the London Stock Exchange Group would like to see more Nigerian companies accessing finance in the UK.

According to him, some key reasons why companies choose some markets such as the LSE are access to investors, expert advisers' network, visibility and profile of standard of corporate governance.

'The markets of the London Stock Exchange are some of the largest in the world. They represent a reliably high quality offer operating the highest standards,' he said.

Gifford urged Nigerian firms to see London as an international finance market, and as their corporate choice for equity role.

The Head, Primary Markets, South Asia, Middle East and Africa, LSt, Mr. Ibukun Adebayo, said it was developing partnership with the Nigerian Stock Exchange and other exchanges across Africa.