At the close of transactions yesterday, Airtel Africa Plc shares, which opened at N363 shed N39.30 or 10 per cent to close at N359.40 per share.
However, this is in sharp contrast to the experience of the telco’s major competitor, MTN Nigeria Plc, whose shares gained 10 per cent or N9.00 to close at N99 per share on its first trading day after listing on May 16, pushing its worth to over N2 trillion within minutes. Airtel shares also witnessed similar decline on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) after the primary listing, shedding as much as 15 per cent on the first trading day. The telecom firm accounts for about 10 per cent of market capitalisation just behind MTN’s 18 per cent, and Dangote Cement’s 21 per cent, which took the market capitalisation to above N14 trillion. A stockbroker with APT Securities, Muhammed Jamiu Kayode, linked the 10 per cent drop to low demand for the stock, saying: “It is because there is no buyer for the stock, and a lot of analysts have realised that it is too expensive at that price. It is likely that the stock may depreciate again tomorrow; it is highly priced.”
Similarly, the President, Constant Shareholders Association, Shebu Makail said: “The price placed on Airtel share is not favourable presently due to the harsh economic situation in the country. The purchasing power is low due to uncertainties surrounding this administration and their policies.
“The listing is a good development, as it will boost the sector because I believe that some interested investors may want to take position now, but the price offer is definitely too high for retail investors which may affect the movement of the stock.” Meanwhile, the two-day bullish run recorded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), halted Wednesday, with a decline of N30 billion following sell pressures in bellwether stocks. The All Share Index (ASI) fell by 61.42 points or 0.21 per cent to 29,256.60 points. Accordingly, investors lost N30 billion in value as market capitalisation plummeted to N14.258 trillion. The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which were; Airtel Africa, Forte Oil, Conoil, Dangote Cement, and Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO). Analysts argued that the bearish performance in the market may persist in the near term barring any catalyst to spur investors’ appetite to stimulate market recovery.
Market breadth closed negative, with 15 gainers against 17 losers. NPF Micro Finance Bank recorded the highest price gain of 9.71 per cent to close at N1.13 per share. Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) followed with 9.49 per cent to close at N7.50, while Sovereign Trust Insurance rose five per cent to close at 21 kobo, per share. Ikeja Hotel gained 4.90 per cent to close at N1.50, and Courteville Business Solutions 4.76 per cent to close at 22 kobo, per share. On the other hand, Forte Oil led the losers’ chart with 10 per cent to close at N20.70 per share. Airtel Africa followed with 9.99 per cent to close at N357.40, while Conoil shed 9.93 to close at N19.95, per share. Linkage Assurance lost 9.86 per cent to close at 64 kobo, and NAHCO 9.83 per cent to close at N2.66, per share.
Also, total volume traded fell 35.93 per cent to 188.77 million shares, worth N3.72 billion traded in 3,363 deals. Transactions in the shares of Zenith Bank topped the activity chart with 45.13 million shares valued at N866.54 million. Morison Industries followed with 20.95 million shares worth N11.55 million. FBN Holdings traded 19.47 million shares at N119.83 million. Guaranty Trust Bank traded 14.17 million shares valued at N404.46 million, while Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) transacted 11.47 million shares worth N11.72 million.