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Business News Mon, 18 Nov 2002

Eleven State Enterprises to be Sold Off

...Coca-Cola for sale...
The Minister of Finance, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo says eleven state-owned enterprises would soon be listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) for divestiture.

Speaking at the first ECOWAS cross-border listing of the Trust Bank Limited of Gambia on the GSE last Friday, he said divestiture through the Stock Exchange ensures transparent transactions and efficient pricing of the shares on offer as well as attracts foreign investor participation.

Mr. Osafo-Maafo called on the GSE to work to achieve investor confidence so that more of such listings would be achieved in the coming years. He said government intends to boost the "capital markets by promoting and supporting reforms that will open the market, increase intermediation and engender long term savings which can be channeled into significant economic growth."

He said corporate laws in the constitution would constantly be reviewed to avoid any investment impediments. As part of these measures four Bills are currently before the Attorney General's Department, he said.

He said government is working around the clock to bring interest rates and inflation down to make the stock market more attractive.

Shares of TBL in a symbolic trading opened at ?4,300 and appreciated to ?4,400.

It is the 24th and the first foreign company to be listed on the GSE. The shares are being listed by introduction to the GSE rather than through an Initial Public Offer.

It is the second largest bank in the Gambia.The Chairman of Databank Brokerage, sponsors of the listing, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta said it is expected to increase the capital market of the country for privatisation and "we shall do more given the chance."

He said TBL's market capitalisation of ?123bn makes it the eighth largest company on the GSE with 30m shares being introduced. He called on the public sector to partner the private sector "so we can together fight poverty and create wealth".

The Secretary of State for Works and Infrastructure of Gambia, Mr. Edward Singhateh, the Head of Banking Supervision of the Central Bank of the Gambia, Mrs. Sallah and the Managing Director of TBL, Mr. Pa Njie as well as the Board of TBL were present.

Others were the Managing Director of the GSE, Mr. Francis Tweneboah, Minister of Economic Planning and Regional Integration, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom and the Attorney General and Nana Akufo-Addo.

Coca-Cola for sale

Coca-Cola Bottling Company Ghana is to be listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), as government prepares to sell its 25% equity stake in the company.

The Finance Minister, Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, told the paper last week that the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) is already working on the preliminary modalities that will lead to an Initial Public Offer (IPO) during which Ghanaians and possibly foreign investors would buy shares.

According to the paper, a time frame for the IPO has not been confirmed but government aims to fast track the entire divestiture programme in view of the budget gap it needs to fill.

Apart from Coca-Cola, government also plans to divest 10 other companies through the GSE, whose names have not yet been revealed by the Minister.

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Source: Accra Mail
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