Lisbon: Angola plans to open its much-delayed stock market in 2016 and could even bring it forward to 2015 if the bourse was used to privatise state-owned companies, the country’s Capital Markets Commission (CMC) said on Thursday.
A Luanda bourse, a potential entry point for foreigners, has been in the pipeline for more than a decade, but delays — most due to lack of transparency — have frustrated investors looking to tap into one of Africa’s fastest-growing, but most impenetrable economies.
The latest delay came in 2011 when the government said many Angolan companies did not meet the pre-requisites for listing.
Angola is Africa’s No. 2 oil producer after Nigeria and has rebuilt rapidly after the end of a civil war in 2002, but its record on transparency remains among the weakest in the world.
Investors and analysts have questioned whether the Angolan companies that dominate their sectors are in a position to fulfil international standard criteria on ownership disclosure, auditing and reporting of accounts, and corporate governance.
A new CMC board appointed last year has decided to take a gradual approach to opening markets, a CMC spokesman said.
The plan includes opening a secondary bond market in the fourth quarter of this year, helping pave the way for a stock market for which Angola has already identified several eligible private companies, he added.
“Once the technological conditions for the negotiation of debt — treasury and corporate — are created, then in principle so will the conditions for the issuance and trading of shares, in other words, a stock market,” the CMC said in a statement.
“The CMC has identified several private companies in sectors such as banking, telecoms, and retail as being eligible for a stock market,” it said. “Banks, for example, (are ready) as they have been supervised by the central bank for years now.”
A corporate bond market is set to be opened next year, the spokesman said, adding the calendar depended on the government passing a set of rules into law, which is expected to happen in the next few weeks.
The timeline for the establishment of a secondary bond market is also aligned with the government’s plans to issue up to an estimated $2 billion in sovereign Eurobonds this year as it may help attract investors to the primary debt market, the spokesman added.