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Africa’s Richest Man Initiates Nigeria’s First Share Buyback

The company will repurchase as much as 10% of the issued capital starting with a first tranche of 85.2 million shares of 50 kobo each, or 0.5% of the total in issue, it said in a filing to the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Monday.

The purchase will be done in the open market on Dec. 30 and ends the following day or when the entire target number of shares are repurchased, whichever is earlier, it said.

Africa’s biggest cement producer obtained the approval of shareholders in January to repurchase some of its shares within a year or at an amended time frame for the purpose of increasing the long term value of the stock.

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It is Nigeria’s first company to undertake the exercise as previous attempts failed due to suspicion by regulators and investors that the process may be abused. The cement maker had cash and cash equivalent of 176.7 billion naira ($449.9 million) on its books as of September, its third quarter financial statement shows.

The buyback “reflects that the management believes in the valuation and prospects of the company,” Abiodun Keripe, head of research at Lagos-based Afrinvest West Africa, said by phone. “Other companies can follow suit, especially for some of those that have a high number of liquid shares outstanding and have been unable to command a very decent valuation,” he said.

The securities being bought back will be held as treasury shares and may be canceled subsequently, the company said. Dangote shares rose by 10% to 230.40 naira at close of trading in Lagos, its biggest advance in five months, on the news of the buyback.

A buyback “should portend something positive for investors as the price begins to climb higher,” Keripe said. “The downside is that it will further create scarcity of the stock in the market.”

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Written by PH

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