The Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) has fined Honeywell Flour Mills and 16 others N93.92 million for failure to file their financial statements after the regulatory due date in 2022.
Investigation by NATIONAL ECONOMY showed that the companies were sanctioned during the current financial year 2022 for their inability to meet the regulatory requirements ranging between third quarter (Q3) 2021 and Q3 of 2022.
Further checks revealed that Honeywell Flour Mills was fined N1.2 million for untimely filling of Q3, 2021 financial results. For audited financial statement, Notore Chemical Industries, Union Bank of Nigeria, Japaul Gold & Ventures, Presco, Veritas Kapital Assurance, LASACO Assurance, FBN Holdings, Ardova Plc, C&I Leasing Plc, Coronation Insurance, Mutual Benefits Assurance and Royal Exchange were fined N90,000; N1.2 million; N2.8 million; N3.6 million; N4.9 million; N4.8 million; N5.3 million; N5.5 million; N9.7 million; N11.6 million; N9 million; N4.4 million; and N6.3 million respectively.
PZ Cussons Nigeria got N4.8 million fine for 2022 audited financials and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) was penalised with N3.2 million fine for Q3 20221 results.
The Exchange in its X-Compliance report explained that the initiative was designed to maintain market integrity and protect the investors by providing compliance-related information on all listed companies.
The report stated that “companies that are listed on the Exchange are required to adhere to high disclosure standards which are prescribed in Appendix 111 of the Listing Rules.
“Financial information which is periodic disclosure and on-going material events disclosure should be released to The Exchange in a timely manner to enable it efficiently perform its function of maintaining an orderly market.”
NGX Regulation Limited (NGX REGCO) applied sanctions in accordance with the Rules for Filing of Accounts and Treatment of Default Filing, Rulebook of NGX (issuers’ rules)
Market operators agreed that the sanctions were warranted, saying that such sanctions would compel more quoted entities to disclose their information to the market on a timely basis.
The managing director of Crane Securities Limited, Mr Mike Eze, said that the action of NGX would also boost investor confidence in the market because it is sending a clear message on the need for investors to get companies’ financial reports as at when due.
He added that investors always need to make informed decisions about which stocks to buy and that they can only be able to do that if companies release their regulatory filings on time.
The founder of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sunny Nwosu, also agreed that the companies deserved to be sanctioned.
Nwosu noted that the affected companies ought to have filed their earnings reports on time to help shareholders to understand their financial health for investment decisions.
“It is not a new thing and it does not come to us as a surprise. We have constantly written to the exchange and raised the issue at annual general meetings that there is a need to know the status of these companies to enable us to take investment position,” he noted.
The President of Progressive Shareholders Association, Mr Boniface Okezie, said that penalising companies for non-compliance with the rules of listing on NGX was a welcome development, as it will lead to more appropriate pricing of securities. He said more entities would be compelled to give information to the market on a timely basis, adding that investor confidence in the regulatory capacity of NGX and the market would be enhanced.
A founding member of Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity Association and one of the leading shareholder activists, Alhaji Gbadebo Olatokunbo said, “We must always abide by the rules, sanctions would make the companies sit up and post their results as and when due, thereby providing investors, analysts and stockbrokers the platform to predict the real value of the companies.”