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Ghana Stock Exchange to Start a New Market for Smaller Companies

Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Ghana Stock Exchange will introduce a separate market with less demanding listing requirements for small- and medium-sized companies to make it easier for them to raise capital.

The market, to be called Ghana Alternative Market, will start by June, Ekow Afedzi, general manager of the exchange, said by phone today.

“It is meant for companies that have potential for growth and start-ups that desire to raise additional capital through the stock exchange,” he said.

Companies considering listing on the alternative market must have minimum capital of 250,000 cedis ($146,600), lower than the 1 million cedis required for the main market, he said. They also must have a minimum of 20 shareholders compared with 100 for the main bourse.

The exchange will set up a revolving fund to pay for the listing expenses of the companies, Managing Director Kofi Yamoah said in an interview yesterday. The exchange has signed a memorandum of understanding with Accra-based Fidelity Capital Partners Ltd. to provide money for the fund while talks are ongoing with Ghana Venture Capital Trust Fund and the African Development Bank, he said.

“Many SMEs in the country want to raise money through the stock exchange but they cannot meet the requirements and preparatory costs,” said Yamoah. “The SME market will assuage their concerns.”

Lower Fees

The SME market will charge lower listing fees and flat membership fees while an “upfront” fee paid to regulators prior to listing will be paid after listing, Afedzi said.

While companies on the main market are required to report earnings quarterly, those listed on the SME market will report their earnings every six months, he said.

“It will be interesting if we are listed to raise capital,” Nana Owusu-Afari, president of the 1,200-member Association of Ghana Industries, the West African nation’s main business group, said by phone today. “Any policy decisions that will help SMEs obtain funds at cheaper cost to do their manufacturing and exports are in the right direction.”

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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