Shareholders of Oando Plc on Tuesday raised concerns on how the Securities and Exchange Commission’s investigation has impacted negatively on the activities of the company, from reduction in share price to eroding of both local and international investors’ confidence in the company.
The oil firm has lost N26 billion in market capitalisation within six months of the SEC’s investigation into the affairs of the company.The shareholders also flayed the recent public outcry by a group under the aegis of the Oando Shareholders Solidarity Group (OSSG).The Oando shareholders association, made up of members across the country including the Shareholders United Front Association and the National Coordinating Committee of Shareholders Association, also condemned a situation where a particular group has decided to speak on behalf of the entire Oando shareholders.
According to a statement by the firm, “Clement Ebitimi, South-South Coordinator of OSSG had discredited the Company’s recent statement on the SEC’s mishandling of the investigation by stating that he did not believe that the current management of Oando Plc was protecting the interests of shareholders and that all shareholders of the Company are angry, and frustratingly tired of the management.
“Gbenga Idowu of the Shareholders United Front Association also countered Mr. Clement’s statement by saying that another shareholder cannot speak on behalf of all Oando shareholders especially when shareholders that attended the most recent Company AGM showed their support and confidence in the current management through their votes and voices.
“Mrs Oludewa Thorpe a member of the National Coordinating Committee of Shareholders Association said ‘Having worked tirelessly to bring the Company back from a loss position 2 years ago to 4 quarters of profitability, it is evident that the management team is interested in truly turning the Company around.’’
Furthermore, it added; “The nature of the investigation, Oando had said that within six months of the SEC investigation from July, the company lost N26 billion in market capitalisation. The company like some of her shareholders has also complained about continued media leaks, the SEC’s silence in addressing these leaks and the negative impact to the company and its shareholders.
“This concern was further reiterated by Mrs. Bisi Bakare, a shareholder of the Company who at the Company’s 40th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Uyo on September 11, 2017 advised that shareholders resolve their disputes with the Company in private to avoid unnecessary sensationalism which would in turn result in the loss of money for the Company and its shareholders.”
At this company’s yearly general meeting, there were protests by shareholders asking for the management team to step down. Oando had in an official statement indicated that these were not shareholders as they were given the opportunity to enter the venue and raise their concerns with management and vote accordingly however none were able to provide any shareholder identification and so were not allowed entry.An Oando executive on the promise of anonymity noted that the shareholders are sponsored personnel and individuals who are not shareholders of the company.
“It is interesting that these purported shareholders never use the available avenues to bring up and resolve their issues, every instance they have called for management to step down has been in the public domain, to get media attention and damage the brand. Is this what a real shareholder does?’’
Oando in several statements have disparaged the SEC’s handling of the investigation on the grounds of bias and lack of due process; penalties that far outweigh the alleged infractions and that there is no basis for the institution of a forensic audit or technical suspension in the trading of the Company’s shares.
“ If the proposed forensic audit does take place, and the SEC have said it will commence in the New Year, then it is at a cost N160 million and will be borne by the company which in effect means Oando shareholders. At a time when the management team is trying to reduce overheads, pay off debt and maintain profitability. The shareholders have questioned if this is the best use of shareholders’ funds especially when there is no basis for the forensic audit,” it added.