THE announcement that more than 15 million government’s shares in ZCCM Investment Holding (IH) were offered to National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) through the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE) has reignited public interest.
The public interest in last week’s announcement is justifiable considering that almost 28 million more shares are yet to be offloaded on the same bourse for the local individuals and companies to buy.
This move marked the beginning of government’s process of reducing its shareholding in ZCCM IH by selling down 27.5 per cent of its shares in the company, to empower Zambians and Zambian firms economically.
According to the 2015 national budget, the Government will sell 27.5 per cent out of its 87.5 per cent shares in ZCCM-IH to the Zambian citizens as a way of entrenching economic independence.
Following last week’s announcement I have been inundated with queries on how citizens can buy some of these shares.
To ensure clarity I want to restate that in my writing I represent neither the LuSE nor the ZCCM IH and that I obtain the information through independent research.
That said, I would like to revisit an article which we featured on November 26 2014.
In that article I said the government will offload more than 44 million of its shares in the ZCCM IH to the members of the public through the LuSE.
Following the first article on the matter, readers had been writing and calling in to find out more.
For instance, Mr John Misumbi had written from the Copperbelt Province on October 29 2014 saying:
How does someone like me purchase or acquire shares in listed company like ZCCM-HI or any other company?
Just this week, Mr Emmanuel Kasonde e-mailed from Copperbelt saying:
“I would like to find out where I can find the broker who can give me details regarding the sale of shares at ZCCM HI. I am staying in Luanshya.”
Others have, equally, called to inquire more about the issue.
To respond to those readers and other followers, I had decided to come up with the article on the matter for some more information.
To start with, LuSE listing regulations stipulate that no single shareholder should control more than 75 per cent of the equity in any company.
This is to ensure that more of the citizens take part in the capital markets in the country.
So, Finance minister Alexander Chikwanda had last year directed the Securities and Exchange
Commission to ensure that all listed companies comply with that requirement.
On its part, the Government resolved to reduce its shareholding in ZCCM IH to 60 per cent from the current 87.5 per cent.
Hence the 27.5- per cent shares which are now being sold to Zambians!
That decision followed a debt settlement agreement between the government and ZCCM-IH signed on March 25 2014 in which ZCCM-IH’s net indebtedness of K1,829,298,173.06 to the government was converted into equity.
This satisfied the issuance and subscription for the 87.5 per cent of the new rights offer shares by the government.
To adeptly handle the questions I had been receiving from the readers, I sought the expertise of the LuSE and Stockbroker Zambia (SBZ) on the matter.
My research findings from the two entities showed that ZCCM-HI’s total shares were about 160.8 million and the 27.5 per cent which the government intended to offload to the public through LuSE translated into 44, 252,238 shares SBZ indicated then that members of the public who were willing and able to purchase ZCCM-IH shares, even before the floatation of the additional 27.5 per cent, were at liberty to approach the nearest broker on how to purchase the shares.
Apart from the then pending 27.5 per cent shares which would be floated by the government at that time ZCCM-IH had a LuSE free-float of 12.5 per cent.
The 12.5 per cent shares followed the raising of fresh capital on the 12.5 per cent portion of the rights offer, for shares owned by the minority shareholders, which was underwritten by NAPSA on a claw-back basis.
According to SBZ, the citizens could participate by visiting any of the LuSE brokers to open up a brokerage account and purchase the shares.
The broker will advise on any further requirements but it suffices to state that all Zambian citizens are most likely to be given first priority.
This is just indicative and not set in stone. ZCCM-IH is still going through its internal processes to finalise how best they can offer these 27 per cent shares to investors,
SBZ had stated in a response to my query.
Another critical question was that of the minimum amount which one could require to participate in this and any other share acquisition.
To open a brokerage account one requires a minimum amount of K256, which means that the initial investment is likely not to go below that amount.
According to LuSE tranche one of the Government’s sell-down of 15,850,631 shares out of its total 43,811,868 ‘B’ shares in ZCCM-IH transacted in one trade.
It resulted in a turnover of K570,622,716 and a simple calculation shows that each share cost K36.
That leaves almost 28 million shares which can be bought by Zambians.