HomeEditorial CommentTough lessons from VFEX listing drought

Tough lessons from VFEX listing drought

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ON Friday, the Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) revealed that it was planning to delist from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) after 50 years.

But BNC is not a private entity.

It wants to list on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX), to take advantage of several incentives announced when the bourse began trading over a year ago.

Given the listing drought on VFEX, a high-profile listing in the stature of BNC should have been good news for those promoting the fairly new exchange.

Only two firms — Seed Co and Padenga — have so far listed on VFEX.

Both of them are former ZSE counters that have given VFEX the benefit of doubt.

With relaxed conditions and lavish incentives extended to VFEX-listed firms, the listing drought exposes how its founding circumstances have kept investors on the fence.

Talk about launching VFEX gained traction after Zanu PF chefs forced Old Mutual, PPC and Seed Co International to delist from the ZSE in 2020, accusing them of amplifying the decimation of Zimbabwe’s free-falling currency.

They were then directed to list on VFEX.

Only Seed Co accepted the offer.

Messing up with firms of influence like Old Mutual and PPC sends wrong signals to the investing community, and, in this case, those who would want to list on VFEX.

VFEX has paid dearly for the controversies that surrounded its founding.

This is why recent interest has revolved around ZSE-listed firms that already know how to navigate the tricky terrain.

Non-listed potential candidates have continued to shy away from the bourse.

Apart from attracting Caledonia Mining Corporation, not much ground has been covered in terms of enticing completely new firms.

They have either been discouraged by lack of investor interest on the VFEX, seen through trades in Padenga and Seed Co, or are still scared of the drastic measures taken against the blue-chips which were chased away from the ZSE.

Authorities must move to give firm assurances that they have reformed, that is if they have, and that they will not damage companies’ brands again by dragging them into the mud under frivolous circumstances.

The Zanu PF regime has failed to understand that the investment terrain is sensitive.

Firms lose big time once their brands are hauled over the coals.

And it takes many years for them to recover.

For this reason, Zimbabwean firms that considered a VFEX listing have stepped aside, waiting to see if the regime will not revert to its old ways.

Developments on VFEX must be taken seriously.

They must save as a wake-up call to Zanu PF that chefs may score cheap political points by pursuing megaphone diplomacy, but the economic consequences will be dire.

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