Nigeria News

Nigerian court lifts SEC ban on Oando's shareholder meeting

ABUJA, Feb 24 (Reuters) - A Nigerian court has ordered Oando to call an annual meeting within 90 days, paving the way for the energy company to audit its accounts after the country’s securities regulator suspended the shareholder gathering in June 2019, court papers showed.

The court granted the request following a case filed by one shareholder, according to a court document seen by Reuters on Wednesday, in the wake of a long running battle between the Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Oando.

Oando shares on Wednesday rose the maximum 10% allowed on the Nigerian stock market to a one-month high of 3.41 naira, having fallen from a peak of 127 naira per share in 2008.

The company, which has a dual listing in Johannesburg , acquired ConocoPhillips’ Nigerian asset in 2014 to transform itself from a petrol retailer to an oil producer competing with multinationals such as Shell and ExxonMobil.

Its growth had been financed largely by debt.

The SEC on Wednesday said in a statement it was not served with the court papers and that it will take all necessary steps to verify and set aside the court decision.

The regulator suspended Oando’s annual meeting 20 months ago after it set up an interim management team and ordered Oando’s chief executive, Wale Tinubu and others to resign following an investigation into financial infractions.

Tinubu has dismissed SEC charges as unsubstantiated and obtained a court order blocking the regulator from replacing him as chief executive and taking other action against the oil company, pending further hearings on the case.

The court order paves the way for the energy company to enter into transactions requiring shareholder approvals and also to appoint accountants to audit its financial statements pending since 2019. (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha and Libby George in Lagos Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)