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UPDATE 2-Nigerian Exchange dips after OTC market debut

(Adds NASD comments, stock exchange)

ABUJA, April 16 (Reuters) - Shares of the Nigerian Exchange Group fell to 22.03 naira on the NASD over-the-counter market on Friday, following its debut earlier this week as long-standing investors sought to create liquidity.

The shares began trading on Wednesday at 25 naira, valuing the company at 47.5 billion naira ($125 million), NASD OTC exchange data showed.

The group had not sought the NASD listing, the exchange said. However, investors can trade their shares before the company’s planned listing on its own exchange, it added.

“NGX was admitted to trading via the security admission route ... at the instance of an investor,” Chinwendu Ekeh, NASD’s head of market operation, told Reuters.

Investors admitted around 1.9 billion shares for trade on the OTC market, the OTC market data showed.

The securities regulator, Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission, confirmed the admission.

Ekeh said NASD would delist the security should the exchange seek its own listing on a different exchange.

Other exchanges in Africa such as those in Johanesburg and Nairobi are listed with their shares publicly tradeable.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange began changing its ownership structure from a mutual company of stockbrokers in 2017, adding new shareholders in a process known as “demutualisation”.

It then re-registered as a profit-making entity, owned by shareholders, called the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, after being a not-for-profit entity.

The exchange, the second biggest in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the main entry points to invest on the continent, has around 200 listed companies, all included in its benchmark share index.

The group - made up of Nigerian Exchange, NGX Regulation and NGX Real Estate - received approval for the listing last month. It has said stockbrokers will hold 78% of the shares and that it will not be raising new cash from the listing.

Nigerian stocks are down 4.2% this year after rising 50% in 2020 as the world’s best performing market.

$1 = 381.00 naira Additional reporting by Camillus Eboh; editing by Jason Neely, Kirsten Donovan