Nigeria’s stock market outperforms most others 

Nigeria

Published on Friday, 20 May 2022 Back to articles

Nigeria Stock Exchange logo

So far this year the Lagos-based Nigerian Stock Exchange has bucked a worldwide trend by surging amid a broad global selloff. By the end of May the All-Share Index was up by just over 25% since this the beginning of the year.

Within that impressive result are some exceptional individual company performances. 

Guinness Nigeria Plc, with a stock price at ₦98, has made a one-year return of more than 248%. Over a 52-week period, its price moved from ₦28.5 to as much as ₦110. In the same sector, Heineken’s Nigerian Breweries subsidiary returned 45%, most of it after a recent surge that followed improved annual results.

Presco Plc and Okomu Oil Plc, both of which process and export palm oil, have gained from the global commodities boom caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Presco has made a 163% return over the past year, while Okomu has gained 163%.

Great performances have also come from the telecoms industry, dominated by MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa. Since completing a share sale early this year, MTN has realised a one-year return on investment of 71% as its share price went from ₦160 to a peak of ₦264. Airtel Africa followed with growth of 54%.

Other outstanding performances were as follows: foam maker Vitafoam returned 190% on investment in one year; Learn Africa which was formally known as Longman grew by 271%; and Seplat Energy gained 121%; 

While Nigerian investors are willing to reward companies that are doing well, investment options have been limited, with low returns still dominating the money market and fixed income assets. This has has pushed those who are keen to stay ahead of accelerating inflation to seek out options in the stock market.

Equity valuations have also remained cheap since foreign investors fled the market before the 2019 election. Government policies deemed unfriendly to the market kept portfolio investors from returning after President Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected, and the stock exchange missed out on the traditional post-election bounce. 

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 further dampened activity. 

As the pandemic wore off, however, many bargain hunters are making a quiet return to the market. Even portfolio investors who were unable to repatriate their profits due to the shortage of foreign exchange in the past two years chose to seize opportunities presented by the stock market, according to stockbrokers speaking to Nigeria Focus.

The trend seems all the more contrarian given that it is now less than a year before the 2023 general election, which is a time when investors who are wary of political risk usually start pulling out of the market. Some stock analysts therefore expect a big selloff later in the year. 

Others think the market is already pricing in political risk in the expectation that Buhari’s conservative regime is about to end and a more competent and reform-minded administration will take its place.

This excerpt is taken from Nigeria Focus, our monthly intelligence report on Nigeria. Click here to receive a free sample copy.

The May 2022 issues of Nigeria Focus also includes the following:

Spotlight

  • The long race: Top contenders for presidential nomination

Energy

  • TotalEnergies to quit onshore fields
  • Morocco joins pipeline race
  • Power tariff increase approved

Politics & Society

  • The crowded APC race
  • PDP weighs its options
  • Biafran separatism turns ugly
  • Lynching in the north
  • Military worries about moles

Profile

  • CBN governor Godwin Emefiele

Economy

  • Ukraine war tells on prices
  • The state of the trade deficit
  • JP Morgan strikes Nigeria off
  • Stock market outperforms

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