S/Africa opens new stock exchange, seeks coys from Nigeria, others

South Africa’s newest stock exchange opens Thursday, pledging to lure firms from across the continent with listing costs that are a third less than charges by its competitor in Johannesburg.

TWK Agri Pty. will be the first company to trade on the Cape Town Stock Exchange, which was previously called 4 Africa Exchange Pty. before an overhaul that resulted in it becoming a full-fledged bourse, according to Chief Executive Officer Eugene Booysen. BKV Holdings will list a few weeks later.

The newcomer would like to become the Nasdaq of Africa, able to attract companies looking to raise capital in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and others, Booysen said.

While a wave of initial public offerings has swept across the world, firms in Africa’s most-industrialized economy — especially smaller companies — have been de-listing from the main exchange in recent years due to costs and onerous compliance issues. Cape Town’s bourse and other rivals such as A2X and ZarX have been using technology to cut listing charges in a bid to lure business.

“We reduce the cost, risk, time and complexity for companies looking to list,” said Booysen. “This, and owning our technology, enables us to target small and medium firms” valued at up to 2 billion rand ($132 million), he said.

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