April 11, 2018 / 2:56 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-Nigerian regulator lifts suspension of shares in oil company Oando

(Updates with further comment from Nigeria’s exchange)

By Chijioke Ohuocha

LAGOS, April 11 (Reuters) - Nigeria’s stock exchange lifted a suspension on trading in shares in oil company Oando on Wednesday, following a directive from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the stock exchange said.

Trading on Oando shares had been frozen for six months on the Lagos stock exchange. The regulatory agency ordered the suspension to investigate alleged insider trading and the oil company’s shareholding structure.

The shares resumed trading at 6.30 naira, after last closing at 5.99 naira six months ago.

The stock exchange notified Oando of the lifting by letter. It did not provide any reason.

However, the exchange re-instated the suspension on the shares before close of trading on Wednesday following a counter directive from the SEC, it said in a statement.

It later then said it had resolved the suspension issue in the interest of investors and that trading on Oando would resume on Thursday.

“Following consultation with the commission ... trading in Oando’s shares will resume without any impediment in price movement,” the exchange said.

In October, SEC said it received two petitions about financial mismanagement by Oando that alleged that transactions were not conducted at arm’s length and that there were discrepancies in its ownership structure.

The SEC has said a team of auditors, lawyers, stockbrokers and share registrars would conduct a forensic audit of Oando to ensure independence. Accountancy firm Deloitte has been appointed to handle the audit.

In January, the company said it has settled a dispute with a key shareholder and was working on resolving remaining shareholder disputes and getting a suspension of its shares lifted. (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg, Larry King)

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