West Africa’s Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres (www.brvm.org) regional stock exchange is still trading in Bamako this week, but next Monday (16 May) the market will reopen trading operations ino Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire’s commercial capital. The market had moved operations and started trading in Mali on 1 March because of the violent crisis in Cote d’Ivoire (see our earlier report).
Senior management were already back in Abidjan and banks and stockbrokers were reopening on Monday (9 May) when AfricanCapitalMarketsNews phoned.
According to a report on Bloomberg, Abdelkader N’Diaye information systems director of the BRVM said trading was picking up as situation improved in Abidjan and banks in the city reopened. Former president Laurent Gbagbo was arrested on 11 April and Alessane Ouattara, recognized internationally as winner of last November’s election, was sworn in on 6 May. Forces supporting him had swept through the country in a swift campaign in early April after waiting months for successful international intervention, including from the African Union.
The BRVM smuggled senior management out of Cote’Ivoire in February after security forces loyal to ex-President Laurent Gbagbo occupied the BRVM on 11 February. In an amazing piece of Business Continuity Planning, the BRVM management had all systems including support systems running within 18 days. In March Bloomberg quoted BRVM head Jean-Paul Gillet saying: “We managed to restart the operations of the bourse after we reconstructed the system and the environment. The volume of transactions has been a bit affected, but the prices haven’t dropped as there has been no haste in selling.”
Most banks in Cote d’Ivoire closed about the same time and their branches were taken over. Without the usual custodians and stockbrokers, trading in Mali saw much lower volumes than in Abidjan.
The BRVM lists 39 securities and acts as the regional exchange for 8 countries as an African innovation when it opened in 1998. Sonatel, based in Senegal and including France Telecom as a shareholder, is the biggest listed company with CFA 1.65 trn in market capitalization. Other listings include 8 banks, including SGBCI (Societe Generale SA) and Ecobank Transnational Inc. Ivorian companies make up 33 of the 39 listings, according to BRVM website, and the BRVM Composite Index peaked at 174.89 on 11 Jan, but was 151.46 at close of trading today (13 May) after edging down all week. Michael Barnes, Head of Sales and Trading for Securities Africa said on Monday that much of the pent-up buying and selling had already gone through.