No sign of firms worth around Rs 1 billion

Kathmandu, June 6:

The whereabout of more than three dozen companies worth around Rs 1 billion is unknown to their shareholders.

“38 companies — including once very popular and highly valued Necon Air that had its shares traded at Rs 700 per unit then — have been delisted from the Nepse,” according to Nepse. The total amount of delisted shares worth around Rs 963.2 million. But the shareholders find themselves at the deadend once the company is delisted. There is no authority that looks after the interest of the shareholders. Who will pay back their money and how will it be paid, nobody knows.

Securities Board of Nepal (Sebon), the regulatory authority of capital market, had earlier started the search for these companies and their promoters. “We are trying to locate the companies and their promoters of such companies,” said Dr Chiranjivi Nepal, chairman of Sebon. Some promoters have now become the promoters of other companies.

Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) has started Over-the-Counter trading from Wednesday to give a chance to the shareholders to sell or buy the shares of these companies. “However, who is going to buy the shares of such companies that have no existence,” asked one investor. “Except Nepal Bank Ltd (NBL), nobody knows whereabouts of these companies,” he added.

Nepse had delisted Nepal Bank Ltd’s 3802846-unit of shares with face value Rs 100 per unit. But Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank, has citing ongoing Economic Sector Reform Programme, has requested Nepse not to start its trading at present.

From a company that has Rs 10 per unit face value like Nepal Metal Co to companies with their per unit share value Rs 100 like Necon Air, Bansbari Leather Factory and Nepal Med Ltd, a total of more than three dozen are nowhere in sight.

The shareholders have no idea where have al these companies and their promoters gone. Most of the delisted companies, except Nepal bank Ltd, have already been closed.

According to the Stock Exchange Regulation-2002 the companies, which do not respond within 15 days of the decision of delisting to the Nepse are automatically delisted. For the first time Nepse delisted 26 companies on July 16, 2002 and for the second time on March 6, 2007, it delisted 12 companies.

After the Sebon’s approval the OTC Market Regulation has come into effect but will it be operational is a million dollar question.

One does not have to go to brokers to trade in OTC market. The buyer and seller can directly go to Nepse and trade paying the commission that is two per cent upto Rs 25,000 transaction, from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000, it is 1.5 per cent and Rs 50,000 over transaction will attract one per cent.