Theo Rabe, the chief executive of NWK, at the offices of 4AX, announcing their first issuers listings in Bryanston. Nine more companies are in the pipeline to list on the alternative 4AX exchange. Photo: Nhlanhla Phillips/ANA
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s newest stock exchange, 4 Africa Exchange (4AX), is eyeing nine more companies after announcing its first two issuers listings on the exchange in Johannesburg yesterday.

Agribusiness NWK’s NWK Limited and NWK Holdings Limited were the first two companies to list on the exchange. NWK chief executive Theo Rabe said the company was very excited to be the first to list on 4AX, saying they hoped to “unlock” much-needed value for their shareholders as “that would mean a lot to them”.

The leading agribusiness, which provides agricultural services and inputs and has operations across South Africa as well as in Botswana, Zambia and The Netherlands, posted an after-tax profit of R52million for the year ended April 30.

NWK chairperson Heinrich Krüger said: “These listings are an important milestone for both NWK companies - as they demonstrate the national trend towards diversification for growth in the agriculture sector.” “Although this is a new concept for us and a new way of expanding our business, we are very excited by the opportunities these listings create to gain exposure for the NWK companies into new markets - and continue to grow the value of NWK shares for our existing and potential investors.”

NWK used to trade shares in the over-the-counter market under the Security Services Act, but amendments in the Financial Markets Act compelled its companies to move to the formal exchange market. “This move was a big leap for our business, where we considered all options available in the local market, and we believe that the 4AX exchange model and offering is the right fit for our business. As an alternative exchange, the 4AX model meets the specific needs of our business and the distinctive business structures of the agribusiness sector in South Africa - while also putting our investors and prospective investors at ease, because the exchange is well-regulated and fully transparent,” said Krüger.

4AX chief executive Fay Mukaddam, who described the two listings as a “significant milestone” in the journey which started with the founding of the exchange in 2014, said they were delighted to have secured the listings. She said with the launch of these first two issuers, “we are exceptionally proud to formally open our exchange for trading”.

Mukaddam revealed that nine more companies were in the pipeline as the exchange set its sights on being a “preferred alternative” in the capital markets. 4AX would continue to focus on bringing African responses to African solutions, “as we aim to become a preferred alternative exchange for Africa’s best companies, leaders and innovators”.

The nine companies were across various sectors, including tourism and hospitality and renewable energy, among others. On its website 4AX said it sought to attract equity listings from qualifying issuers with an initial focus on companies with a market capitalisation of up to R8billion.