Investors in Oil Search and Santos query mine shares

 INVESTORS are questioning why their shares in Oil Search are smaller after it merged with Santos, according to the Papua New Guinea Stock Exchange (PNGX).

PNGX chairman David Lawrence told The National, when commenting on various mergers, that Santos listing on PNGX had significantly increased the market’s capitalisation however trade volumes were still low because some investors did not know about the company.

PNGX chairman David Lawrence

“Based upon the enquiries we are receiving, a number of investors do not understand what happened to their Oil Search shares, why they have a smaller number of shares than they had before as a result of the merger, and who Santos is,” he said.

“As a consequence, the increased market capitalisation has not resulted in an increase in trading volumes as yet. We are confident that volumes in Santos will increase as their profile in the country increases.”

Commenting on Telstra’s proposed acquisition of Digicel PNG Ltd, Lawrence said PNGX markets supported the view that PNG institutions and investors should have the opportunity to invest in this critical sector of national infrastructure.

“Given the dominant market position which Digicel Pacific holds, and Telstra would hold, in PNG it would be ideal for Telstra to supplement its ASX (Australia Securities Exchange) listing by also listing on PNGX Markets.

“This would give Papua New Guineans the opportunity to easily invest in their country’s telecommunications sector.

“While there is a focus on Santos and Telstra, there are other companies which have significant activities in PNG and which are listed on other exchanges in the region which should also consider listing in PNG to give easy access to investment by PNG investors.”

Meanwhile, Lawrence added that there was talk of a partial privatisation of Telikom and other state owned enterprises.

“While there are reports of the superannuation funds considering investment, retail investors and the public market could play an important role in any privatisation process.”

The National / Pacific Mining Watch 

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