The London Stock Exchange (LSE) on Wednesday June 8th celebrated the many achievements of Dr ABC Orjiako, the pioneer chairman of Seplat Energy Plc, Nigeria’s leading energy company.
Seplat Energy Plc which is listed on both the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) and London Stock Exchange is driving the country’s energy transition towards cleaner, more reliable energy. Orjiako retired last month after 13 years as the Board Chairman of Seplat Energy Plc.
Orjiako in his reaction at the event in London, said: “It is the magnanimity of the LSE (London Stock Exchange) and LSEG’s Africa Advisory Group (LAAG) that made it possible for us to be here today. It is not an easy thing to ring the opening bell of the LSE; and for me to use this to mark my exit as the chairman of Seplat brings very old memories to me starting from 2014 when we first rang the bell to list our security in this market.”
“One of the things that gladdens my heart is the fact that everything on the board turned green as we rang the bell; this is very important for us in Seplat. Colour green not only signifies good performance in the market but remains a very important symbol in Seplat. It symbolises life, it symbolises what this company represents particularly sustainability and business,” Orjiako said.
The pioneer chairman of Seplat further said: “I want to thank you for this great opportunity. I am the last of the founders of Seplat to leave. For Seplat, it is a promise kept. It is a very strong and apt statement to say that Seplat believes in enduring strong and robust corporate governance practices. We made up our minds from the beginning that this company will fly and grow if we maintain very good corporate governance. So, when we started, we made a promise that the chairmanship of this company would be handed to an independent non-executive chairman”.
Julia Hogget, chief executive officer, London Stock Exchange Plc said, “I have had the opportunity occasionally to meet members in person, but this is really the first opportunity. Not all of us, but a lot of us have managed to come for this important occasion and to acknowledge the many achievements that you (ABC Orjiako) have had in your career.”
Speaking further at the event, she said: “I know this isn’t the end. We need to make sure that this doesn’t feel like an Eulogy but a transitioning from one remarkable stage in life to the next. And we are also thoroughly delighted that we get to keep you with LAAG, because it has been such an important part. Your contributions are such an important part. It is fair to say that there have been many African successes in London since the outset of the advisory group. But Seplat Energy for me, when I was working through this with the team, actually feels like an exemplar of so much of what LAAG is about, but also what we are seeking to achieve for the future as well. And the trailblazing that you have done as chairman, I think is an illustration of that.”
“Seplat Energy was also the first Nigerian company to list ordinary shares simultaneously on the London Stock Exchange and the NGX and $535million was successfully raised during that initial public offering (IPO), which was both oversubscribed and the largest IPO in subject,” Hogget noted.
“It says a lot about the people at the London Stock Exchange that one of the things that they wanted me to make sure I equally reference, apart from the IPO, was the financial innovation that took place following the listing in terms of the cross border settlement mechanism. It is a really an important point. It is also that innovation that enabled the seamless transverse shares between the UK and Nigerian share registers. This mechanism has paved the way for other issuers to use the “Seplat Model” to dual list in London and the UK.
Innovations paved the way for massive effect and I think that is part of the history of the organization as well. So Seplat, apart from being an energy company, has become a financial platform for investors following the IPO. All these with you at the helm, made Seplat the first”.
Also speaking at the event, Basil Omiyi, Chairman, Seplat Energy Plc said: “I am delighted to speak on behalf of the Board and management of Seplat Energy on this special occasion organized by the LSE and LAAG in honour of Dr ABC Orjiako, the Pioneer Chairman of Seplat Energy in recognition of his accomplishments with the Exchange and to mark his retirement from the board of Seplat Energy.”
“We appreciate the kind gesture by the Exchange and London Stock Exchange Africa Advisory Group (LAAG) to honour him. Our Pioneer Chairman, Dr. ABC Orjiako, who is very well known to you, has led our company to build and nurture a very rewarding relationship with the Exchange since its listing” Omiyi noted.
“We are happy to be seen as an example for others to follow and thank the Exchange for the role it has played in enabling Seplat become the Nigerian Champion it has grown to be,” he added.
Also speaking, Suneel Bakhshi, chairman of LSEG’s Africa Advisory Group said: “It is a pleasure to say there is a natural respect from all LAAG members for ABC. I have seen that over the years, when we had some meetings in London, Nairobi, Abuja and hopefully many more to come. I feel that ABC symbolises the spirit of LAAG in so many ways and obviously your confidence with what you achieved in Seplat supports that. You are the reason far beyond the successes of Seplat. We look forward to many more years ABC.”