The Ghana Alternative Market or GAX is a distinct stock market administered by the Ghana Stock Exchange to accommodate small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The purpose of the GAX is to make it easier for business owners to access the capital, funding, and liquidity that they need to develop and expand their enterprises. This markets endeavours to cater to small businesses with high potential for growth.
The main GSE exchange has long struggled to attract smaller businesses. Thus the establishment of the GAX was based on four foundational principles, each intended to accommodate SMEs:
The company should be a public limited liability company incorporated under the Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179).
The company's management should have expertise in the field of operation.
The GAX Committee will consider the character and integrity of the company’s management when assessing an application for listing.
At least fifty percent of the board of directors should be composed of non-executive directors and at least one director, or approximately twenty-five per cent of the total, should be independent.
All directors must attend an induction programme as determined by the GAX Governing Committee.
The firm must have a minimum stated capital of GHC250,000 prior to listing. The minimum stated capital for rural banks shall be determined according to the Bank of Ghana requirements.
Each listed company should have a minimum of twenty (20) public shareholders. The public float must represent a minimum of twenty-five percent (25%) of the total shares issued.
The company must have been in operation for at least one year and must have published or filed accounts in accordance with the Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179) for at least one financial year.
Start up companies that wish to list must submit to the GAX three year business plan in order to establish their viability for listing. The company may thereby be granted admission.
The company need not have recorded profits previously but must have the potential to render profit at least by the end of its third year of listing.
The securities to be listed must be freely transferable and subject only to the restrictions imposed by the laws of Ghana.
All issues shares shall be in electronic book entry form and kept with the GSE Securities Depository. Companies may not issue paper certificates.
Applications for listing on the GAX shall be sponsored by licensed dealing members, investment advisors, or issuing houses. The sponsor will, either directly or indirectly, underwrite the minimum offer which the issuer intends to raise through the initial public offer.
The applicant should appoint a corporate advisor to guide the company directors in fulfilling their listing obligations; provide any necessary information to the GAX committee; and liaise with the GAX Committee on the company’s behalf. The corporate advisor may be a company or an individual.
The listing and application fees have been waived for the GAX.
GAX listed companies must pay an annual fee of GHC 2000.
Any listed company is required to provide information as requested by the GAX Committee and comply with all listing obligations. The on-going information required includes bi-quarterly financial information and the disclosure of any relevant information to potential investors to assist the decision whether or not to invest in the company’s shares.
A company may enter the alternative market in one of the following ways:
When a company already has the minimum required number of shareholders (twenty) and does not need to raise capital before listing, the company may proceed directly to making an introduction onto the market. The company will be required to provide a pre-listing statement containing the relevant company information.
A public offer may be an offer for subscription or an offer for sale.
Subscription: The public is invited to subscribe to unissued shares. The proceeds rendered are received by the company.
Sale: Existing shareholders invite subscribers to purchase their own shares. The proceeds rendered are received by the selling parties.
In order to list with a public offer, the company is required to publish a prospectus. The prospectus must be approved by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and registered with the Registrar of Companies.
The company may offer shares to selected parties through private negotiation.
Once the company has decided to list on the GAX, it must take the following actions in order to apply:
Access to Long Term Capital
Listing on the GAX allows companies to secure the long term capital funds that they need to grow and expand their businesses.
Access to Capital at a Low Cost
The market has been designed to operate at minimal cost to the company. SEC guidelines mandate that the total cost to the company cannot exceed 5% of the total amount to be raised.
Improved Financial Position
In gaining access to sustainable funds and adhering to the listing requirements, the company can expect to be reoriented in a way that will allow for greater efficiency in its operations. Thus the company will enjoy an improvement in its overall financial positioning.
Enhanced Status in the Community
Listing on GAX will raise awareness of the company within its field and within the larger business and investment community. The company will have access to a wider and more profitable network, better resources, and more opportunities for growth.
Realization of Value of Investments
When a company lists on the GAX, the market will determine its value. Therefore the company owners will be able to realize the value of their equity in the business.
Listing on the GAX allows the company to expand its investor base and provide liquidity for shareholders.
There are a number of organizations with programmes and services to assists SMEs on their journey to listing. Visit our partners' profiles to see what services they offer to assist you.