Photo caption: From left, Basil Omiyi, Chairman, Seplat Energy; Suneel Bakhshi, Chairman, LSEG’s Africa Advisory Group; Dr. Orjiako, Pioneer and Immediate past chairman, Seplat Energy Plc; Julia Hoggett, Chief Executive Officer, London Stock Exchange (LSE) Plc; and Roger Brown, CEO, Seplat Energy, during the opening bell-ringing ceremony organized by the LSE in honour of Dr. Orjiako for his many achievements at Seplat in London, June 8, 2022.
The London Stock Exchange (LSE), on Wednesday, June 8, hosted Dr Ambrosia Orjiako, the pioneer chairman of Seplat Energy Plc, listed on both the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) and London Stock Exchange, who retired last month after 13 years.
Speaking at the event in London, he appreciated the magnanimity of the LSE (London Stock Exchange) and LSEG’s Africa Advisory Group (LAAG) for the opportunity “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.
Describing himself as the last of the founders of Seplat to exit the company, a situation he said, is a promise kept for Seplat.
Continuing, the outgone chairman said “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, LSE Plc expressed hope that “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 $535m 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, who recently replaced Orjiako appreciated the recognition of the accomplishments of his predecessor, a man he said “has led our company to build and nurture a very rewarding relationship with the Exchange since its listing.
“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 noted the natural respect from all LAAG members for the retired chairman, as seen “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.”