By DALE LUMA
LISTING on the PNG Stock Exchange (PNGX) for the benefit of PNG investors should be a condition for operating in the country, says PNGX chairman David Lawrence.
Lawrence told The National following an announcement by Santos that it had entered into a merger implementation deed with Oil Search PNG Ltd that the companies had not mentioned whether Santos would be listed on the PNGX
“Of immediate impact to PNGX is that the loss of Oil Search will have a significant adverse impact on our ability to further develop the market,” Lawrence said.
“Having a presence in the PNG capital market by listing on PNGX for the benefit of PNG investors should be a condition of operating in the country, given the potential significance of the access some of those companies have to PNG’s natural resources.
“Whether the takeover proceeds or not is a matter for Oil Search shareholders and the Government. The PNGX does not have a role in those decisions.
“Market capitalisation will drop by 30 per cent if Oil Search leaves the PNG market and that would lower the profile of Papua New Guinea among markets internationally.
“This will significantly damage PNG’s already fragile emerging domestic savings and investment market at this time would be a pity, as Papua New Guineans are showing an increasing interest in the stock market and investing.”
Lawrence said there had no mention so far of Santos listing on the PNGX.
“Oil Search has been a major contributor to, and a central part of, the PNG capital market since the inception of the PNG stock exchange,” he said.
“Obviously we would like to see Santos listed on PNGX to replace Oil Search and to provide Papua New Guineans an easy opportunity to invest in their own Oil and Gas sector.”
By DALE LUMA