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  Stock exchange DG
ONA, SNI merger ‘audacious operation'
The merger of Morocco's largest conglomerates, ONA and its parent company SNI, is an “audacious operation”, said the Director General of Casablanca's Stock Exchange, Karim Hajji.

“The operation was hailed by the market's investors,” underlined Hajji, pointing out that the volume of transactions between March 29 and April 2 increased to MAD 900 million.

This is significant, he stressed, given the fact that earlier the volume had hovered around MAD 300 million, adding that it is a new start for Casablanca's market.

The market's director general also explained that this operation will solve the problem of liquidity which is resulting from weak floating, as “we estimate that our floating is at about 10%, while that of countries like Egypt is at about 55%.”

Consequently, Hajji continued, it will be possible to introduce derivative products which the stock market has been awaiting for a long time.

He added that it is impossible to introduce these products if the floating is poor and liquidity is weak, otherwise “it will be extremely dangerous.

On March 25, ONA and SNI's management boards decided to merge and delist from the Casablanca stock market, pending the formation of a new investment holding company.

Observers stressed that it is a first in Morocco, giving birth to a new kind of companies and breathing new life into the ailing Casablanca stock market, in which no single company was listed in 2009.

This reorganisation will transform the conglomerates into an investment company that gives larger autonomy to its subsidiaries in the management of their affairs.

The operation will take place in 12 moths and the first subsidiaries to be floated will be Cosumar, Lesieur, Centrale Laitière, Sothema and Bimo.

  By CMC
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