Mozambique is experiencing 8% a year growth and businesses across all sectors are growing. The Bolsa de Valores de Moçambique is still a very small operation but its CEO, Anabela Chambuca Pinho, is keen to steer it in new directions to ensure it takes advantage of the favourable economic environment and truly gets off the ground. Interview by Sherelle Jacobs.
Can you provide a bit of basic background on the stock exchange?
The Mozambican stock exchange, which started in 1999, was created by the government as an economic policy to improve the country’s financial sector – basically as another way to promote investment and interest in the financial sector.
We currently have 32 securities listed. Of these, four are equities and 24 are bonds. The total market capitalisation is currently $1.1bn.
It has grown quite significantly over the last five years. Between 2008 and 2013 its market capitalisation grew by almost 400%, making up 8% of GDP.
What kind of companies have listed?
A real mixture of companies have taken the decision to come on board the stock exchange. Cervejas de Moçambique, a local brewing company, was the first firm to list. A Mozambican gas company undertook an initial public offering (IPO) in 2008 and this was oversubscribed by local investors.
The leading local construction company, CETA, has also listed. Last year we also listed an insurance company – which had an IPO of 10% of the firm.
We would like to have more social-related companies join the bourse, however. For example, it would be nice to see more movement from firms working in areas like health, education and agriculture. It’s important not to forget that even though coal and natural gas are taking off, agriculture is Mozambique’s main sector.
What are you doing to attract more companies to list on the bourse?
We have a number of strategies to get more listings. One thing that will work in our favour is a recent change in the law. In 2011, the government passed a new Public-Private Partnership (PPP) law that obliges all firms involved in the extractive industries – and in the case of Mozambique, we are really talking about coal and natural gas here – to list on the stock exchange. This is a big deal for us and we expect to have big companies come onto the stock exchange, going forward.
We are also developing a financial education programme aimed at investors and companies. The hope is that through the scheme, investors and companies will become more familiar with the advantages of listing and the processes involved in getting on the bourse – the requirements and so on.
In fact, in the last year we have actually published a book in order to promote financial education. In 2010 we also created a separate exchange for SMEs and we hope to see this grow.
Do you think Mozambique’s companies are culturally ready to list on the stock exchange? Is the right business culture there?
Some companies do recognise the advantages, but a lot of the time it is down to the structure of the companies.
There are many companies that really ought to be listed but they are family companies, and structurally it is more difficult for them to make the changes to fulfil the requirements to join the bourse.
What about cross listing? Is this an important trend for you in Mozambique?
Yes, we have seen some interest in cross listing. Some companies listed elsewhere in the world have already listed on our stock exchange in Mozambique, so it’s a growth area to watch out for going forward, certainly.
Is Mozambique’s legislative infrastructure adequately developed for the stock exchange to reach its full potential or will improvements need to be made over coming years?
We have the main legislation necessary for the flourishing of our capital markets. We have the infrastructure for securities and the legislation for trading, our listing requirements are adequately developed.
Some claim that many Mozambican firms are reluctant to list because they would need to be more transparent, and they simply don’t wish to make their books public. What is your response to this argument?
It is not a problem as far as I am concerned. Many companies have listed because they want to improve their visibility, because they understand how being on the stock exchange can benefit the company. That said, some organisations are concerned with the costs of the whole process of listing – the auditing expenses for SMEs can be a concern.
As I said before, the structure of companies can mean that listing presents difficulties, and really what we need to do is work to change the structure of those companies, so that they can deal with the costs of corporate governance. A lot of family companies are not structured to deal with such costs.
Coming to you. How have you come to be the CEO of the country’s stock exchange and what experience have you brought with you?
I am an economist by education and I obtained my degree in Portugal. I have prior experience working for the government – for the Ministry of Finance in the treasury in the areas of public debt and debt relief and financing, as well as working on the budget. In fact, I headed a department in the last area, working on budget forecasting and macroeconomics. That was in 2010 and I moved to head the stock exchange in 2012.
Is being a female a challenge as CEO of the stock exchange?
In Mozambique, it’s not any more of an issue in the financial sector than in other sectors. In general, though, I would say it is tough because there is still this attitude of ‘why should the woman want to work outside of the house?’ and it is something that all women here in Mozambique are still struggling with.