September 2002 - Article - The impact of offshore listings on the SA economy.pdf
S S Walters and J W Prinsloo
Last Modified Date:
2020-10-01, 09:31 PM
Quarterly Bulletins > Articles and Notes
South Africa has had to face a number of globalisation issues and international developments over the past decade or so. These impacted directly and indirectly on the economic and financial affairs of the country. Part of this process was the gradual liberalisation of exchange controls which paved the way for large South African companies to transfer the primary listing of their stock to foreign bourses. By the end of 2000, five companies had received permission to move their primary listings from the JSE Securities Exchange SA (JSE) to the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Although the government holds a positive view on international capital flows as a means to strengthen economic performance, several other stakeholders in the economy became increasingly negative about the ultimate benefits of offshore listings for the South African economy. This can be attributed to the perceived negative impact that offshore listings may have on domestic economic growth and investment. The objective of this study is to clarify some of these issues. This analysis presents an overview of the main reasons for South African companies to seek listings abroad as well as the exchange control guidelines that such companies have to observe before an application for a primary offshore listing is approved. This is followed by a brief description of the companies that obtained offshore listings up to the end of 2001 and of the circumstances surrounding their applications. Further sections deal with the impact of offshore listings on the market capitalisation of the JSE and the effect on the country’s international investment position and dividend flows. This is followed by a discussion of some developments in the modern theory of economic growth and the empirical impact of the offshore listing on South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national income. The last section contains a summary and some concluding remarks.