KARACHI: Trading in the shares of logistics firm Unive­rsal Network Systems Ltd, which operates under the brand name of BlueEX, will start from Dec 6, a notice on the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) said on Wednesday.

BlueEX will be the second firm to list on the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) board, which is a newly launched counter on the PSX reserved for “growth companies” carrying higher investment and liquidity risks than mature companies listed on the main board.

The opening price will be Rs65 per share, which is the fixed rate at which the company sold its 25 per cent stake to raise Rs446 million on Nov 17-18. With the trading symbol of GEMUNSL, the scrip will be quoted in the transport sector of the PSX.

Trading in the shares of Pak Agro Packaging Ltd, which marked the maiden listing on the GEM board, began on Nov 26. It had raised Rs198m by selling a 40 per cent post-listing stake to “accredited investors”.

According to the BlueEX’s chief financial officer Salman Hameed, the share of the logistics firm in the country’s ecommerce market is 6-8pc. The company raised fresh equity to expand its infrastructure. Its revenue went up 67pc to Rs157.48m in 2020-21. The company posted a net profit of Rs33.22m, up 16.5 times from a year ago.

Major players operating in the courier segment include TCS with a market share of 25pc, followed by M&P (15pc), Leopards (12pc), Trax (11pc), Call Courier (10pc), Movex (4pc), Rider (4pc) and “others” (13pc), according to the company’s information memorandum.

The exchange doesn’t allow all investors to trade on the GEM board because the firms listed on this counter are supposed to be riskier than main-board constituents. Therefore, an individual must “self-declare” themselves as an accredited investor if they want to trade in GEM-listed securities. Accredited individual investors are those who have “net assets” of at least Rs5m in the system of National Clearing Company of Pakistan Ltd.

This condition makes a majority of roughly 300,000 individual stock investors ineligible to trade shares in GEM-listed companies. Meanwhile, stockbrokers are finding it difficult to ascertain whether an individual should be “tick-marked” as an accredited investor.

AKD Securities CEO Farid Alam said complying with the requirement of net assets amounting to Rs5m for accredited investors is “cumbersome” for the brokerage community. “Assets they can see. If a customer has Rs5m or beyond investments, the brokerage can say they are an accredited or qualified investor. But the brokerage community is not really comfortable with the word ‘net’. That requires a lot more details.”

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2021

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