Seychelles is a nation comprised of over 100 islands off the cost of East Africa. With a population of just over 80,000 people, you can be forgiven if you could not point it out on a map. Yet for a relatively unknown country, it’s made global financial headlines over the past few years.
During the financial crisis in 2008, Seychelles was one of the most indebted nations in the world, and defaulted on a $230 million eurobond. After a bailout by the IMF stipulated that it float its currency, Seychelles became the smallest country in the world with its own currency, the Seychelles rupee (SCR). It was also at this point that they decided to follow in the footsteps of other small island nations, and diversify its economy by positioning the country as a potential offshore financial center.
This push towards the financial sector also resulted in discussions in 2009 of hosting its own secondary capital market. Their efforts culminated in Trop-X, the official Seychelles Securities Exchange, that opened in November 2012 with three equity boards to cater to companies from small to large. It is run by Quote Africa Group, a South African company that also has a license to run stock markets in Namibia and has ambitions for the rest of the region.
But what is an exchange without any listings? Enter SACOS Group (State Assurance Corporation of Seychelles), one of the largest companies in the Seychelles. It is the main insurance and assurance company in the country, but it develops and manages real estate as well. Oddly they also import and sell “vehicle spare parts”, but insurance/assurance is their bread and butter.
SACOS plans to list in July 2013 and we’ll be following them as well as Quote Africa Group’s progress in developing new frontier markets in Africa. See the full press release here.