2014 Pearl Awards gathers momentum



Monday, November 17, 2014 5:00am/ Pearl Awards NG 

Ahead excitements generated by impending 2014 Pearl Awards Nite, Philip Braide revisits the Awards success story and writes on the high expectations among capital market stakeholders.

For corporate Nigeria, particularly companies listed on the Stock Exchange, the die is cast, as stakeholders in the Nigerian capital market converge in Lagos in the next few days for the 19th edition of the renowned annual PEARL Awards, the Performance, Earnings And Returns Leadership Awards for companies quoted on the Stock Exchange.

This is coming on the heels of the much awaited announcement of outperforming companies nominated in different categories of the Awards. Already, since the unveiling of nominated companies October ending, the atmosphere in the market has become turbo charged, as the yearly honours event has started to generate much more than passing interest, with expectations high among major stakeholders in the capital market. In line with the practice of the PEARL Awards over the past 2 decades, in respect of each Award for which 3 outstanding companies have been nominated, the emergent winning company will be unveiled only at the glamorous Awards night event.

As preparations for the award which debuted May 1995 gathers momentum, the date Sunday November 30, 2014 reverberates among capital market players and analysts with all roads leading to the prestigious Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island Lagos, designated venue of this year’s Awards ceremony.

One unique aspect of this year award, according to the organizers is that it been packaged to be an outstanding night of thrills, frills, excellence and glamour, beyond the levels achieved in previous editions. The annual PEARL Awards nite is reputed to be a most colourful yearly gathering of who’s who in Corporate Nigeria, a quintessential networking platform, with the Awards remaining a credible, respected and enduring institutionalized honour that recognizes and rewards deserving quoted companies.

Recently, at the media conference where the lid was broken off companies nominated for the 2014 Awards, the President, PEARL Awards Nigeria, once again gave an insight into the yardstick for measuring performances of companies that qualify them for nominations in the main competitive categories of Sectoral Leadership and Market Excellence Awards. Nominations for the third competitive category, according to the Awards President, the most prestigious and Overall Highest Awards category, in line with past practices, would be unveiled at the Awards night event for obvious reasons that the nominees for this highest Award must have emerged winner of at least one or a number of Awards in the other two categories.

The impact of the annual PEARL Awards cannot be over emphasized, as every  listed company look forward expectantly to emerging first as nominees and secondly as the ultimate winner of its Sector’s Leadership Awards, as well as cart away laurels in the Market Excellence Awards category. Not surprisingly, companies that emerge winners of the Awards in past years have usually experienced a leap in demand for their stocks and upward trend in their share prices. The Awards no doubt have become a veritable guide for investors in determining which stocks to invest in.

As in recent years and for the impending 2014 Awards, honours and recognitions will be in 3 main competitive categories namely the Sectoral Leadership Awards, which rewards a company for out-performing other companies within the same sector, based on aggregate points garnered from all the nine indices utilized for ranking. The other category is Market Excellency awards, which recognizes the entire market leadership in respect of each of the ranking indices. While the third category, is the Overall Highest Awards, known as the PEARL of the Nigerian Stock Market.

History was made at the 2013 PEARL Awards nite when the Cement giant, Dangote Cement Company PLC outperformed all other companies quoted on the Stock Exchange by achieving the unprecedented feat of winning the Overall Highest Award, PEARL of the Nigerian Stock Market back to back, having emerged winner of same most coveted Award in the year 2012.

Industry watchers and market pundits watch with excitement if the same feat would be repeated by Dangote Cement PLC at the 2014 Awards Nite, or which other company would cart away this most coveted prize eyed by every company listed on the Stock Exchange.

In commemoration of its 5th year Anniversary, the PEARL Awards introduced a Special Honorary Awards category to recognize and honour individuals and media institutions that have contributed remarkably to capital market development. Under this category is the PEARL Outstanding CEO of the year award, Special Recognition Award for Capital Market development, the PEARL Media Award for Capital Market Reporting and Capital Market Journalist of the Year Award.

For Awards in the 3 main competitive categories, the PEARL Awards’ President reiterated that the awards evaluation process is predominantly based on data sourced from audited financial reports of quoted companies, utilizing credible parameters and tools of data evaluations that meet international standards. The daily official lists and weekly trading reports of quoted companies’ performance on the Stock Exchange are also major sources of performance evaluation instruments for the Awards.  No wonder, the PEARL Awards has over the past almost 2 decades been widely acknowledged and appreciated by the capital market community including operators, regulators, shareholders and more.

As in recent years, the 2014 Awards were determined utilizing nine performance indices namely, Turnover Growth, Return on Equity, Earnings Yield, Share Price Appreciations, Dividend Cover, Dividend Yield, Net Asset Ratio, Dividend Growth and Profit Margin Ratio.

The process of determining nominees for the Awards is no less comprehensive, diligent and passing through time tested due process. To ensure fairness, objectivity and authenticity in its assessment, the Research and Collation Committee of the Awards Central Working Committee (CWC) sources and processes the required data, presents its report to the Technical Committee of the Awards Board of Governors made up of time tested technocrats, capital market experts and analysts, including a Council member, Nigerian Stock Exchange, with a past Director-General of the Securities & Exchange Commission as Chairman. The Technical Committee, having reviewed the Research & Collation Committee Report endorses and presents the Report to the full Board of Governors for consideration and approval.

It is therefore not surprising that in recognition of its shared values with the PEARL Awards Project, the apex regulatory authority of the capital market, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) endorsed the PEARL Awards as a reliable and credible initiative in 2003.

PEARL Awards has over the years maintained its impartiality, neutrality and credibility by abiding with its avowed policy not to charge any fee from companies nominated for the purpose of winning the awards. This is partly responsible for the confidence reposed in the awards by market players including the quoted companies, Issuing Houses, Stock brokers, Registrars, shareholders associations, among others.

To underscore its neutrality and transparency, the PEARL Awards publishes annually, with graphs, the facts & figures behind the emergence of nominated and winning companies at the Awards Nite event, in its quintessential publication, the Nigerian Stock Market Annual (NSMA), also published since 1995. The NSMA has over the years become a reference point, disseminating relevant information on capital market for the benefits of shareholders, investors’ and investing public, another feat to the PEARL Awards initiative.

It is remarkable that almost two decade of sustained existence, the Pearl Awards has remained a lesson in resilience, creating awareness on capital market activities through various innovative programmes it has initiated, thus contributing immensely to the growth of the Nigerian capital market.

Some of such innovative initiatives include the Annual Pearl Awards Public Lecture for the capital market development established in 2000, and organized yearly over the past 14 years and publication of the book, ‘Winning Strategies of Nigeria’s Corporate Giants’, a peep into the thoughts and strategies of companies that have sustained the winning streak over the years at the PEARL Awards.  

The Awards initiative continues to deliver excellently on its mandate, which is to continue to engender healthy competitiveness, reward outstanding performance, thereby enhancing returns to stakeholders in the market. This is the least they can do in supporting the regulatory authorities in restoring investors’ confidence, deepen the Nigerian capital market and return it to the path of sustainable growth.

For the 2014 PEARL Awards coming up in a matter of days, precisely on 30 November 2014, no doubt, the die is cast for yet another night of excitement of rewarding outstanding performance and corporate excellence. The nominated companies, capital market players and watchers, all wait with huge excitement and high expectations for what promises to be yet another night of glamour, glitz, thrills & frills.    



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