Okyo Pharma, a London-based ophthalmology drugmaker, has announced plans to delist its shares from the London Stock Exchange. The move, prompted by the costs associated with ‘negligible’ trading volumes, will not affect its American Depositary Shares, which trade on the Nasdaq exchange.
Following the announcement, Okyo Pharma shares have plummeted to a 10-month low, suffering 12-month losses of around 66 percent. The company made a recent bid to raise nearly $5.6 million with an equity issue by beginning new Phase 2 trials on its dry eye disease treatment OK-101.
The decision to delist could be seen as a further indication of London’s diminishing status in the financial world, coupled with a lack of investor appeal and economic problems. Several major conglomerates, including Softbank and CRH Holdings, have announced plans to initiate their primary listings on the US stock market with the hopes of improving valuation and liquidity.
The UK Government has recently pushed for changes to be made in the stock market to encourage start-up IPOs and retain listings, such as removal of ballots for large transactions and relaxed pre-market performance conditions.
Nikhil Rathi, the former LSE boss and current chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, believes changes such as the standard and premium listing segments should be abolished as well as limits on shareholder voting indicating that such measures would go a long way towards improving the city’s investment profile.
Overall, Okyo Pharma’s decision to delist is likely to have broader implications for London as a financial centre, making the regulatory and financial changes necessary to attract new investments and retain stock listings all the more pressing.