West to East: Following Bank of Africa (2004) and Ecobank (taking over EABS), West African’ leading bank, United Bank of Africa (UBA) is making an entry to East Africa starting with Uganda and have also applied for a license to bank in Kenya.
Venture Capital Fund: From the East African Development Bank (EADB) is now operational, with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in East Africa are eligible for funding.
Uchumi’s turnaround : Uchumi have finally published their financial results of the receivership period from 2006 to 2008. The turnaround has been remarkable and in the half-year ending December 2007, they surpassed full-year sales from 2006 (year of collapse). The current ratio is still poor (less than 1), but that’s about three times better than it was when the company sunk.
The company lost 751 million in June 06, which improved the first year of receivership to a loss of 257m in 07 – and are on track to make a profit in 2008 – while operating fewer stores. It’s probably too soon to be re-listed (there would only be sellers, no buyers) and a dividend would not be likely for 5 years as the company still has an accumulated loss (negative reserves) of about 1 billion shillings ($15 million)
peeves two things irritate me though at Uchumi (i) their cashiers never have any shilling coins and insist on giving out sweets in lieu of change (ii) Cashiers’ who take advantage of my not having a u-card to top up their accounts with points I pay for.
Insurer collapses: Invesco assurance finaly goes under. The company which insured many matatu’s is now under statutory management and can’t make any policy payments or sign up new business. And when the history of the company is written, one paragraph must address why almost every insurance company (including Invesco) decided to put up an expensive office building in the Upper Hill area of Nairobi, far away from their core clientele.
Kenya Re profits: How much did Kenya Re earn in 2007? An interesting discussion at stockskenya.
Diaspora dollars: How much do Kenya’s abroad remit to the country (through official channels)? CBK reports $54 million in January 2008 and the country is on track for an increase from the $573 million sent in 2007.
Dollar launderer: A Nation report cites US concern about money laundering in Kenya which has weak laws regarding the crime. The State Department report notes the difficulty as Kenya is a hub that mixes regional trade with exports to East & Central Africa, donor aid & NGO’s (managing over U.S. $1 billion annually), remittances from expatriate Kenyans estimated at $680-780 million annually, and Eastleigh Estate which handles unofficial remittances by the Somalia Diaspora. Also, though banks maintain records of transactions over U.S. $100,000 and international transfers over U.S. $50,000 (and report them to the CBK) they fear customer reactions to such release of information – and this was hammered home by a November 2007 court award that ordered Barclays Bank to pay a customer 400,000 shillings ($5,700) for providing customer details to the British High Commission.
– The Kenya college of communication and technology (KCCT) board now has Michael Joseph, Nick Nesbitt, Naushad Merali and Paul Kukubo to guide some relevance in communications training.
– The Resettlement fund (for election victims) has retired archbishop Ndingi, former minister Akaranga, and retired athlete Kipchoge Keino on board.