Category Archives: Consolidated Bank

East Africa M&A Moment: June 2015

Recent stuff in the newspapers (mainly the Business Daily), Kenya Gazette  (some of the just-approved deals were first announced two years ago) and press releases. $1 is about 95 Kenya shillings (and about 90 when deals were formulated)

Overall

Earlier this month, the Financial Times (FT) reported that mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity in Africa has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade, as a result of collapsing commodity prices, political volatility and an anticipated rise in US interest rates. The value of African deals so far this year stands at $9.2 billionn — 23% lower than the same period 12 months ago and the lowest level recorded since 2004, according to data from Dealogic.

– Burbidge Capital also found that Kenya’s merger & acquisition deals slowed down in 2015 – with 11 M&A deals so far compared to 17 in the first four months of 2014. This year, the largest concluded deals have seen Helios sell a stake in Equity Bank to Norwegian funds and and Old Mutual’s purchase of a 60.7% in UAP Holdings.

Banking/Finance

More mergers are expected in the Kenyan banking sector as the Treasury Secretary announced that an increase in the minimum capital to strengthen banks’ capital base and increase competition…progressively from the current Kshs 1 billion to Kshs 5 billion (~52 million) by 2018. 20 banks are below the Kshs 2 billion mark.

–  Helios cashing out;  Norfund & Norwegian private investors are acquiring 50% of Helios partners investment in Kenya’ Equity Bank Group and will now own 12%. And today, Uganda’s National Social Security Fund has bought a 2.44% stake in Equity Bank Group from Helios Investors at Kshs 50 per share – and the new deal is worth ~$50 million.

– National Bank management said it has not been briefed on any merger plans with its State-owned rival Consolidated Bank. Treasury secretary Henry Rotich said National Bank would be merged with another bank before it’s planned rights issue. The government is the biggest shareholder of National Bank controlling about 79% shares consisting of Treasury and NSSF stakes. As part of a rights issue it is expected that NBK will retire its preference shares (held by the Treasury and NSSF) by converting them into ordinary shares.

– High-level talks regarding a merger between NIC Bank and Commercial Bank of Africa are  reportedly taking place but Mshwari may be spun out of any resulting entity. Both are mid-tier banks with quite a focus on corporate and high-end clients.

– While Mwalimu SACCO is acquiring 51% of Equatorial Commercial Bank (ECB), the Society is not converting into a bank nor merging with ECB.

– Kenya’s Nairobi Securities Exchange is acquiring the 77% of their associate company CDSC, which they own with stockbrokers, in a deal worth~Kshs 260 million.

– Barclays Africa advised on the largest sale of an African Bank in 2014 – a deal, in which Nigeria state-owned Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) sold Mainstreet Bank to Skye Bank.

Equity Group Holdings agreed to acquire 79% of ProCredit Bank Congo, the 7th largest bank (by assets) in DRC. ProCredit has total assets of $200 million, a customer base of over 170,000, and has KfW (12%) and IFC (9%) amongst its shareholders.

 Liaison Financial Services who have just been approved as an investment advisor in Kenya recently acquired the African business of Knutson Global who were involved in asset-backed securities, municipal development bonds and consumer lending.

Insurance

Oxford Business Group expects strong Kenya insurance M&A as companies merge to increase market share & meet higher capital requirements.

– The Mauritian Minister for Financial Services, Roshi Bhadain, said the State Insurance Company of Mauritius (SICOM), would take over the 23.9% stake (valued at more than Kshs 13 billion) held by Businessman, Mr. Dawood Rawat, in financial services firm British-American Investments Company (Kenya)  – a.k.a. Britam. This comes after the government of Mauritius placed Rawat’s firms in receivership over alleged financial impropriety charges.

UAP and Old Mutual agreed on a merger ahead of listing. This comes after Old Mutual raised its shareholding to 60% from 23% after buying 37% from private equity (PE) firms Aureos, Africinvest and Swedfund for around Kshs 14 billion. Old Mutual will not buy out the other 1,000 minority shareholders (who are staff & agents).

Old Mutual first bought into UAP in January by acquiring a 23.3% stake from Centum Investments and businessman Chris Kirubi. Centum sold its stake to get funding needed for its massive real estate, financial services and power projects.

– Also, the competition authority approved the acquisition 60% of UAP Holdings by Old Mutual Holdings and Old Mutual Life Assurance.

Barclays Africa will acquire 63% of First Assurance, Kenya’s No. 10 insurer, for Kshs 2.8 billion (~$30 million).

KCB Group is said to be considering a takeover of Madison Insurance.

– Pan Africa Insurance shareholders approved the acquisition of at least 51% percent of Gateway insurance. Through this acquisition, the company will enter into the general insurance business.

– Kenya’s competition authority approved the acquisition of 61.2% of Resolution Health East Africa by Leapfrog II Holdings.

Hotels/Tourism

– The Heron Portico, which is managed by Indian hospitality group Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, says the acquisition of rival Zehneria Hotel in Nairobi’s Westlands in a Kshs 1 billion buyout to expand its market share in conference tourism and hospitality industry in Kenya. The Heron Portico financed 80% of the purchase price using debt while the rest is self-financed.

– Minor Hotel Group of Thailand, and Elewana Afrika, are acquiring 6 camps spread across national parks in Meru, Samburu and Narok counties. Stefano and Liz Cheli (Cheli and Peacock Group), the founders of the camps, will continue to run the resorts and focus on business development.

– Kenya’s Competition Authority approved the acquisition by Fortune Hotels of Paradise Safari Park and 85% of Paradise Investments and Development Kenya held by Paradise Company.

– TPSEA (Serena) acquires 25.1% of TPS (D) that was set up to run the Movenpick Hotel in Dar, now known as the Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel in Tanzania.

Logistics/Transport

Frontier Services Group (FSG), a Nairobi-based logistics firm, has completed its purchase of Cheetah Logistics SARL – Congolese transport company as part of central and western Africa expansion plan. Kenya’s competition authority also approved the acquisition of Phoenix Aviation by Frontier Services Group as well as the acquisition of 55% of Tradewinds Aviation Services by NAS Africa Aviation.

– UK logistics and engineering firm Atlas Development says it is in advanced stages of discussions with potential takeover targets in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

– Part of Best Wing Cargo operations at JKIA have been transferred to Suppercare Freight Services.

–  Part of  Fastlane Freight Forwarders  operations at JKIA have been transferred to Airwagon Cargo Movers.

Energy

Norfund to acquire a stake in Globeleq Africa from Actis for $225M and partner with CDC to pursue power generation opportunities.

UAE’s Gulf Petrochem Group acquires Essar Petroleum East Africa and renames it as Aspam Energy (Kenya) in a deal to enhance the group’s integrated services and products for the downstream supply chain in the oil and gas sector in East Africa.

Media/PR

Scangroup dropped a bid to acquire 80% of Experiential Marketing, as approvals were not granted in time. Scangroup shareholders later renamed the company WPP Scangroup signifying that WPP Scangroup and WPP plc. are now fully together, with a shared vision for developing marketing communications across Sub Saharan Africa.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K), and Buchanan, one of the world’s leading financial communications consultancies, joined forces to launch H+K Financial, a specialist financial communications division dedicated to the Middle East and Africa.

Telecommunications/ICT

Millicom is to acquire 85% of Zanzibar’s Zantel for $1 and take over $74 million of its debts. Zantel is the leading Telco in Zanzibar (but just 5% to Tanzania’s total) with $82m in revenue and 1.7m customers.

– Kenyan innovation, Wezatele, was acquired for $1.7 million by AFB Kenya.

Techno Brain acquired the trips™ suite of integrated customs &revenue software from Crown Agents to provide tax and customs solutions that target the broader financial management needs of government.

Akvo Kenya transfers the business of building open source intemet and mobile software to support international development partnerships to Akvo Kenya Foundation.

Industry

– A Paris-based PE fund bought 30% of Ramco Plexus, a subsidiary of Ramco Group that has an annual turnover of Kshs 5.5 billion. The Ramco Group was started in 1948 as a hardware store, and has grown into a 34-subsidiary strong business, which employs 3,000 people.

– The competition authority approved the acquisition of 51% of Bullpark by Nampak Holdings.

 Pharmaceuticals

Business transfer:  Antipest Kenya Limited, has transferred to Modern Ways.

Business transfer: Unicorn Pharma Kenya has been sold and transferred to Medisel (Kenya)

– The competition authority approved the acquisition of the assets of European Perfumes and Cosmetics by Charm Industries. The deal excludes the debts of Varanasi Deepak, and Chirag Savia The

 Agri Business/Food Business

–  Syngenta rejected Monsanto’s $45 billion merger offer. An eventual agreement will have an impact on Kenya’s agricultural sector.

– Shareholders of REA Vipingo Plantations approved sale of the firm’s land at Vipingo to Centum Investments as agreed upon in a settlement with R.E.A Trading.

– Giant milk processor Brookside Dairy has bought out Sameer Agriculture & Livestock business in Uganda for Sh3.5 billion (~$38 million). The government of Uganda, which owns 49% (of Sameer) confirmed this on March 25.

Business transfer: Pure Imported (formerly European Foods E.A. Limited) (which was in the business of importing & selling deep frozen foods and supplying fresh juices) to European Foods Africa

– The Competition Authority exempted the production, bottling supply and distribution business between Distell and Kenya Wine Agencies Business transfer: for 5 years.

Business transfer: The ice cream production & trading business of Alpha Dairy Products is being transferred to Razco.

The Tanzania’s competition commission may reverse it’s decision approving for EABL to merge with Serengeti Breweries, as Serengeti’s performance failed to meet expectations.

– The competition authority approved the acquisition of an additional 30% in Largo Investments by NAS Holdings

– The competition authority approved the acquisition of the brands and assets of Chirag (Kenya) by Chirag Africa. Elsewhere these were acquired by newly-listed Flame Tree.

– The competition authority approved the acquisition of 52% of Ennsvalley Bakery by Unga Holdings.

– Norwegian private equity fund, Norfund, has bought shares in agriculture firm Vertical Agro in a Kshs 476 million (38.7 million Norwegian krone) deal. Vertical Agro is the parent company of Sunripe and Serengeti Fresh which makes it the largest exporter of organic vegetables in the country. The company produces 6,500 tonnes of fruits and vegetables annually from its farms in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Property

– Kenya’s competition Authority has approved (i) The acquisition of 50% of Equatorial Commercial Bank Centre by Fidelity Shield Insurance  (ii)  The acquisition of Parkway Investments by Mt. Kenya University Trustees (iii) The acquisition of Endebees Estate (Kilifi Holdings) by Balloobhoni Chhotabhai Patel.

Government Contracting to SME’s

The Government of Kenya is collectively the biggest spending entity in the whole country. Yet provision of goods and services to the government is often over-looked by small and medium enterprises (SME). Many do so for a variety of reasons, some of which are late payments for good/services delivered, demands for bribes from government procuring officers, costly and time-consuming red tape procedures.

However the opportunities are there for small companies to take. It is wrong to look at this collectively because different ministries, parastatals, agencies are governed under different rules of administration and purchasing. Over the last few years the procurement process has been streamlined at many government bodies. More tenders are advertised to the public giving more opportunity for new bidders, Corruption is not as blatant and the avenues for redress in this regard have opened up. Also there are opportunities in technology that new upstart companies can grab if they are prepared for the process.

A glance at some recent GoK procurement awards at the website of the public procurement oversight authority (PPOA) shows some technology related awards including:
– Direct loading of Safaricom airtime for senior staff at the Kenya Revenue Authority – won by Safaricom (Kshs 7.8 million)
– Provision of documentation software at the Kenya Ports Authority – won by Sap Africa (~Kshs 5.7 million)
– Installation and commission of security software at Kenya Forest Services (Kshs 14.9 million)
– Supply of a network operations for Kenya Education Network- won by Lantech Africa (~Kshs 176 million)
– Provision of data capture at the High Court registry – won by DPH Software Services (Kshs 69.9 million)
– Support of the digital village sat the Kenya ICT board – won by Intelecon Research & Consultancy (~Kshs 25.9 million)

The steps to winning & executing a tender are:

– See advert in the papers
– Pay a stipulated fee to obtain bid documents Kshs 2,000 to 10,000 ($125)
– Return bid documents by a specific date and witness the opening of tenders. Bidders are often asked to provide copies of company profile, financial accounts, list of other similar contracts executed (referees/proof of performance)
– Winner gets limited purchase order (LPO)
– Winner delivers goods
– Winner receives payment

There are variations to this process; sometimes bidders are asked to return only a technical proposal (to demonstrate their understanding and expertise) subject to which those short listed are now asked to provide financial proposals. The lowest bidder at this stage should win though sometimes weighting the technical and financial scores arrives at the winner.

Sometimes a winning bidder may experience delays in procuring goods, or as a result of other factors beyond their control. The end result is that their payment may be delayed. This cash flow cycles often cripples many small business hindering their opportunity to take up new orders while waiting for old payments to be received.

This is where banks products such as solid loop, a contract finance loan, from consolidated bank can assist an SME. However, one major improvement in the PPOA rules is that a government entity cannot put out a tender for a good or service that is not budgeted for and which it has no funds for – and this cuts down on a situation where a company may provide a service that will not be paid for several years.

GoK gives you wings

So government procurement should be looked at in a new light, and many more vibrant emerging companies should seek out as aggressively as they seek out private sector or multinational procurement orders. These can be areas such as payment processes, digitization /archiving of records and web & mobile developments

Youthful Tantrum

The saga at the Youth Fund continues at the board hit back at the Minister of Youth Affairs for ‘re-appointing’ the ‘previous CEO’ to his previous post. And the nightly news have duly shown two CEO’s show up at the Fund office, each claiming authority to run the Fund – one backed by the Board of Directors, one sacked by the Board (and reappointed by the Minister)
For month now the CEO has had the upper hand in the media making rounds that he had single handedly stopped the Fund from engaging in financing deal with Canadian group Enablis – one which would the Fund would have been better served by channeling these funds through local commercial banks

Now the board has hit back with a hard hitting statement giving reasons why they had fired the CEO including that he was in-subordinate, misused resources (over-claimed imprest, attend training for fun), took trips to his distant home in northern Kenya under the guise of making official trips in his government allocated car), inflated procurement contracts, among other things.

The government inspector appears to agree with the board in most of the allegations against the CEO; but their recommendation is also curious: they don’t say the CEO should be sacked, instead – “…the audit team noted the board had lost faith and trust in the CEO and that they cannot continue to work together as a team. The only prudent action by the minister is to separate the two.”

This bring to mind a similar stand-off a few years ago at Consolidated Bank of Kenya where the Board said the would not renew the contract of the CEO and asked the Minister to appoint a new CEO. However the cards were flipped on the Board and they were all sacked, while the CEO was re-appointed to a new contract

This time around the stakes are different. The board appears stronger and the Minister not as powerful; in fact she is under siege from her own assistant ministers and the Board who used comments against her this week in the media including ‘lying, crying, comical’. So how will this one end? How should it end?

M4Change Nairobi

The Mobile Tech for Social Change camp (m4change) was held last Saturday (June 27 2009) at Strathmore University Nairobi, and was staged by @afromusing and @jessicacolaco

More presentations and pictures are at the Wiki page, and these are my notes from attending a brief part of the talk on mobile applications in the morning

– With regard to mobile applications e.g. MPesa, (developers should) just create them, and let users sort themselves out e.g. a credit society that has 4 managers who are signatories, each one enters one (secret) digit of the society mobile PIN# to enable a mobile transfer transaction
– Wanahabari is a text to mobile application for journalists
– You can buy prepaid electricity via mobile phone in Rwanda
– Alternatives mobile browsers to opera include skyfire and mobileXL
Safaricom is buying out leading developers in Kenya who may develop applications that compete with them (is that a bad thing?)
– While there is demand for Safaricom to avail an API for Mpesa, it is owned and controlled by Vodafone (UK)
– If you have an account at Consolidated bank of Kenya and others, you can use a mobile phone to transfer money from your bank account to your Mpesa account
Fibre mirage?
(i) The cost of last mile connectivity in Kenya is still high e.g. one example cited was a quotation from a leading ISP in Kenya for $10,000 to extend the fibre just 300 metres
(ii) Even though fibre can make speeds more than 17X faster today, the ISP will only make gradual increments of 2X every few months to fool customers that they are always upgrading/improving
– There is no adequate consumer protection group/lobby in Kenya to agitate for better services. The communications commission of Kenya (CCK) regulator does not respond to consumers complaints
– Only Safaricom has a 3G license in Kenya (the cost is astronomical) and so far only deployed in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu
– Safaricom has developed Mpesa bulk payment/transfer systems. Example given was to enable payments to farmers in Mt. Kenya region
– A great resource for mobiles in development is the CGAP site (World Bank)
– M-pesa heralds a shift from branch based banking to agent based banking with examples (at CGAP)
– Safaricom partnership with western union to enable transfers from UK to be sent to recipients mobile phones. Still being tested with safaricom employees, but will probably be as expensive as a regular western union transfer.

Bank Review ’07 Part II

Small banks, range from $40 to $100 million

Showed an inability to grow as faster as the bigger bank, with few exceptions. Yet they are still profitable and reluctant to merge

The banks got a temporary reprieve when parliament shot down the government’s proposal that banks should have a minimum capital of 1 billion ($15 million) 3 years from the current 250 million shilling minimum’ but that proposal is likely to be revisited by future finance ministers.

35. (38) Fidelity Bank: Estimated assets 3.2 billion ($45.7M), profit of 45 million ($0.7 million) shillings for this quiet bank with little marketing activity but which was able to grow 40% during 2007.

34. (36) Credit Bank: Estimated assets of 3,300 million and profit of 120 million, for another quiet bank which grew about 15% in 2007.

33. (33) Middle East: Estimated 3.2 billion assets and profit of 80 million in 2007. However deposits and loans are down 6% from a year ago.

32. (35) Habib Bank: Estimated 3.5 billion assets and profit of 90 million, with growth of 12% from a year ago. Participated in the first Diamond trust rights first issue as a possible merger step.

31. (29) Victoria: Estimated 4.2 billion assets 140m in profit. Flat growth expect in loans and deposits (1%), but great in profitability which is improved by over 40% in 2007.

30. (32) Consolidated Bank: Estimated 4.5 billion assets, 20 million profit with the 30% growth from a year ago. There was public fallout between the MD and the board resulting in the board being fired by the Finance Minister. The Deposit protection fund (DPF) of the Central Bank plans to sell its 51% stake to private sector, and is likely to be found next year by private sale. A loss in 2005 makes the bank ineligible for an NSE listing and the owners the collapsed banks that form Consolidated Bank are likely to figure in as potential buyers.

30. (31) Equatorial: 4.7 billion assets and 90m in profit. The Sameer group bank Out-performed corporate big sister CBA growing by about 15% in 2007.

29. (34) Development Bank of Kenya: Estimated 4.8 billion and 200m in profit. Remarkable growth fro a development finance institution to record 45% growth in loans & deposits. Part of ICDC’s (Government) 90% stake in the bank is up for sale in 2008.

28. (28) Southern Credit: Estimated 4.9 billion assets, 80m in profit. 10% growth in loans and deposits, with about 40% growth in profits in 2007. Bank with a lady MD focus on cards

27. (30) Chase Bank: Estimated assets of 5.0 billion, and profit of 130 million. The winner of small bank awards, will open new branches next year and has set about achieveing a recapitalization target of 1 billion, through retained earnings.

26. (26) Giro: Estimated 5.3 billion assets, 70m in profit. With 7% growth in the year, It was supposed to be sold to state bank of India, but the deal is yet to be approved by regulators.

25. (27) Guardian: Estimated 5.8 billion assets, 45 million profit. Growth of about 15%

24. (23) ABC: Estimated 5.8 billion assets, 170 million in profits. With 12% growth from a year ago, ABC was one of the few ‘small’ banks that had a marketing push to target new customers in 2007 in addition to a recapitalization drive. Launched ‘kisima’ a flat fee account and has new branches.

23. (24) Habib AG Zurich: Estimated 6.1 billion assets, 200 million profit for another quiet bank which grew about 15% in 2007.

22. (25) K-Rep: Estimated 7.2 billion assets, 200 million profit . With international shareholding and micro-finance expertise is an natural candidate for a merger Was 29th two years ago and recorded about 60% growth in 2007.

21. (21) Bank of Africa 7.2 billion ($103 million) assets 160 million shillings ($2.3 million) profit in 2007. What is hopefully the first of many West African banks spreading eastwards has opened new branches and targeted growth of new business like asset finance.
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