Category Archives: Covid19

Roblox IPO – Prospectus Peek

Roblox Corporation will list on the New York Stock Exchange as RBLX.

How much do we know about Roblox? Kids spend hours on it every day, but do they how Roblox works and the numbers behind it? Take a peek into the IPO prospectus for Roblox. 

About Roblox:

  • Founded in 2004 by David Baszucki and Erik Cassel. Today, Baszucki is the CEO and second-largest shareholder with 12% behind Altos Ventures that has 21%.
  • The company has eight classes of stock some preferred, some convertible and more restricted share units have been granted to employees in the IPO. 

Numbers:

  • The company had $489 million revenue in 2019 and $589 million in the first nine-months of 2020. $409 million (70%) of its revenue is from US/Canada, 17% from Europe, with Asia-Pacific adding 8% and the rest of the world is 5% (28.2 million).
  • The company has $1.49 billion assets, 801 million of which is in cash.
  • It lost $86 million in 2019 and $205 million in the first nine-months of 2020. It has carried forward accumulated tax loss credits with the US government of $162 million and $54 million in the state of California.

Users & Experiences:

  • Key attractions that draw users to Roblox are unique identities, interaction with their friends, low friction (easy to join) and the variety of 3D experiences easily accessible on most devices whether they run on iOS, Android, PC, Mac, Xbox, Oculus Rift etc.
  • Most experiences are free and users can then purchase others such as clothing and avatars.  Users do this using ‘Robux’ which they purchase with a credit card, subscriptions or one-time mobile payment (such as with M-Pesa), and use the Robux is to access digital items such as avatar and features.
  • The user base is currently 51% male and 44% female, with 72% of uses using mobile devices. Geographically, 33% of users are in the US /Canada, 29% in Europe 15% in Asia and 22% in the rest of the world. The Roblox business case going forward depends on growing internationally, particularly in Europe (Germany & France), and Asia (South Korea). Also, in February 2019 they entered a joint venture with Tencent to use the Roblox platform in China and Roblox owns 51% of the JV.
  • Users aged 9-12 years are 29%, under-9s are 25% and 13-16 are 13%, while 14% of Roblox users are over 25 years. They hope to grow the over-13 crowd as they have a higher propensity to spend on content.
  • During Covid-hit in 2020, active users have gone up from 18 million in 2019 to 31 million by September 2020 from 180 countries. On average, people spend 2.6 hours per day on Roblox.

Operations:

  • Roblox has 18,000 servers in the US, Europe and Asia that handle 10 million requests per second.
  • Users are able to draw from a library that has 18 million experiences and the company uses machines and 1,700 humans to moderate this content.

Developer Program:

  • It has 7 million developers and 960,000 of them earn on the platform. Developers can build in their native languages and machines translate the content into 11 languages including English, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Chinese, German and French.
  • Creators receive 30 % of revenue from the creations while developers receive 70% of Robux spent on their experiences. In the nine months to September 2020, developers earned $209 million up from 72 million in the same period last year. 1,050 developers earned $10,000 or more and 250 earned more than $100,000 in Robux.
  • If they want to cash out of the developer exchange program, the rate is one Robux is equivalent to $0.0035.

Advisors:

  • Underwriters of the IPO are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Allen & Co, Bank of America, and RBC.
  • The auditor is Deloitte while the firm of Wilson Sonsini is the legal counsel.

To be continued.

AFMI 2020 shows African financial markets resilience

The findings of the 2020 African Financial Markets Index (AFMI) report were highlighted in Nairobi today for a year in which countries face economic and medical challenges from COVID-19.

The fourth edition of the AFMI report by the Absa Group and the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) now measures 23 countries that encompass two-thirds of the continent’s population and 80% of its GDP. The countries are ranked by six assessments of investment attractiveness and this year, Eswatini, Lesotho and Malawi were added to the Index. 

South Africa remained on top, followed by Mauritius, and surprisingly Nigeria, which, along with Morocco, Ghana and Seychelles, made great strides to improve. Kenya, which was number three in 2019, dropped to number seven this year. Overall, 14 of the 23 countries scored above the median mark, a great improvement from the first index when only 6 of the 17 countries achieved this.

COVID-19 has had different impacts on African countries, but as Jeremy Awori Absa Kenya CEO said, even with the slowed-growth in the first half of the year, much was still expected from the continent that has a rising middle-class, and rising urban population. He added that growth would come from developing open, transparent and well-regulated financial markets.

Absa Economist, Jeff Gable said Africa cited some developments on the continent towards financial inclusion and making exchanges accessible to retail investors. These included Eswaitni’s automated trading platform and the Nairobi Securities Exchange’s revamped mobile app for retail investors with Dar es Salaam also working on a similar one. He spoke of moves to encouraging more funds to invest within the continent that saw Lesotho require its pension fund managers to invest locally (currently just 3% of assets are in the country), the launch of a derivatives market in Nigeria, and Ethiopia drafting legislation for a stock exchange.

In terms of sustainable finance, Kenya had its first green bond, Egypt had the first one in the MENA region, and Nigeria is working on its third green bond. Also, the African Development Bank was one of the first institutions to issue a financial instrument to fight the COVID-19 pandemic as it issued a $3 billion social-bond tranche. 

Danae Kyriakopoulou of OMFIF spoke of Kenya’s drop which was mainly in the “access to foreign exchange” measure where which it was ranked tenth after having topped the pillar just two years ago. This was partly due to the perception of the currency exchange rate. And on market transparency, she said that Kenya has few firms that have global credit ratings, compared to Nigeria, South Africa, and Mauritius.

She added that a strong local investor base was a source of long-term capital and a financial markets shock absorber of volatility, and that Namibia has the highest pension assets under management per capita on the index.  In terms of protection of minority shareholders, Kenya does well on that but it also needs to adopt enforcement of international financial master agreements (ISDA) as a key area of improvement. Kenya is also part of a pilot Africa Exchange Linkages Project to promote intra-African investment flows between the stock exchanges of Nairobi, Johannesburg, Casablanca, Egypt, Nigeria, Mauritius and the BRVM in West Africa.

George Asante, Head of Global Markets at Absa, said that the impact of COVID-19 was not as drastic on African financial markets as they had developed more resilience through having regulators work in uniform. This was in comparison to the 2008 global financial crisis which had a big disruption on African markets resulting in bond yields shooting up 30%. But he cautioned that African governments should work hard to remove the uncertainties that are still in the prices of their bonds, to attain lower borrowing costs in future.

The 2020 AFMI report by Absa Group and OMFIF can be downloaded here.

Coca-Cola partners for business recovery in Kenya

Coca-Cola has launched a program to assist traders to quickly recover, and safely reopen their businesses, following months of disruption from Covid-19.

The company will avail Kshs 125 million as part of a Coca-Cola system small business recovery campaign to assist 18,000 businesses, along with its partners including Absa Bank Kenya, Amref Health Africa and the Women Enterprise Fund. This will be through initiatives such as loans, personal protective equipment, sanitation facilities, soda cases, gardening furniture (for outdoor dining) and training to help them reopen safely between October 2020 and March 2021.

Coca-Cola has 300,000 traders in the country, and through its data, has noted the disruptions on these small businesses, 40% of which are at risk of closure even after the government relaxed lockdown restrictions in September 2020. This is partly from expired stocks and slow sales pick up in places like downtown Nairobi.

Absa will provide unsecured business loans of up to Kshs 10 million, for working capital, and up to Kshs 50 million for Local Purchase order (LPO) and inventory discounting. As the financing business partner in this campaign, the bank, through trade data, is quickly able to score the business creditworthiness, and extend financing, to suppliers and retailers in the Coca-Cola ecosystem, without having to scour their financial statements.

Coca-Cola has also extended a grant of $175,000 (~Kshs 20 million) to Amref to support 4,000 micro-outlets, such as eateries and leisure places, in Laikipia, Nairobi and Mombasa counties, to carry out occupational safety changes & training and reopen safely in their communities. Also, for participating businesses in Laikipia, the County Government has offered further support to traders there through credits to offset some business loans as part of a Kshs 123 million Laikipia economic stimulus package.

M&A Moment: September 2020

Since the last update of deals in the East Africa region, we are six months into the era of Coronavirus and its effects across the world.

Merger and acquisition (M&A) deal are still happening, with some older ones having been in the pipeline for months before. The impact of the pandemic has also created some new M&A deals and partnerships, while reducing the value of others, and even killing off some earlier-announced merger deals, in scenarios that had all been foreseen by deal-makers.

Here are some notable deals (1 US dollar equals 108 Kenya shillings)

Airline/ Oil/Energy/Mining M&A

  • Jubilee Holdings is acquiring an additional 9.4% share in Uganda’s Bujagali Hydropower from SN Power for $40 million to now own 18.2% of the project as part of a diversified portfolio that includes quoted stocks, bonds, real estate and interests in Farmer’s Choice, PDM and Seacom. 
  • The proposal to nationalize Kenya Airways through a National Aviation Management Bill, which grew out of a proposal by the airline to manage Nairobi’s main airport, will be debated in Kenya’s Parliament over the next few months.
  • Shareholders of Tullow Oil approved the sale of its entire interest in Blocks 1, 1A, 2 and 3A in Uganda and the proposed East African crude oil pipeline System to Total. 
  • The proposed Transfer of 85% of Global Petroleum Products Kenya  to E3 Energy DMCC has been approved 
  • Barrick Gold and the Government of Tanzania have signed an agreement to launch a new joint venture to oversee the company’s future gold mining operations in the country. 
  • The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of 100% of Acacia Exploration (Kenya) by Shanta Gold Mauritius.
  • Safaricom bought 18.96% of Circle Gas for Kshs 385 million. The gas company has interests in Tanzania also acquired KopaGas’s technology in a $25 million transaction, one of the largest private equity investment in the clean cooking sector
  • In what will be a controversial deal, Kenya plans to have the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation become a super agency to oversee a new Kenya Transport and Logistics Network (KTLN) that will coordinate the Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Railways and Kenya Pipeline Company.
  •  Deal Undone: The Competition Authority has noted that the acquisition of 80% of the Embraer by Boeing has failed to take place following the decision of the parties to withdraw from the transaction. 

Banking and Finance: Finance, Law, & Insurance M&A

Kenyan Banks  

  • Kenya’s Central Bank approved the acquisition of 51% of Mayfair Bank by Commercial International Bank, Egypt’s leading private sector bank, and it will be renamed as Mayfair CIB Bank.  
  • The Central Bank of Kenya approved the takeover of 90% of Jamii Bora Bank by the Cooperative Bank of Kenya.
  • Access Bank completed the acquisition of 100% of Transnational Bank. 
  • Centum’s Bakki Holdico has acquired all the shares of the late Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat in Sidian Bank (via Business Daily) 
  • Equity Bank has completed its buyout of 66.53% BCDC in DRC. Covid saw the final price reduced by $10 million to $95 million.  
  • Deal undone: Atlas Mara and Equity Bank mutually agreed to discontinue transaction discussions given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Deal undone? Businessman Naushad Merali and Mwalimu National Sacco plan to sell their stakes in Spire Bank after it issued a notice to engage potential suitors to buy a 100% of the bank. 

Investment Markets and Deal Makers

  • The Nairobi Securities Exchange acquired 61% of AKS Nominees, which holds an 18% share in the Central Depository and Settlement Corporation (CDSC) for Kshs 77 million.
  • Genghis Capital has partnered with EGM Securities to offer investors a wider range of alternative asset classes including online currencies, commodities, precious metals, oil, and biotech stocks.
  • Helios & Fairfax to partner on Africa investments
  • Fanisi Capital and Ascent Capital are set to merge and raise funds for bigger deals in the region.
  • Two Nairobi stockbrokers AIB Capital and Apex Africa entered a joint venture that will lead to a merger. The entity will be part of Mauritius firm, the AXYS Group which acquired Apex in 2015.
  • African Alliance Kenya investment bank is divesting from stockbroking owing to a structural decline in the agency trading model in both the local and global financial markets (amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic)

Insurance

  • The Competition Authority approved the acquisition of 24.1% of ICEA Lion Insurance Holdings by Eastern Africa Holdings which is being used by private equity firm Leapfrog Investments for the buyout of  ICEA Lion Insurance Holdings for Kshs 10 billion.
  • The sale of Stanlib Kenya to ICEA Lion was approved by the Competition Authority though clients have pulled out Kshs 75 billion following the deal. 
  • Mauritian insurance company MUA completed the acquisition of Saham Assurance Company Kenya. 
  • Octagon Africa, who offer pension, actuarial and insurance services in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia acquired a 49% stake in the Zambia subsidiary of Alexander Forbes who doing a group strategic review. 
  • EDIT: Allianz will acquire controlling stakes in Jubilee Insurance’s general insurance business (property & casualty insurance) in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda as well as the short-term insurance business in Burundi and  Mauritius for Kshs 10.8 billion ($ 100 million) while Jubilee will also acquire Allianz Insurance Kenya.  

Regional Banks

  • The Tanzania Postal Bank (TPB) has absorbed a third bank, TIB Corporate, in a new merger deal. 
  • The National Bank of Malawi plans to invest in Akiba Commercial Bank in Tanzania in a bid to expand its operations beyond Malawi.
  • The Bank of Tanzania approved the merger of Mwanga Community Bank and Hakika Microfinance Bank to form the Mwanga Hakika Microfinance Bank. 
  • EFG Hermes and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt aim to acquire 76% of the Arab Investment Bank. EFG Hermes will own 51% of the bank and plans to transition from an investment bank to a commercial bank. 
  • I&M Bank is buying Orient Bank in Uganda.  

Remittances

  • WorldRemit has agreed to acquire Sendwave, an app-based remittance company in a cash and stock transaction. 
  • Beyonic has been acquired by MFS Africa.  

Agri-Business, Food & Beverage M&A

  • Kenya has floated an international expression of interest for the privatization of five sugar firms
  • The Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited (KTDA) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are each investing over Kshs 150 million to set up Africa’s first Japanese speciality green tea production factory at Kangaita Tea Farm in Kirinyaga County. 
  • President Kenyatta has ordered the Kenya Meat Commission to be transferred from the Ministry of Livestock to the Ministry of Defence
  • Dominion Farms on a parcel of land comprising 3,700 hectares at Yala Swamp in Siaya County is being transferred to Lake Agro Ltd.
  • edit Nathan Kalumbu has acquired control of Interstrat Ltd (Big Square Kenya) which has assets worth Ksh 689 million.
  • edit The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of Dilpack Kenya by Elgon Kenya and the companies will from March 2020 will jointly service the East African market with packaging solutions for the horticultural and floricultural industries.
  • edit The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of Marsyetu Ltd by Mija Ltd. 

Health and Medical, Pharmaceutical M&A

  • Indo-Oceania Ventures is acquiring Mayfair Healthcare Holdings
  • The CDC Group and Novastar Ventures have invested in mPharma which currently operates in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and serves approximately one million patients annually, through a network of over 400 pharmacies.
  • edit Goodlife Pharmacy, which had a turnover in 2018 of Kshs 936 million, is acquiring assets of Salama Pharmaceuticals which had a turnover of Kshs 13.3 million and Eurose Enterprises which had a turnover of Kshs 9.8 million in the same years.

Logistics, Engineering, & Manufacturing M&A

  • Mum’s Village Kenya has merged with BabyBliss Nigeria to create the Bliss Group Africa. 
  • Portuguese multinational Salvador Caetano Group has invested Kshs 350 million to launch an automotive hub in Kenya and be the dealer for Renaultand Hyundai cars with plans to venture into the local assembly of the two brands.
  • Bolt, the ride-hailing app, has received a EUR 50 million as venture debt facility from the European Investment Bank to support its research and development strategies.
  • Kenyan e-commerce startup AfricaSokoni has acquired Nigeria company Bolorims to expand into the West African country. The deal, which gives Bolorims a 10% cent stake in AfricaSokoni, creates a new entity in Nigeria, Bolosokoni.com, with AfricaSokoni continue to trade as before in Kenya. 
  • edit Evo Pack Ltd is acquiring Kshs 234 million worth of assets of Digital Packaging Innovation Holdings.
  • edit The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of certain assets of Bamburi Special Products, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bamburi Cement, by Yellow House Ltd.
  • edit The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of 25% of Macquarie Airfinance Limited by Sunsuper Pty.
  • edit The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of Ignazio Messina and C.S.P.A and Roro Italia S.R.L by Marinvest S.R.L on condition that Ignazio Messina East Africa business continues to operated and managed independently of Marinvest.
  • edit Shareholders of NSE-listed Nairobi Business Ventures approved the sale of 84% of the firm to Delta International FZE of Dubai, for Kshs 83 million, pending regularity approval.

Real Estate, Tourism, & Supermarkets M&A

  • LSE-listed Network International Holdings is to acquire Nairobi-headquartered DPO Group for $288 million worth of shares of Network. The firm whose payment services are used in 19 African countries, was affected by COVID disruptions of travel and the tourism sector. DPO’s founders will get $13m worth of shares and Apis Growth Fund receives $50m of shares in Network. 
  • PrideInn Group has acquired Azure Hotel and re-opened the Kshs 1.2 billion Westlands hotel that suspended operations in March during the pandemic.  
  • Cloud9xp, an online booking service for leisure experiences and an alumnus of Nairobi Garage, has been acquired by Kenyan-based travel-tech outfit HotelOnline in a share swap deal. 
  • Tusker Mattresses announced plans to recapitalize through the sale of a majority stake that is supported by seven shareholders in its Orakam parent company. But it’s not clear if this will be enough to save the struggling retailers that initially tried to secure short-term supplier support through ring-fencing of payments.  
  • Slumberland Kenya is being transferred to Simba Foam.
  • Deal undone: Tiffany & Co. has filed a lawsuit to compel LVMH Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton to complete a merger transaction on earlier-agreed terms, noting that COVID-19 has not prevented other parties from concluding similar deals 
  • edit The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of control Of Kingdom 5-KR- 185 Ltd by Madison Hotels and Resorts. The Business Daily has this story of the sale of hotels between billionaires by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal to Binod Chaudhary.

Telecommunications, Media & Publishing M&A

  • Edelman, the largest independent global communications firm, has expanded its African footprint with the acquisition of Gina Din Corporate Communications
  • Scangroup completed a long-standing deal after a special EGM in May 2020 saw 88% of its registered shareholders participate and vote 99.98% in its favour.
  • Safaricom and Vodacom have acquired control of M-Pesa in Africa from Vodafone for Kshs 2.15 billion, with each firm paying 50% of the amount (Kshs 1.07.billion) as their share of the joint venture. 
  • Tigo has combined with Zantel. The Tanzanian firms have a combined 12.8 million customers and 7.4 million mobile money users.
  • Mettā and Nairobi Garage are combining their services to create Kenya’s largest innovation community, offering access to all their networks, while members will have access to both organizations’ workspaces throughout Nairobi and the complimentary business support services
  • Nigeria’s CcHub acquired Kenya’s iHub to create a mega Africa incubator.
  • edit French media company Groupe Canal+ SA has acquired a 6.50% stake in Multichoice Africa. This comes after Canal+ acquired African film and television studio ROK in 2019.
  • Deal undone: Telkom Kenya and Airtel have mutually agreed to end their pursuit of a joint venture. This came after conditions were raised that delayed the deal.  
  • edit The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of 20% of Icolo Limited By Prif Africa Holding.
  • edit Autochek.Africa is buying out Ringier One Africa Media’s Cheki and will operate in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya where Cheki runs new and second-hand car sales, car importation services, car loans and financing.

Other M&A

  • Sport: The legendary Williams F1 racing was taken over by US investment firm Dorilton Capital. Covid and a sponsor departure were triggers for the deal. 
  • Foreign Aid: The United Kingdom, which is leaving the European Union, plans to merge the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – to become the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
  • Art: The art prize collection of the bankrupt Abraaj Group was acquired by a Saudi art organization Art Jameel and will be hosted at their space in Dubai. 

Konza and Smart City Solutions, post-COVID

This week, the Konza Technopolis Development Authority (Konza) hosted a webinar, with the theme was using digital technologies in the planning for the future of cities after coronavirus (COVID-19) has passed.  

It was unique in that it featured two of the original main movers behind Konza; Bitange Ndemo, the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication, whose’ brainchild was Konza and Mugo Kibati who was the Director-General of Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Board, and Konza was one of their flagship projects.

The day’s main speaker was Jerome Ochieng, the current Principal Secretary ICT and Innovation who said it was exciting to see a planned city being built from scratch. He said that previous cities had traditionally developed services in silos, but this had led to high costs, waste, and duplication. But he said, going forward with Konza, and using smart cities planning and technology, they would be able to improve the quality and performance of urban living spaces, while reducing energy consumption, service management costs, greenhouse gas emissions. He added that COVID was one of the greatest advertisers of technology – to solve challenges we encounter and that such events will drive how the government will provide services post-COVID.

He highlighted they had been pre-occupied with building the necessary and extensive “basement” work of horizontal infrastructure at Konza- underground utility tunnels (for fibre, power, water and sensors), access roads for pedestrians, BRT etc. These would serve the current and future service needs of the smart city, but that once that was done, other construction projects would take off quickly.

At this stage, Konza, which is 30% done, will also host a permanent building of the national data centre that will be ready by year-end while the city will also host the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, according to Konza CEO, John Tanui.

Mugo Kibati said we are now in an era of lower touch, and lower contact for all our interactions and this was happening through technology. Telkom Kenya, the company he now leads, is aiming to position itself to serve these current and future needs as, even after COVID ends, as some changes it has induced, will remain the norm and sustain long after the pandemic. he cited how residential homes now require more bandwidth as more people are working and schooling from home, ordering food and getting medical attention via telemedicine etc. He said that in smart cities, and with more data being generated, that require predictability and planning, telcos will have to move up the value chain to be part of that future.

Bitange Ndemo said that when Kenya did the open data initiative, they had to host a lot of data outside of the country, but that this would not happen any more now that there is a data centre at Konza. He highlighted how there would be opportunities to use data locally to upscale SME’s.

Adam Lane, Deputy CEO Government Affairs at Huawei Kenya, said that Konza will have an intelligent operation centre, comprising network, cloud, platform and then apps, that will provide management for the smart city, like other centres that Huawei has built. He said that on a smart city street, you do not have a pole for lighting, a pole for electricity, a pole for telecommunication etc.