Category Archives: Investing in Kenya

Telkom nationwide coverage across Kenya

Telkom has got extensive coverage across Kenya. For companies, Telkom Enterprise offers the best options in three different packages of data and voice products in all counties that can be tailor-made to suit any customer’s needs:

  • BVPN (business VPN) provides connectivity for large companies and is available in all the 47 counties of Kenya. BVPN can also be extended to even more remote areas using satellite and is scalable which means a company can add new locations with voice and video. This is ideal for large companies with a presence in different locations that want security and which have sensitive, encrypted data that needs to be transferred nationwide.
  • JamboNet is a dedicated access offering with fast reliable Internet for businesses that range from 1 MBPS to 150 MPBS. An online customer portal enables monitoring and reporting and the service is backed by a strict service level agreement (SLA) that aims at 99.9% uptime.  The quality of JamboNet service does not degrade as more users join on, and it comes with a firewall as a standard. JamboNet is available nationwide and there is also a wireless option to extend the service to areas that don’t have cable already
  • E@zyNet is an unlimited fixed bandwidth solution for SME customers. There are different monthly cost packages starting at an affordable price of Kshs 3,499 (~$35 per month). It is easy to start and reliable, offering high download speeds and flexibility for users.

Telkom, which has data centres and cloud storage also manages the Kenya government’s National Optic Fibre Backbone (NOFBI) – a national inland fibre optic cable network. Telkom has also invested in VSAT, satellite communications in remote areas, a terrestrial fibre optic cable network, GSM, and 4G LTE. Other products that are optional include free intra-company calls (within a local user group), wireless landline, fleet management, and County government solutions and other value-added services designed for hospitals and schools.

According to the latest Communications Authority of Kenya quarterly report (December 2016), the number of fixed fibre optic subscriptions grew by 18% during the quarter while that of fixed cable modem subscriptions increased by 2.8%. In a statement, Managing Director of the Enterprise Division at Telkom Kenya, Kris Senanu said “success for a Kenyan enterprise should be seen in the lens of reduced downtime through reliable connectivity; operational efficiency through uninterrupted connectivity; great customer service and clear communication lines with stakeholders and ultimately revenue-generating that leads to business growth.”

Using the AMIB50 ETF to track Africa Investments

A new fund offers South African investors a chance to invest in 50 large, non-South African companies that are listed on other exchanges and in other countries across Africa. The AMI Big50 ex-SA AMIB50  ETF (exchange traded fund) was launched at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on April 20.

The ETF is promoted by investment firm – Cloud Atlas Investing and targets institutional and retail investors, offering them a way to invest away from the Rand and South Africa. The current basket of the fund is composed of Itissalat Al Maghrib (Maroc Telecom) (20.6% of the fund), Coml.Intl.Bank (Egypt) (11%), Lafargeholcim Maroc, Guaranty Trust Bank, Safaricom (4.3%), Nigerian Breweries, Tanzania Breweries, Mcb Group Ltd, Attijariwafa Bank and Delta.

In terms of countries, exposure to Morocco 28.4%, Egypt 19.3%, Nigeria 13.7% and Kenya 11%, and for sectors, the spread is banking shares 29.3%, telecom firms 27.8%, food & beverage 17.7%, and industrial ones 14.6%.

Investors need to have a brokerage or custody account in South Africa to buy the AMIB50 and the fund management fee is a total of 1.17% per year.

Rediscovering Telkom Kenya

Monday’s nationwide outage of telephone, internet data, and mobile money services showed the practical need for people and companies to have viable alternatives for their daily connectivity. One of the oldest companies in this space is Telkom Kenya.

While it has been in the news more for its foray into mobile phone business under the Orange brand, other parts of the company have continued to chug along providing affordable and reliable services to customers, governments, and institutions  all across the country

Telkom Enterprise has three key connectivity products:  JamboNet for large businesses, E@synet Broadband for SME’s, and Flybox for homes and small businesses. Telkom has continued to invest and grow its infrastructure as well as through partnerships in submarine cables to extend broadband connectivity. The Telkom Kenya Entreprise division is now led Kris Senanu, long-associated  with Access Kenya and the history of internet service businesses in Kenya. Telkom manages the National Optic Fibre Backbone (NOFBI) for the Kenya Government and was recently contracted to roll out free Wi-Fi to over one thousand,  government-funded, incubation hubs in 290 constituencies around the country.

Telkom is 60% owned by Helios, an Africa-focused investment firm, and the Kenya government owns the other 40%. Other investments by Helios in Kenya include Africa Oil, Vivo Energy, and the Wananchi Group. It is also invested in Interswitch which supports financial connectivity services at a dozen Kenya banks and 1,000 ATM’s.

Nairobi Stockbrokers Take a Bath

Last week saw the release of financial results of SBG Securities (formerly CFC Stanbic Financial Services/CSFS). They are the first stockbroker (they are actually licensed as an Investment Bank) to release their 2016 results and this was done along with the release of the results of Stanbic Bank and their common parent – Stanbic Holdings.

At SBG Securities, revenue dropped from Kshs 599 to Kshs 294 million. This was mainly due to stockbrokerage commissions which reduced from Kshs 399 to Kshs 223 million. Expenses were largely unchanged except for salaries that went down from Kshs 183 to 142 million.

SBG’s pre-tax profit for the year was Kshs 3 million, which was substantially down from Kshs 277 million in 2015. Their balance sheet also reduced down from Kshs 1 billion to 648 million. SBG is the number 3 stockbroker in Kenya with 13.8% share, and in
2015, SBG was second in brokerage commission behind Kestrel Capital.

In a notice sent to clients, they reported that turnover at the Nairobi Securities Exchange for the year was Kshs 294 billion compared to Kshs 419 billion in 2015. Also, that market weakness is expected to continue in 2017. But they added:

A new year always starts on a high with each of us drafting our investment/ financial resolutions. As the year progresses, so do our plans and at times they don’t necessarily materialize. 2017 can be the year that you fulfill your investment resolutions by investing in shares listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange. Whilst the market has hit an 8-year low, we believe this is the time to invest.

Barclays Exiting Africa: Part II

Almost a year after Barclays Africa announced a decision by (parent) Barclays PLC to exit Africa, they released their Barclays 2016 results (PDF). While the world is now a different one after BREXIT and President Donald Trump, the exit plans are still on course.

Excerpts of the some statements released on Thursday 

  • Revenue from (the rest of) Africa) has been growing at about 16% a year, compared to 5% in South Africa, but, the rest of Africa (excluding SA) is still just 23% of revenue for Barclays Africa. They expect that rest of Africa growth should exceed South Africa’s
  • They have agreed with Barclays PLC on terms of the “separation payments and transitional services  – Barclays PLC will contribute £765m, comprising of £515m in recognition of the investment required in technology, rebranding and other separation projects, £55 million to cover separation related expenses, £195 million to terminate the existing service level agreement relating to the rest of Africa operations”.
  • Barclays PLC will contribute an amount equivalent to 1.5% of Barclays Africa market capitalization towards a black economic empowerment (BEEP) scheme and Barclays plans to create an equity plan for employees in the next 12 to 18 months.
  • They will continue to use the ‘Barclays’ brand in the rest of Africa for three years from the date on which Barclays PLC reduces its shareholding in BAGL to below 50%.
  • During 2016, Barclays PLC reduced its shareholding from 62.3% to 50.1%. Other shareholders include Public Investment Corporation (SA) 6.86%, Old Mutual Asset Managers 3.31%, Allan Gray Investment Council 2.16%, Prudential Portfolio Managers 2.01%, Schroders Plc 1.93%, BlackRock 1.69%, Vanguard Group 1.66%,  Dimensional Fund Advisors 1.65%, and Sanlam Investment Management (SA) 1.62%.

£1 is $1.25, £1 = KES 128.5, and  £1 = 16.1 ZAR.