Category Archives: Investing in Kenya

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.

Kenya’s Money in the Past: Indians in East Africa

Indian Africa, minorities of Indian-Pakistani origin in Eastern Africa, is a 484-page book with lots of information, charts, statistics and stories of the arrival and enduring impact of Indians in East Africa:

Some excerpts: 

  • Almost all Indian traders to East Africa were from the northwest (Sindh) now Pakistan, Gujarat, Punjab, and Maharashtra in India.
  • The Indian population in Kenya which fell to 78,000 in 1979 rose once again to stabilize at 100,000, half of whom acquired Kenyan nationality. The demographic resurgence was probably due to donor pressure but also favorable treatment under President Moi who got into a tactical alliance with high society to check the influence of the emerging Kikuyu middle class. Thus in 1986, Indians who had been dispossessed in 1967 returned to manufacturing, by buying out subsidiaries of multinationals.
  • Indians are in 80% of industrial sectors and control 90% of business activity in the textile industry through 50 mills and 350 other companies. In the pharmaceutical sector, they control 60%, 80% of the chemical/plastics, 80% of iron business, and 90% of electrical installation ones (French Embassy statistics).
  • 25 of the 44 banks are controlled by Kenyan Indians.
  • Family business structure: Capital raised stays with the founder (first generation) while the second generation (sons) assume managerial and administrative positions and prepare the business for expansion.
  • Business Capital: Most Kenyan Indians businesses are totally dependent on local resources unlike the perception that they get foreign capital – only 5% of 210 entrepreneurs surveyed said they had received such – and this was from expatriate parents in Britain, India, Dubai.
  • Business Finance: Bank loans are secondary sources of funding – only 33% had received them, while 67% never had. They have other informal sources of credit such as employer associations to which some Europeans and Africans all benefit – and 32% of interviewees were members of groups like the United Business Association. Suppliers are frequent credit sources for small merchants. To obtain credit, one must demonstrate honesty, good management and present minimum guarantees such as from family members, real estate collateral, and repayment schedule. There is also mutual help within communities on matters of illness, death, or when a business is failing.
  • The book has profiles of different types of duka wallahs (traditional shopkeepers) as well as chapters on the settlement and emergence of business communities in Kampala, Nakuru, and Dar es Salaam.
  • For Ismailis, health and education are their priority political commitments.

The book, edited by Michel Adam is published by Mkuki na Nyota publishers of Dar es Salaam and the French Institute for Research in Africa and distributed outside Africa by the African Books collective.

Barclays Kenya 2016 Financial Results

Today, Barclays became the first Kenyan bank to release its financial results for the year 2016, which was a tumultuous year for the Kenya banking sector.

New bank chairman Charles Muchene said the year saw challenges with new business models, interest rate caps and the announcement of the parent sale. He also praised his predecessor, F. Okello.

Thereafter CEO Jeremy Awori said that while Kenya’s economy looked stable with an enviable economic growth rate, a stable currency and moderate inflation, the dip in shares at the Nairobi Securities Exchange and profit warnings issued by various companies showed some the struggles that companies, including their customers, were going through. He added that challenges at some banks had resulted in increased regulatory scrutiny and audits on systems, anti-money-laundering, and insider lending all other banks, and Barclays had passed. Also, that  2018 will bring new rules on impairment (bad loans) and capital requirements.

They had the investment in technology by going paperless and customer focused channels including intelligent ATM’s that allow 24-hour cash deposits, as well as enhancing internet and mobile banking. They have also invested in alternative channels and were the first international bank to embrace agent banking in a deal they signed with Posta Kenya under which they would have post offices in far-off places (like Wajir) act as customer interaction points for the bank.

Bank branches handled 43% of transactions in 2016, which was down from 59% as other channels recorded increases with ATM;’s handling 34%, digital 14%, and POS 9%

Summing up the financial results for the year, Barclays assets grew by 8% to Kshs 260 billion, deposits went up 8% to Kshs 178 billion while loans went up 16% to Kshs 169 billion. Interestingly 68% of bank deposits don’t earn interest (they are in transactional accounts). Also, the loans increases were mostly in the first half of the year while those after the interest rate cap law (passed in September 2016)  were mostly existing customers topping up their loans.

Income went up 8% to Kshs 31.7 billion as expenses also went up 8% to Kshs 16.9 billion. But there was a huge jump in provision got bad loans, which more than doubled, to Kshs 3.9 billion and this resulted in pre-tax profit dipping from Kshs 12 billion to Kshs 10.8 billion. 90% of the impairments were from retail/ personal lending.

The dividend for the year will be Kshs 1 per share – comprising an interim dividend of 0.2 per share and a final dividend od 0.8 per share – unchanged from 2015. The payout will be a total of Kshs 5.43 billion (~$54 million)

Going forward, digital and automation will be key drivers to give customers better and efficient experiences. Barclays also plans launch new mobile banking products soon, and to become a financial technology partner to their customers, not just a bank.

Plane Moments: Mostly KQ

 

  • Precision Air:  Kenya Airways and it’s associate company, Precison Air Services are working on a commercial alignment with respect to pricing on joint venture routes. They have applied to Kenya’s Competition Authority for an exemption as the regulator does not allow two similar airlines to have the same ticket pricing. Read more on Precision Air in which Kenya Airways has a 41% shareholding.
  • Kenya Gets Protectionist:  Kenya is limiting the issuing of new licences for global airlines seeking to exploit the strategic Nairobi hub in a protectionist move aimed at reviving the dwindling fortunes of national carrier Kenya Airways. Transport Ministry Principal Secretary Irungu Nyakera said Kenya is doing what the US and the European Union are doing, limiting the frequency of Middle East carriers because they have realised they are killing their own airlines, leading to job losses.  
  • Tanzania is revamping its national carrier by buying new planes as part of plans to boost tourism and transport sectors.  The country received delivery of two Bombardier Q400 planes in September at a cost of $62 million and has also made initial payment for the purchase of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is expected to be delivered on June 18.
  • Nigeria airline takeovers: The takeover of the nation’s biggest airlines, Arik and Aero airlines by the undertaker, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) may have exposed some management lapses in the private sector.. some of Arik’s missteps to include “starting off its international services with the gas guzzling ultra long-range Airbus A340-500s literally guaranteeing losses on its relatively short-range services to London, South Africa, New York and Dubai. It also bought 10 of the relatively cost inefficient Boeing 737-700s used mostly by short-haul, low-cost airlines like Southwest Airlines. It only has four of the more efficient and versatile Boeing 737-800s suitable for high-capacity routes such as Lagos to Abuja and Lagos to Port Harcourt, as well as regional routes to West and Central Africa.”
  • RwandAir will start direct flights to India’s commercial centre Mumbai on April 3…it also plans to start flights to Gatwick, London’s second-busiest airport, and to the US this year as part of its strategy to serve more global markets.
  • The CEO of apologized for customer frustrations  over the last few months.  They have since introduced a new introduced a brand new Bombardier Q400 next generation aircraft to further enhance flight schedule integrity.
  • Etihad Airways Engineering has signed an agreement with Kenya Airways to perform mandatory checks on its six Boeing 787-8’s between February and October 2017.  Etihad Airways Engineering is the largest commercial aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services provider in the Middle East.