Category Archives: Investing in Kenya

Government Guarantee to Kenya Airways and Shareholding Increase

Today the Kenya government signed guarantee deals to secure Kenya Airways (KQ) continued financial support from EXIM Bank US, and a consortium of Kenya banks and also converted its debt to more equity, significantly altering the ownership structure of the airline.

The Government had advanced loans of Kshs 4.2 billion and $197million to KQ, and the debt conversion will see a 19.1% increase in their shareholding. Aside from, that Kenyan banks, which were owed $217 million, received a 38.1% shareholding in KQ in exchange for $167 million of that debt.

The $267 million government debt and bank conversions are part of a series of complex restructuring deals. The resultant shareholding of KQ will be Kenya Government 48.9%, Kenyan banks 38.1%, KLM 7.8%, and other shareholders will have 5.2%, after a  massive dilution that shareholders approved at an EGM in August 2017. Not all bank and all government debts were converted as that would have seen the government stake go above 51% and they wanted KQ to remain a private company, not a state/parastatal one. The restructured board will comprise 3 directors from the Government, 2 from the banks, and KLM will have 1 representative.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said that the guarantee and restructuring by the government was not a bailout and the Government expected repayments of dividends from KQ within the next decade. The Government had been faced with two options with regard to KQ one of which (folding the airline) it could not pursue, and it chose the other, to support the airline, for which, the Cabinet confirmed through an independent business case study by the Seabury Group, that the airline could, through shareholder support, be turned around and have a viable future. He said the capital optimization would enable the airline to trade on its own balance sheet.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said that aviation sector, led by Kenya Airways,  contributes 10% to Kenya’s GDP and was a central engine that supports other economic activities like investments, horticulture, and tourism. Also by having a strong KQ, this would strengthen the case to make Nairobi’s JKIA airport a regional hub and his Ministry was in the process of finalizing plans to add a second runway and expanding existing terminals to enable the airport to serve 12 million travelers a year.

The bank shareholding will be through KQ Lenders Co, a special purpose vehicle that will be managed by Minerva Fiduciary Services of Mauritius and the agreement was signed by Madabhushi Soundararajan a career-banker, as director.

NASA Post-Election Economic Boycott of Brookside, Bidco, Safaricom

Last week, Kenya’s opposition movement, the National Super Alliance (NASA), who boycotted the repeat presidential election held on October 26, announced an “economic liberation programme” and called on their followers to boycott the products of three companies Bidco, Brookside, and Safaricom.

What’s the link?

Brookside Dairies is associated with the family of President Uhuru Kenyatta. The company was started in 1993 and Brookside has grown to control about  44% of the processed milk market in the country, ahead of New KCC and Githunguri Dairies.

Brookside has acquired several dairy companies and still sells milk under their original brands including Tuzo, Molo Milk, Ilara and Delamere.  While the NASA statement mentions that when Jubilee took over milk farmers were getting Kshs 35 per litre while consumers paid Kshs 72 per litre, and that today farmers still get Kshs 35 while consumers pay 120 per litre, the economics of milk prices is a complex one, not attributed to the processor alone. Brookside collects milk from over 160,000 farmers every day.

Safari com: MP’s from the NASA side have  accused Safaricom, arguably Kenya’s most successful company, and some of its employees who they publicly named, of enabling  incorrect election results to be transmitted during the August 8 elections, something which the company has denied and also expressed concern that their employees had been needlessly endangered as they did their jobs and the company merely fulfilled a contract to support the 2017 Kenya general election.

NASA MP’s have gone ahead to public switch from using Safaricom to rival Airtel, even as Safaricom dealers warned of dire effects for their employees and communities.

Safaricom has 6 of its 45 shops in the Western/ Nyanza Region which is the bedrock of NASA support. Whether this is a turning  point for Airtel in Kenya as a company which has branded as Kencel, Celtel, and Zain and which has steadily lost ground and value to Safaricom over the years, remains to be seen.

But members of parliament from ODM (the main party in NASA)  have in the past voiced critical comments about some of their issues with Safaricom from even before the 2017 election –  especially during debate on the gambling and sport betting bills in the last parliament, earlier this year.

Here are some comments by Nicholas Gumbo, the then-Member of Parliament for Rarieda and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee in the National Assembly.

Then-Member of Parliament for Gem and Deputy Minority Leader, Jakoyo Midiwo threatened on more than one occasion to introduce legislation to break Safaricom.

Bidco: The edible oils company is probably the most vulnerable of the three brands, and was likely targeted because its group chairman Vimal Shah, is the chairman of MKenya Daima an offshoot of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), of which he’s a past Chairman, and which has throughout the election season been championing for respect of the election outcomes, grievances to be addressed in the constitutional ways (through the courts), for politicians to be careful about their public utterances and for normal business life to resume. KEPSA recently released a statement that read:

This is why we have consistently called Kenyans’ attention to the disastrous economic consequences of the present uncertainty which affects all Kenyans. The Private Sector having reviewed the loss and has estimated it to be about 10 per cent of the GDP equivalent to Kshs 700 Billion

Earlier this year, Bidco announced plans to become a billion dollar turnover (Kshs 103 billion) company by 2021 (their current turnover is Kshs 25 billion) by diversifying into the production of fruit juice, soft drinks, and cereal products.

Nakumatt Voluntary Administration

Troubled supermarket chain Nakumatt applied for voluntary administration to enable the chain to continue operations while freezing a mounting series of claims from banks, mall landlords, suppliers and other creditors as they seek options on how best to survive.

Nakumatt in administration

The move effectively ends the management of Atul Shah and surrenders  decision-making at Nakumatt to Peter Kahi of PKF Consulting. One of the first orders of business of the company in administration will be for Kahi to draw and publish a statement of Nakumatt’s assets and debts while separating bank ones, preferential creditors, unsecured creditors, and connected creditors. Up to now, the true and total debt has been a matter of speculation that could be up to Kshs 30-40 billion.

The Nakumatt statement reads that “the senior lenders are aware of Nakumatt’s financial position and are supportive of Nakumatt’s application for an administration order.  Further, Tusker Mattresses Limited has, subject to the Competition Authority of Kenya’s approval, undertaken to forge ahead with its investment in Nakumatt in connection with its proposed merger with Nakumatt.”

Past funding proposals prior to the Tuskys deal under consideration have not materialized. The insolvency law, which Nakumatt cites in its application for administration is among a series of new corporate laws passed in 2015 and is now focused on bringing troubled companies back to life. Aspects of the laws have been used at distressed companies including Uchumi and Kenya Airways.  Going into administration lowers the voting powers of banks, who are secured, and it gives Nakumatt power to deal with the unsecured debts.  The banks themselves were legally prevented from appointing an administrator as there have already been cases filed by some creditors asking for the liquidation of Nakumatt.

UFAA: Snooze and Lose Your Investments: Part III

Kenya’s Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) is reminding companies that there is a  deadline of November 1 to surrender all unclaimed financial assets to the authority, and that failure to remit them will attract a penalty of 1% above prime rate per month per annum.

Earlier, there was a report that as at August 8.73 billion worth of assets had been surrounded, but that the UFAA was having difficulty finding the owners. 

An asset will be declared unclaimed where one or more of the following requirements are met:

  • The records of the holder do not reflect the identity of the person entitled to the assets;
  • The holder has not previously paid or delivered the assets to the apparent owner or other person entitled to the assets;
  • The last known address of the apparent owner is in a country that does not provide by law for passage of property to the State where there is no owner or is not applicable to the assets and the holder is a permanent resident in Kenya.

Some unclaimed assets include items left in safe deposit boxes (after two years), unclaimed salary (after one year), ownership interest, dividends (3 years) and deposits after utilities (like Kenya Power after 2 years). Some unclaimed assets are created by red tape by stubborn custodians who have made it difficult for people or companies to rightfully claim their own assets.

 

Bungoma Integrated Industrial Project

The Bungoma Integrated Industrial Project (BIIP) blueprint plan by the Stevenson Group of Washington DC has appeared as a full-page advertisement in the Kenyan newspapers inviting local firms to indicate interest in participating in a mega-project that encompasses affordable housing, agribusiness, industry, dams, airports etc.

 The BIIP will be done with all the counties along the 286 kilometers of River Nzoia. The 1.5 million population Bungoma county is mainly a farming area but is also known for being the home of the Panpaper Mills, an industrial plant at Webuye town that has been rehabilitated several times by successive governments.

The BIIP projects will be implemented by Shelter Solutions, but the request is too broad, and perhaps needs to be broken to different sectors. It requires firms who should all have experience handling projects of $100 million to apply by a deadline of November 1 in writing.