Category Archives: Investing in Kenya

Knight Frank on High Net Worth Kenyans – HNWIs

Knight Frank has released its report on wealthy Kenyans or HNWIs (high-net-worth individuals)  whose number and wealth grew in 2018, which was considered a difficult year for the country with the increased cost of living, credit shortage, and post-election economic slowdown.

According to the Knight Frank Wealth Report, the number of Kenyan HNWIs, with net worths, excluding their primary homes, of over $1 million (Kshs 100 million) grew by 306 to reach 9,482 individual. It noted that there were also 82 “ultra-wealthy” individuals, with net worths of Kshs 3 billion, residing in Nairobi.

Some characteristics of the group of dollar millionaires (which also draws from an Attitudes Survey by Knight Frank, among other reports):

  • Home ownership: First and second homes make up 45% of their wealth. Kenyan HNWI’s own an average of 2.7 homes, while those in South Africa own an average of four homes.
  • 18% of HNWI’s bought new homes in 2018 in the country, and 8% bought homes abroad,. 22% plan to buy new homes in the country this year with the drop in luxury home prices and unfavourable economy in Kenya last year considered a good opportunity for property investments. 39% own investment properties in Kenya and 22% have investment properties overseas. 
  • Investment Portfolios: 25% of HNWI investments are in equities (company shares), 22% for properties that earn income, 22% in cash and 20% in bonds. Just 3% goes to private equity – and this has been a sore point for upcoming young companies who have to turn overseas to get equity funding.  
  • Local Preferences:  The report notes that governments around the world are targeting global wealth, and 24% of the ultra-wealthy Kenyans have second passports or dual nationalities but only 9% are considering emigrating with an indicated preference for the UK, Canada and the USA. Half of them educate their children overseas for primary and secondary school and 65% of them send their children overseas for university education. 

  • HNWI’s allocated 3% of their wealth to luxury investments such as arts, wine and classic cars, among other collectables, with the majority collecting cars and jewellery followed by art and furniture. Whiskey and Chinese ceramics also feature, while gold gets 1%.  The Report mentions that EABL has a mini mentorship program to woo more Kenyans to invest in collectible whiskies. 
  • Generational Wealth: Transferring wealth is still a delicate matter among Kenya’s rich, with only 43% of respondents to the Attitudes Survey saying their clients have robust succession plans in place to pass their wealth to the next generation. 

Turning Dreams into Hotels – Angama and Hemingways

From recent social media posts, we have two tales about how two award-winning hotels came to be built.

Angama: The story of Angama was published back in 2017 but was re-shared this week in a newsletter from the lodge. It was contained in a blog that was written by the founder on the putting together of finding the right partners and putting together a project team and how they managed to execute on a design and vision to build a 10,000 square meter lodge on a cliff in the Mara, in just ten months. This came after eight months of chasing funding.

Hemingways:  The story of Hemingways, is from an interview of the Chairman of Hemingways Holdings, Dicky Evans by journalist Joy Doreen Biira.

He narrates how they operated a hotel in Watamu on the Kenyan coast for 30 years before deciding that there was an opportunity to do a hotel property in the capital city of Kenya. Then, on to the search for an ideal location, acquiring the land, growth by acquiring other companies, working with planners and neighbours, sourcing environmental permits, utilities etc. all to build and fit out what became Hemingways Nairobi at a total cost $22 million. To do this, they also got some funding from I&M Bank, and also invested in other properties in the Mara and in Naivasha and are doing renovations and expansion into new apartments at Watamu.

The importance of partnerships comes in both stories; Hemingways at Watamu partners with other hotels in Nairobi, which don’t have properties as the Coast, to host tourists who want a  private luxury experience at the beach, while Angama, in another post, narrates how local airlines came together to reduce the flying time for their tourists moving between the Mara in Kenya and Serengeti in Tanzania to just a few hours – eliminating an extremely  long process of several flights through Nairobi, Kilimanjaro, and Arusha and airports.

In the two posts, there are unique insights you rarely hear local investors talk about such as how much money they put have invested into their projects, the process of acquiring land, and how infrastructure developments lead to new investment opportunities and possibilities. Also, the day-to-day running and management, and the use of expatriate project managers is a theme that runs through the stories of the two properties that were built quite fast and which are now receiving global accolades for excellence.

Some of the recent awards the hotels have been feted for include the “Best Resort in the Middle East and Africa” by Conde Nast Traveller for Angama, while Hemingways was named the “Best Hotel in Kenya” in three categories (top 10 hotel, top luxury, top service) by Trip Advisor.

Bank Roundup: January 2019

The boards of NIC and CBA banks confirmed their plans to go ahead with a merger to create the largest bank in Africa by customer numbers. Serving over 40 million customers in 5 countries, the combined entity will have Kshs 444 billion in assets (~ $4.4 billion).

Currently, they are both at 115 billion of loans and have differences in deposits with 145 billion at NIC to 191 billion at CBA and customer numbers of 142,000 at NIC to 41 million at CBA. They had relatively similar customer numbers prior to CBA’s launch of M-Shwari in partnership with Safaricom. 

Going forward they aim to obtain shareholder approval in Q1, obtain regulatory approval in Q2 and have the new entity commence operations in Q3 of 2019. Currently, NIC has 26,000 shareholders and is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) while CBA has 34 shareholders (20 individual, 14 corporations) including Enke Investments (24.91%), Ropat Nominees (22.50%), Livingstone Registrars (19.90%) and  Yana Investments (11.14%). The merger will be effected through share swaps that will result in NIC shareholders owning 47% and CBA shareholders 53% of the new entity whose shares will remain listed on the NSE.

MCB in Kenya:  Leading Mauritius Lender MCB Group has officially opened its representative office in Nairobi. The largest and oldest bank in Mauritius, with $12 billion in assets and a presence in nine countries, it had been licensed in Kenya back in 2015 and it will bank on its new office to gauge opportunities in the Kenyan market and build strategic relationships.

The 19th largest bank in Africa by assets, it is listed in Mauritius and has 19,000 shareholders. It has a strategic objective of growing its international footprint and expanding non bank activities. It has 1 million customers, 3,500 employees and 55 branches but, as it was communicated at the launch, they have no intention of opening branches in Kenya or East Africa.

Ethiopia Bank summary: Asoko Insight gave a summary report of the Ethiopian banking sector, parts of which are only available to subscribers. While some foreign investment is expected in Ethiopia, the banking sector is already privatized with fifteen of the country’s eighteen banks all having private local owners. The state-owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia is the largest bank in the East Africa region with 1,280 branches and earns 67% of the sector profits in the country.  It has revenue of $1.3 billion, while 11 (other) banks, have revenues of between $50 million and $500 million, suggesting a more concentrated market in terms of size.

Tanzania:  NMB bank has waived several bank charges for their customers from February 1 including account opening, monthly maintenance, transaction fees, dormant account reactivation, and internal transfers – all in a bid to promote finance inclusion in the country.

Meanwhile, several Tanzania banks have a series of new managing directors including NIC Bank, Akiba Commercial Bank and Bank of Africa Tanzania

Family Bank pled guilty in the NYS case:

Diamond Trust CEO questioned.

Renault Trucks launch in East Africa with CMC

In Nairobi this week, Renault Trucks launched a new Range K line as part of an ambitious plan to expand in Eastern Africa. The Range K is a versatile, rugged truck that is designed for local owners engaged in a variety of sectors such as long-distance haulage to neighbouring countries and consumer goods delivery, or rugged conditions like mining and construction operations.

Renault Trucks are part of the Volvo Group and are completely separate from the Renault car company. In Kenya, Renault Trucks are exclusively distributed by the CMC Group, which was acquired by Majid Al Futtaim Auto in 2014. Renault Trucks sold 55,000 of their award-winning line of trucks in 2018. They lead in Franco-phone (Northern, Western, and Central) Africa, and their plans to expand further in Eastern and Southern Africa, led to a partnership deal with CMC, under Majid Al Futtaim Auto.

CMC Group, which is now in 3 countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania), plans to grow to 10 countries – including Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Burundi Zambia, Zimbabwe Malawi over the next few years and the global brand of Renault Trucks will be part of that push. CMC Group will sell K440 (Range K) series and C440 Renault Truck model.

The Range K’s are fitted with robust chassis and heavy-duty robotized gearbox, which make them easier for their drivers. The trucks all have Optidrive Xtrem, described as the best gearbox in the market, which is a clutch-less manual gearbox. Drivers have an adjustable steering wheel with controls similar to a private car and there is a 7-inch screen for them to view all vehicle settings during operations.

The Range K trucks are designed can carry up to 13 tons per axle and they have heavy-duty “fifth wheels'” that can pull trailers of over 33 tons in this region with a range of over 1,000 kilometers on a single diesel tank. The trucks have load sensors and low range gears for use on project work like street sweeping, tarmac laying and water-spraying. They have electronic parking brakes and hill-start aids that prevent roll-back, and with drum brakes on all wheels that can go for up to 750,000 kilometres without needing change.

The K440 trucks have high ground clearance with engine under-guards and are designed to manoeuvre in tight spaces and climb out of hilly places like construction sites without damaging the underbelly of the trucks. The vehicle design encompasses steel protection of parts that are sensitive like headlights and license plates, so they are not damaged at rough worksites. For companies, there is also a large front advertising area above the radiator grilles, which itself easily opens to allow for drivers to do quick maintenance checks.

At the launch, key managers of CMC and Renault Trucks highlighted how operating expenses take up 76% of the ownership cost of a truck for investors – with fuel accounting for 37%, driver costs 23% and repairs for another 16%. Renault configures trucks for each owner in terms of axle ratios, braking and power modes. There is also mandatory driver training to ensure reliable vehicle usage while reducing fuel consumption and maintenance costs with the goal of having the trucks always available and working on the road. The trucks come with an international 12-month warranty and CMC also offers start-and-drive 5-year contracts and personalized maintenance plans in addition to after-sales services and genuine parts at its wide network of distribution centres around East Africa.

CMC Group has entered a partnership that will see Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers assemble Renault Trucks from CKD’s at Thika, and which the French Ambassador said would create 200 skilled jobs in the country.

Also at the launch, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Peter Munya, spoke of the government plans to increase manufacturing’s share of the economy through the formulation of policies and tax incentives that would secure investments by auto manufacturers to set up more assembly plants in Kenya.

Looking to the future, Renault Trucks plan to launch a line of all-electric trucks, from 2019, for Europe, but sadly not for East Africa, yet.

Bank Rankings 2018 Part II: New Entrants

Following an earlier ranking of the top banks based on their asset size at the beginning of the year, what are Kenya’s top banks likely to be, nominally based on asset size at the end of the year? In 2018, Interest rate caps and IFRS9 have had an impact on bank performance while the departures of Imperial and Chase banks were announced.

Ranking using September 2018 numbers 

1. KCB Group – Kenya bank assets of Kshs 594 billion assets (and group assets of Kshs 684 billion).

2. Equity – Kenya bank assets of Kshs 424 billion (and group assets of Kshs 560 billion).

* 3 CBA/NIC – combined assets of Kshs 425 billion (as at September 2018) – if an announced merger deal is approved and completed. CBA and NIC are ranked 9 and 10 by assets, and will leap-frog Cooperative Bank, Barclays Kenya, Diamond Trust, Standard Chartered Kenya, Stanbic and Investment & Mortgages (I&M) banks.

4. Co-op Bank Kenya – asses of Kshs 398 billion.

Other new and interesting bank changes this year; 

12.  State-owned National Bank is in search of a shareholder deal to boost capital.

15.  SBM Kenya. The State Bank of Mauritius completed a carve-out and rebranding of assets, staff, branches and customers of Chase Bank in August. For the third quarter of 2018, it reported assets of Kshs 75.5 billion up from 11.7 billion in January 2018. It now has customer loans of Kshs 12.4 billion, customer deposits of Kshs 53.6 billion, and government securities of Kshs 34.8 billion. SBM entered Kenya two years ago by taking over Fidelity Bank that had assets of Kshs 15 billion in 2015 for just $1. KCB also is expected to conclude a takeover deal for collapsed Imperial Bank in 2019.

39. Mayfair Bank was licensed to operate in June 2017 and began operations later in August. Mayfair now has Kshs 5.3 billion in assets and operates three branches in Nairobi and Mombasa.

41 Dubai Islamic Bank – Kenya (DIB Kenya) with Kshs 4.1 billion in assets was licensed in April 2017. It, is the third Shariah-only bank in Kenya, after Gulf African (No. 23 with Kshs 32 billion of assets) and First Community (No. 31 with Kshs 16 billion assets). DIB Kenya is a fully-owned subsidiary of Dubai Islamic Bank which is one of the largest Islamic banks in the world.

$1 = Kshs 102.