Category Archives: Kenya privatization

Ethiopia privatization window opens

Several weeks of rapid news has seen Ethiopia privatization of state enterprises proposed as one of several changes to sustain what has been one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies. This all comes in the wake of a new era under Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali, who is leading change within the country and outside, such as on his recent visit to Kenya.

In the last few days the Ethiopian government has lifted a state of emergency, signaled an effective cease-fire with Eritrea, released long-jailed political prisoners, reshuffled security leaders, launched e-visa’s for all international arrivals with a view to dropping visa requirements for all other African nationals, and opened the Menelik palace to tourists among other changes, which have drawn comparisons or Abiy to Mikhail Gorbachev in Russia in the 1980’s.

The surprise was statements about plans for the massive Ethiopia privatization program in which the government would sell minority stakes in roads, logistics, shipping, and prime assets like Ethiopian Airlines, which just took delivery of its 100th aircraft, a Boeing 787, and which is the centrepiece of a logistical, tourism and business hub plan for the country. The program would also extend to two sectors that have been off-limits to foreign investors up to now;  banking and telecommunications.

For comparison, a 2012 list of Eastern Africa’s largest banks had the Commerical Bank of Ethiopia as the largest in the region followed by National Bank of Mauritius and KCB in Kenya, and at last measure (2017) had about  $17 billion of assets, 1,250 branches, and 16 million customers. And in telecommunications, Ethio Telecom, a government-owned monopoly has about 20 million customers in a country with population of 107 million (many of them children), but still a low penetration rate. 

Ethiopia privatization of state enterprises is not a new item, but it is one which the government has put side as it pursued an industrialization model that has seen the building of new infrastructure, new factories, industrial parks, agro-processors, leather parks, vehicles manufacturers etc. but which has not been equally felt by the country’s large and young population – and this has seen wide-spread protests and a state of emergency that ushered in a new leadership with a new prime minister (Abiy). 

It also came after a lengthy story in the FT – Financial Times on the state of Ethiopia’s economy which cited the fatigue that China has with large investments and some projects that are operating below capacity coupled with the high government debt and shortage of foreign currency  – Two investors said that Sinosure, China’s main state-owned export and credit insurance company, was no longer extending credit insurance to Chinese banks for projects in Ethiopia as willingly as it used to. It notes that imports into the country are four times that of exports from  Ethiopia leading to the shortage of foreign currency.

The changes in Ethiopia could also be a warning to other African counties that have been molded in a similar way to Ethiopia model, with heavy borrowing from China and building infrastructure and mega-projects for the future.  When the Ethiopia privatization program starts it’s unclear who will benefit and if Chinese companies will be given priority given that they have invested for a long period in Ethiopia compared to other new companies, such as Vodacom and MTN, who are excited about the prospects that are now opening up

Kenya 2018 Budget Policy and the Big Four

Kenya’s National Treasury has published the 2018 budget policy statement  (BPS) – titled “The Big Four” – creating jobs, transforming lives.

It has lots of mentions of the “Big Four” agenda which President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled in his Jamhuri Day speech (December 12, 2017) which are targets of what his government will aim to achieve in its second term. According to the BPS, the “Big Four” Plan (items are) increasing the share of manufacturing sector to GDP; ensuring all citizens enjoy food security and improved nutrition by 2022; expanding universal health coverage; and delivering at least five hundred thousand (500,000) affordable housing units.

BPS excerpts; 

  • The BPS assumes that GDP will be between 6% to 7% over the next five years, and nominal GDP will rise from Kshs 6.7 trillion ($66 billion) in 2016  to Kshs 14.3 trillion ($139 billion) in 2022.
  • The BPS assumptions are premised on improved collections and efficiencies at Kenya’s 47 developed counties to collect revenues, and for them to have and adhere to realistic budgets. Also, that there be reductions in duplication of roles, resulting in simpler government structure. Counties wages as a percent of their revenue has been 37-38% for the last three years.
  • The BPS cites a goal to double income tax from Kshs 625 billion in 2016-17 to Kshs 1.26 trillion in 2021-22 and mentions that a review of Kenya’s income tax code will be completed by June 2018 to enhance tax compliance and ensure the stability of tax revenue. 
  • The BPS notes that interest payments over the same period will rise from Kshs 271 billion to Kshs 491 billion and wages from Kshs 336 billion to Kshs 563 billion. Elsewhere it projects that wages which were 30% of gross national resource in 2016/17 will progressively reduce in subsequent years down to 23.4% in 2021/22.
  • The BPS cites public-private partnership projects that will be undertaken during the 2018-2020 period such as a second Nyali bridge, Lamu coal plant, Lamu port (3 berths),  Lamu-Garissa-Isiolo highway, airport rehabilitation car parks, conference centers, affordable housing projects, and even a Likoni crossing aerial cable car.
  • There are also 22 energy projects – a mix of geothermal, solar, wind, from which the government commits to purchase energy. These include Lamu coal ($360 million per year) and the Lake Turkana wind (€ 110 million per year).

Some risks noted in the BPS include, counties failing to collect & remit revenue, and the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation only covers 9.2% of bank assets (the figure should be closer to international goal of 20% to protect against systemic bank risks). Others are terrorist attacks, natural disasters, climate change, disruptions to mobile money systems, unfunded pension liabilities, and most important the sustainability of public debt.

Kenya Government DFI merger plan

This week came a report of circular regarding the merger of several government banks and development finance institutions (DFI’s). The institutions targeted to form the mega-development bank include the Kenya Industrial Estates, Uwezo Fund, Youth Enterprise Development Fund, Women Enterprise Development Fund, Development Bank of Kenya and Industrial Development Bank of Kenya.

Earlier, a Report of The Presidential Taskforce on Parastatal Reforms that was presented to President Kenyatta in October 2013 had proposed merging Kenya Industrial Estates, IDB Capital, Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation, and the Agricultural Finance Corporation. The rationale was that they were all fragmented, sector-specific, ineffective DFI’s with overlapping mandates that should be merged into a Kenya Development Bank (KDB). The committee also proposed the creation of a new Kenya Export-Import Bank (Kenya EXIMBANK) to promote Kenya’s exports through the provision of export and import finance and related supporting activities.

This is not new, but a variation of an older plan to merger government-owned, or controlled, banks. It now excludes two banks that may or not be in talks – KCB has been linked to a move to acquire National Bank. It also leaves out Consolidated Bank, the Kenya Tourism Development Corporation, and the Agricultural Financial Corporation, but now includes new government entities that have been created to advance funding to special groups like industrial entrepreneurs, women and youth entrepreneurs.

But speaking at an event launching a partnership between the Youth Enterprise Development Fund and the UBA Kenya Foundation, YEDF Chairman, Ronnie Osumba,  said that the pending DFI merger would take into consideration the continuity of all ongoing affirmative action fund programs.

EDIT May 15, 2018

 

At the second cabinet meeting for 2018, chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Cabinet:

  • Approved the merger of the  Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC), IDB Capital and the Tourism Finance Corporation to create the Kenya Development Bank, a single cross-sector development finance institution with sufficient scale, scope, and resources to play a catalytic role in Kenya’s economic development.
  • Approved the proposed Public Finance Management (Biashara Kenya Fund) Regulations, 2018 to guide the operations of the proposed Biashara Kenya Fund which will be established after the proposed merger of Uwezo Fund, Youth Enterprise Development Fund, Women Enterprise Development Fund and Micro and Small Enterprise Authority (MSEA).
  • Approved the proposed Public Finance Management (Tourism Promotion Fund) Regulations, 2018 to guide the operations of the proposed Tourism Promotion Fund.

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.

KQ Capital Optimization: Government, banks, KLM, shareholders impact

Kenya Airways (KQ) shareholders have been asked to approve a balance sheet restructuring. They have known this day was coming for the last two years, but the KQ capital restructuring details will still be an initial shock to many of them.

The circular signed by Michael Joseph Chairman of the board cautions about the unsustainable debt levels at KQ and that the failure to restructure this, may lead to insolvency and closure. KQ’s Kshs 155 billion balance sheet has Kshs 113 billion of long-term debt and debt and 82 billion in current liabilities – resulting in negative 47 of KQ capital. The proposed deal will reduce the company debt by Kshs 51 billion and also unlock new funding. But this comes at a price and he cautions that minority shareholders will be significantly diluted, In this conversion of debt to equity, but they can still buy shares at a discount.

Excerpts from the 38-page shareholder circular (see investor documents

Individual shareholders:  Each ordinary share is being subdivided into 20 shares one of which is interim and 19 of which are deferred.

  • A KQ shareholder with 1,000 shares today will end up with 1,000 shares (initially they will be 250 shares) and 19,000 deferred shares. The ordinary shares will be listed on the NSE.
  • The deferred shares have no share certificate, carry no dividend or voting rights, and are not transferable (tradable). The creation of this class is to prevent an unlawful reduction of the company share capital.

Board restructuring: the Government shall have two seats on the board, while KLM will have one. The banks will have 1 director for every 5% they own (through KQ Lenders Co.). 2/3 of the board are to vote on new CEO & finance director appointments, and on partnership agreements, fleet plans, and strategy. The circular notes the changes will enable faster decision-making and less conflict at the board.

Shareholders Change:

  • Shareholding before: Kenya Government 29.8%, KLM 26.7%, IFC (9.56%), Mike Maina Kamau 4.3%, others 30%
  • Shareholding after: Kenya Government 46.5%, Kenya Banks 35.7%, KLM 13.7%, employees ESOP 1.9%, IFC 0.5%, Mike Maina Kamau 4.3% 0.2%, others 30%.
  • KLM and IFC significantly reduce their shareholding edit.
  • A new shareholders ESOP is proposed to be created and qualifying employees can buy up to 2% of the shares.

Shareholder Dilution: the existing Shareholders’ holdings of Ordinary Shares will be diluted by 95% as a result of the Restructuring and Employee Offer.

  • A shareholder with 1,000 shares will end up with 1,000 shares (initially they will be 250 shares) and 19,000 deferred shares.
  • The new shares will be consolidated after allotments are done i.e. mainly to the banks – so that meaningful trading can take place. (On completion, the company will have 7.4 billion ordinary shares and 28 billion deferred shares). KQ can’t also issue shares at discount to the nominal value, so a share split and an immediate consolidation will be done.
  • For an illustration of the dilution Mike Maina Kamau remains with 64.4 million shares but that shareholding, which was equivalent to owning over 4% of KQ, is now 0.22% assuming he does not buy new shares.
  • Shareholders can buy up to Kshs 1.5 billion of new ordinary shares, but new shares they buy are not tradable

The Government of Kenya: When he presented his budget speech earlier this year, Treasury CS Henry Rotich spoke of plans to restructure the KQ balance sheet in which the government could play a critical role and bring on board other stakeholders.

  • They had earlier provided Kshs 24 billion in loans that is being converted to equity
  • The government is will now providing in-kind contributions being the provision of government guarantees (not cash) of another 54 billion to US EXIM bank and Kshs 23 billion to Kenya banks.

KQ Capital and Kenya Banks: Kenyan banks are owed Kshs 23 billion plus interest, which they will convert to equity in a debt restructuring.,

  • Also, a group of Kenyan banks has agreed to provide Kshs 18.1 billion in new financing.
  • Eight Kenyan banks signed in on the deal on July 14.
  • Kenya banks have two options of how to participate – either to convert debt into equity or to subscribe to a new “Kenya Lenders Co” in a secured debt arrangement. If any Kenyan bank that has lent to the airlines does not indicate its preference, it is deemed to have accepted the equity route – but a majority has opted for the scheme. These novel agreements are part of the new companies act that allows companies to discuss distress debts with banks as long as 75% of creditors approve.
  • KQ Lenders Co. Ltd will be permitted to divest the Ordinary Shares it holds in KQ through the NSE and the sale proceeds will be used by MTC Trust Services to repay the Kenyan Banks loans;

KLM: will invest Kshs 7.5 billion through in-kind contributions of Kshs 2.7 billion, and will also subscribe for Kshs 5 billion (Kshs 2.5 billion of share in two phases) after settling some terms on employee number and aircraft leases.

  • Also, the recently criticized master cooperation agreement between KQ and KLM (signed in December 1995) shall be terminated.
  • KLM in-kind contributions include the slot (takeoff/landing rights) at London Heathrow currently used by KQ, and certain IT systems.

Don’t go to court: the circular warns that:

  • The key risk in relation to the Scheme is that creditors and other stakeholders dispute the process, which may result in delays or in it being unsuccessful
  • if the Restructuring is not implemented, there will be no amendments to any of the Existing Indebtedness and there will be no new money from KLM or the Government.

Way forward The circular from the Chairman notes that:

  • shareholders representing over 56% of the issued and outstanding Ordinary Shares have indicated their intention to vote in favour of the Resolution at the EGM. Such Shareholders include the Government and KLM.
  • .. Accordingly, the Board unanimously recommends all Shareholders to vote in favour of the Resolution to be proposed at the EGM as they intend to do in respect of the beneficial shareholdings of the entities they represent on the Board
  • Transactions are expected to be completed in August 2017, which includes the shareholders meeting (EGM) on August 7 in Nairobi and signatures from aircraft financiers and the banks.
  • 75% of shareholders have to vote at the EGM for the KQ capital restructuring to move forward.

KQ Capital Advisors: PJT Partners, Bowmans, White & Case (both legal), Kestrel stockbrokers, Redhouse, KPMG auditors, Deloitte (financial advisors), C&R Registrars. The exercise will cost about Kshs 25M with 9.8 million for lawyers and 14.4 million for transaction advisors

$1 = Kshs 103