Category Archives: Kenya privatization

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

KQ Restructuring extended to Banks and Shareholders

This week Kenya Airways (KQ) announced the next phase of their restructuring, with a focus on their balance sheet.

While shareholders have been aware of the erosion of their equity at the airline, the reality may still be a shock.  A Business Daily story quotes a Genghis Capital report which projects that the airlines 78,000 shareholders will be several diluted as the airline has to put some equity back on its balance sheet. In the process of conversion and providing guarantees,  the airline’s largest shareholder, the Government of Kenya, will increase its stake to 41% as that of KLM will reduce to 19%.

The support confirmed by the Cabinet included conversion of the Government of Kenya loans into equity, and provision of contingent guarantees subject to parliamentary approval in exchange for material concessions to be provided as part of the financial restructuring, which would secure future funding of the company and would more importantly NOT require Government to provide CASH as part of the restructuring.

And coming on board as new shareholders will be several commercial banks (possibly as many as 11 banks) who will own 34% of the airline after they swap some loans for equity. Kenya Airways principal bankers are Citibank, Standard Chartered, Barclays, Equity and National Bank. Some of the main facilities are aircraft loans secured from Citibank NA, Citi/JP Morgan, African Export – Import Bank/ Standard Chartered Bank as well as an engine loan from Co-operative Bank. Some banks who had advanced different short-term facilities to the airline, up through their 2015 financial year include Equity Bank, Jamii Bora, KCB, CBA, I & M, Chase, National Bank, Diamond Trust, Co-operative, NIC and Ecobank.

See also: An investor asks if it the right time to buy KQ shares? 

Kenya’s Money in the Past: Digital Kenya

Digital Kenya, by Bitange Ndemo and Tim Weiss, charts the rapid emergence of Kenya in the world of technology. Through stories and interviews with people in the sector, you learn about risk-taking and making policy from humble beginnings back in the mid-1990’s when the whole country shared 32 kbps, and the then telecom Kenya Posts & Telecommunications (KPTC) monopoly declared internet services as being illegal. At the time, KPTC was connecting about 10,000 users to the phone network, and with 77,000 potential customers waiting, they envisioned a 5% tele-density in Kenya by the year 2015. The tele-density in 2015 turned out to be 88% thanks to rapid changes that came after fibre cables and the cheaper mobile phones emerged.

One story is a narration of how, as a peace agreement was being signed in February 2008 to end the post-election violence in Kenya, the ICT Ministry managed to secure a guarantee to enable the laying of the TEAMS fibre cable that ultimately changed the face of ICT in Kenya. This came after the ministry had stepped back from another long-discussed  bureaucratic cable project – one called EASSY. This was one of the examples of government officials circumventing red tape for a good outcome. Another was the roll out of M-Pesa which is also cited here, ahead of regulations and thanks to some  individuals in government giving it their cautious blessing. Not all of them turned out well, and one case cited is of officials at the Postal Corporation sabotaging a land deal that would have led to the establishment in Nairobi of the headquarters of a multinational telecommunications organization.

There are many other stories that show issues of privatization, race, the lack of vision & finance, tech startups, the need for skills to scale, and the disconnect between local capital & the tech sector. It also shows the disconnect of ICT with both formal banking and also with the agricultural sector, two crucial links yet to be adequately bridged in Kenya.

Thanks to the Ford Foundation, the books is available free of charge and a free book download can be obtained.

Oil Pipeline, Economics & Politics

It’s been reported that the oil pipeline from Uganda is going to go through Tanzania, not Kenya. Two forgotten facts about the Uganda oil decision are that; (1) President Museveni of Uganda has been steadfast that he wanted to refine oil in Uganda, not export raw crude (2) Uganda’s oil has been said to be waxy or heavy. This means it would require complex heating to keep it flowing along a complex oil pipeline through the rift valleys and hills – to the coast of Kenya.

M7 poster 2

The cost, insecurity and difficulty of building infrastructure have been cited reasons that Uganda opted to go through Tanzania. Still Kenya has several LAPSSET projects on the cards including an oil pipeline to go to Lamu where there would be a new highway, railway, coal plant and modern, deep-sea port.

Pipeline Impact

Last year at the TDS Nairobi summit, during the 10th  Ministerial Conference (MC10) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a session was held on local content in extractive (and oil) industries. Some interesting comments there included:

  • It is a legitimate objective for any resource rich country to try to maximize the value of its resources.
  • If a country puts restrictions on raw exports, it may distort the local economy; it creates artificial demand – and if it is not efficient, local related industries will not survive.
  • Kenya energy expert Patrick Obath suggested that Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan have to talk together and implement projects together for projects like the oil pipeline to be viable. That would also have to happen to get more value-addition from the oil in the countries e.g. can the countries plan to get fertilizer from oil?
  • With mining, you have 20 years of opportunity for local suppliers and jobs, but with an oil pipeline that’s only there in the beginning, then goes away once the pipeline is built (there wont be many local jobs after, and communities don’t get an economic boom from having an oil pipeline passing through their land..which may lead to some local frustration).

More on Kenya Pipeline:

oil tankers

  • The Kenya Pipeline Company is charged with transporting and storing of petroleum products.
  • A (presidential task force on parastatal reforms proposes the Treasury incorporate a holding company known as the Government Investment Corporation (GIC), into which Kenya Pipeline Company should be transferred to determine (its) intended privatization.
  • Meanwhile Kenya Pipeline is continuing with its projects including replacing the current Mombasa-Nairobi Pipeline.