Category Archives: Kenya taxation

Depositary Receipts for Afreximbank Investors

Afreximbank, an African multilateral financial institution, is raising equity of up to $300 million and expanding its shareholder base by selling depositary receipts backed by Class D shares which will be listed and traded on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius.

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) depositary receipts private placement which opened on July 25, and today in Nairobi, representatives of the bank, State Bank of Mauritius (SBM Holdings), and CBA Group (Kenya) met institutional investors as Kenyan pension and fund managers are a key target for the offer. The depositary receipts have also been marketed to Nigerian investors.

Mauritius has long been a financial gateway to India, with over 1,000 funds there overseeing investments in India. But SBM Holdings Chairman Kee Chong Li, was proud to  say that the depositary receipts arrangement was a historic first for shares of  a pan-African bank, arranged by African advisers, to be listed on an African stock exchange.

Afreximbank, headquartered in Cairo, aims to narrow the trade financing gap in Africa, estimated at $120 billion annually by offering intra-Africa trade finance products including local content finance (Nigeria and Angola oil) , special risks finance, a countercyclical trade liquidity Facility (COTRALF – which has provided $8 billion to African central banks and commercial banks in 2016) guarantees, construction & tourism finance, and one for medical tourism.

Afreximbank has 135 shareholders in four different classes: Class “A”- comprising African governments, central banks (include Central Banks of Egypt (9.83%) and Nigeria (7.33%), Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (6.74%), banks of Uganda and Ghana, governments of Nigeria (6.17%), Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya –  in total, 43 Class A shareholders  own 63% of the bank), Class “B” – African financial institutions (including SBM Holdings, Nigeria, Egyptian banks – National (6.62%), Misr and du Caire – who combined own 26%), Class “C” made up of non-African financial institutions (13 shareholders own 10% including China Eximbank (5.48%), Standard Chartered) and a new Class “D” open to individuals that was created in 2012.

Afreximbank has a $12 billion balance sheet which includes $10 billion of loans. For 2016, net interest income was$273 million, and net earning were $113 million – of which they paid $37 million dividends. In terms of their exposure, 68% of lending were to financial institutions, then 16% to the energy sector, while geographical, lending is 43% to West Africa and 42% to North Africa, then 7% to Southern Africa and 4% in East Africa.

About the depositary receipts:

  • New class D shares and the depositary receipts are aimed at sophisticated long-term investors such as pension funds and wealthy individuals.
  • The depositary receipts will be listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius.
  • The 6,977 Afreximbank Class D shares are the form of 69.77 million depositary receipts (every 10,000 depositary receipt supports 1 class D share).
  • This is a private placement, and the minimum investment is $30,000. It runs from 25 July to 22 September.
  • The listing will be on 4 October at Mauritius. Currently, Afreximbank shares are not listed anywhere, but, after Mauritius, they may consider listing the depositary receipts in Nairobi and Lagos.
  • Holders of depositary receipts will be entitled to receive dividends as class D shareholders
  • The shares are dollar-denominated which is a stable currency. The placement in Mauritius where there are no capital gains or dividend taxes, and, in addition, the SBM Chairman said that Mauritius will grant residency to (large) investors who buy $500,000 worth of depositary receipts.
  • The target for the Class D depositary receipts was $100 million from African investors, but they got very positive response from beyond Africa that’s more than double.
  • The deal is being handled by SBM Mauritius Asset Managers as the lead arranger, and co-transaction advisors are CBA Capital and Lion’s Head Global Partners.

Urban Inflation Index: July 2017

Comparing prices and inflation in Nairobi to four and five years ago. 

Price and inflation comparisons are made a bit difficult by the unprecedented (in recent years) shortage of certain food commodities. Back in 2008 as post-election violence rocked the country, supermarkets opening shop, receiving supplies, stocking shelves and selling fresh foodstuffs and household items were seen as one of the barometers that life was getting back to normal. But going into the August 8 elections, several supermarkets have had empty shelves, notably at Kenya’s largest chain, Nakumatt that is limping under debt, and empty shelves, with lawsuits from landlords and key suppliers and a delayed shareholder deal. Unlike Uchumi who faced a similar situation just over a year ago, Nakumatt has not shown humility in asking for a bailout from the government or relief from suppliers and partners.

On to the index

Gotten Cheaper (in four years)

Finance: Bank loans are 14.0% due to the interest capping law of 2016. Average bank rates were 17% in July 2013

Fuel: A litre of petrol is Kshs 97.1 (~$4.25/gallon) today in Nairobi. It was 109.52 per litre in July 2013 (and 117.6 five years ago).

About the Same

Staple Food: With just under two weeks to the elections, maize has been hard to find, even at the government subsidized prices of Kshs 90 per pack. In July 2013 the pack cost Kshs 104 (and it was 118 five years ago) But just how long it will stay at 90 is not clear as the 2017/18 budget drafted at a time of high maize prices and low supplies, zero-rated the importation of white maize for a period of four months. Will it go back up after this window closes?

Communications: Phone call rates flattened in 2013 even though at the time Airtel and Yu were bringing the prices down, while now Safaricom battles distant Telkom Kenya (rebranded from Orange) and Airtel, as well as Equitel from Equity Bank, with competition more on data pricing, and mobile money transfers – where M-Pesa still dominates.

Beer/Entertainment: A 200 bottle of Tusker beer is Kshs 200 at the local pub. This is the same price it was in July 2013. (And it was 180 five years ago)

Utilities: Pre-paid electricity is about Kshs 2,500 per month, which is unchanged from the last review. The calculation of pre-paid tokens remains a complicated exercise.

More Expensive

Other food item: Sugar is hard to find, more so for traditional brands like Mumias. A 2kg bag of Chemelil sugar is Kshs 290  compared to 250 in July 2013 and five years ago it was 237. Prices of other food commodities like milk and butter have also gone up.

Foreign Exchange: 1 US$ equals Kshs. 103.9 compared to 87.15 in July 2013 and 84.25 five years ago.

There has been quite some outward flow of currency ahead of the election.

Sports Betting – Part IV: Gambling Companies Protest Kenya tax

Today brought some shocking news that, following the passage into law of the 2017 Kenya Finance Bill, in which the President had amended an increase in the tax on gambling to 35% tax, in place of an earlier 50% one proposed at Parliament, Sportpesa, the apparent industry leader of sports betting and gambling would be ending all its local sponsorships.

Sportpesa has a sizeable local sports sponsorship portfolio, supporting several local sports ventures; In rugby (the Kenya Rugby Union, Kenya Harlequins), and in soccer (Kenya’s premier league, a Super 8 tournament, Football Kenya company, as well as individual teams of Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Football Kenya, Nakuru All Stars).

Sportpesa started operating in Tanzania just two months ago, but recently hosted a soccer tournament in Tanzania featuring top Kenyan and Tanzania teams, which was won by Gor Mahia, earning them a pre-season match with Everton, the English premier league team, on July 13 in Dar-es-Salaam.

The strong-arm tactics of Sportpesa look similar to ones tried by Kenyan banks before the President went ahead and signed an interest capping bill into law that the banks had strongly opposed. The effects they warned about now seem to becoming true with reduced lending to businesses, and liquidity in the economy.

The sports betting and gambling companies push back also comes at a time when Kenyan sports face myriad issues like doping allegations, an ineffectual sports minister and fatigue and funding cutbacks by other large sports sponsors including Multichoice (DStv), EABL, KCB and Safaricom over management issues with different sports associations and teams. While gambling companies like Sportpesa had stepped up, the sports’ funding sources now appear in limbo.

Drones, Helicopters and Aviation Regulations in Kenya

This morning, the Director General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) gave a press chat on the aviation sector.

  • Drones: About 5,000 drones (mostly toy ones)  have been confiscated at Nairobi’s airport (JKIA). They have drafted new policy procedures and rules for drones that awaiting approval by the attorney general, but for now, their usage is still illegal.
  • US Flights: The country has now got category one status. There will be one more inspection later this year after which Kenya Airways can apply for rights and probably start flying to the US in April 2018. He expects 75% of the tickets to be taken up by US businesses people travel to Africa with Kenyan diaspora making up 15% and the rest as leisure travel.
  • Expensive Tickets: About 43% of the cost of an air ticket in Kenya is taxes. There is a strategic plan to make six East African countries a domestic market which should lower airline taxes per ticket from the current Kshs 5,000 to 500 and this will enable more and cheaper flights in the region.
  • 80% of KCAA’s income comes from airlines over flying Kenya which is strategically placed in Africa.
  • Helicopters: There are 88 licensed helicopters in Kenya, and 60 are operating. Also, the KCAA expects about 40 more to arrive to be used in campaigns for the August 2017 election. Their biggest problem they have are with “James Bond incidents”  (people hanging on skids) and the Director urged media to report such on incident for them to take action on  act on operators
  • Opportunities: There are 100 licensed helicopter pilots and this is not enough; there are many more jobs as helicopter pilots, aviation engineers, and safety operators. Entering these sectors is not cheap as it costs Kshs 2 million to be a private helicopter pilot and about Kshs 6 million to be a commercial helicopter pilot, with part of this high cost being due to the cost of avgas as pilots have to spend many hours in training. (While petrol is Kshs 95 per liter, Avgas is 150).
  • Training: There is a big concern about colleges claiming to offer aviation courses, but which are not in fact certified by the KCAA. Anyone seeking to operate in the sector is re-examined

Funding the SGR

Excerpts from the Public Investments Committee special report on the procurement and financing of the construction of Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Mombasa to Nairobi (phase I) (April 2014)

  • The Ministry of Finance on 4th January 2010 wrote to the Government of China requesting for a concessional loan for the construction of a new Standard Gauge Railway at a cost of USD 2.5 Billion. The funding of the project is not a grant to Kenya but rather a loan that the people of Kenya are going to pay.
  • In the Budget Statement for Fiscal Year 2013/14 delivered on 13th June, 2013 the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury proposed an amendment to the Customs and Excise Act, Cap 472, Laws of Kenya, so as to introduce a Railway Development Levy of 1.5 % of the customs value of all imported goods. The loan will cost USD 3.23 Billion from EXIM Bank of China comprised of a concessional loan of USD 1.6 billion and a commercial loan of USD 1.63 billion. The concessional loan is for 20 years and has a grace period of 7 years and an interest rate of 2% per annum while the commercial loan is for 10 years and grace period of 5 years and insurance cover of 6.93% of the commercial loan and interest of six months LIBOR + 360 basis point. The loan has a grant element of 35%. The insurance component is always available for any commercial loan. For China, the insurance cover has to be done by a Chinese firm, SinoSure. The insurance cover is to take care of nonpayment.
  • The major financial implications of the project will be Kshs. 349.44 billion relating to: – EPC contract for USD 3.8 billion covering USD 2.657 billion for civil works, and USD 1.146 billion for facilities, locomotives and rolling stock; Kshs. 8.04 billion for compulsory acquisition of 2,253 hectares of land for the railway corridor; Kshs. 10.6 billion for Embakasi Inland Container Depot (ICD) expansion programme, facility development and container handling equipment; Kshs. 1 billion for land acquisition for the Embakasi inland depot; and Kshs. 3 billion for project supervision.
  • The Government of Kenya has met all the requirements of the EXIM Bank of China which include; an Assurance that the Government will guarantee minimum freight demand for the SGR through execution of take or pay agreement between KRC and the Kenya Ports Authority and confirmation that Railway Development Fund will be used to repay the loan. EXIM Bank of China is currently going through its internal credit approval process following which it will submit to GoK, through the National Treasury the Financing Agreements. The financing agreement has not yet been signed (at the time of the report).
  • There is no financing agreement yet signed between the Government of Kenya and EXIM Bank in China. There is no sovereign guarantee by the Government of Kenya on the commercial and concessional loan from the Government of China (at the time of the report).
  • The National Treasury has undertaken a debt sustainability analysis and to ensure that the SGR loan does not compromise the debt policy parameters spelt out in the debt sustainability strategy paper and is sustainable.
  • In the unlikely event that the revenues from railway operations are inadequate, the proceeds from the Railway Development Fund will be used to repay the loan.

$1 = ~Kshs 103