Category Archives: Mumias Sugar

Urban Inflation Index September 2015

Tracking changes compared to five years ago

Gotten Cheaper

Utilities: An electricity in June 2015 showed that consumers incurred costs of 251(US) cents per kilowatt hour, and forex adjustment ones of 40 cents per kwh. Five years ago it was 340 cents per kwh while forex was 57 cents per kwh.

Communications: Call rates are between Kshs 2 – 4 per minute, compared to Kshs 8 five years ago, and SMS are now Kshs 1. There has also been a massive drop in the cost of mobile data. That said there’s a bit of turmoil in the industry. Safari com is diversifying into new segments like health and television, as Airtel is threatening to pull out. Meanwhile Orange is apparently for sale, and Essar folded their Yu brand just a few months ago.

About the Same

Beer/Entertainment:  A bottle of Tusker beer is Kshs 200 at the local pub compared to Kshs 170 five years ago. The competition from the introduction of several new beer and alcohol brands  (like Carlsberg) does not seem to have made prices lower.

Carlsberg Nairobi

Other food item

A 2 kg pack of (rare) Mumias sugar is now Kshs 240. Its rare because both Ucumi and Mumias are going through some transitions with financing, suppliers, and even new CEO’s  Meanwhile, there’s also the debate about whether and at what cost Kenya produces sugar compared to other countries like Zambia, Sudan and even Uganda. The same Mumias pack was Kshs 200 five years ago. Mumias troubles has resulted in other brands like Butali Chemelil Nzoia and other store and generic brands now getting space at supermarkets like Ucumi.

More Expensive

Foreign Exchange:  1 US$ equals Kshs 103 compared to 80 fiver years ago (actually today it’s 106) a steep rise that does not seem to have reached its bottom. This may be due to the strength of the dollar but other currencies have also strengthen due to the trade deficit

Staple Food:  Maize flour is used to make Ugali that is eaten by a majority of Kenyans daily. A 2 kg. Unga pack at Uchumi today costs Kshs 113 compared to Kshs 65 five years ago.

Fuel:  A litre of petrol is Kshs 102.6 petrol compared to 94.5 five years ago (but with the weaker shilling, in dollar terms it’s about $4.5 per gallon (down from $5.25 five years ago)

Shares Portfolio February 2015 

Compared to last quarter, the portfolio is up 26% while the NSE 20 share index is up 3% since November 2014.
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The Stable
Bralirwa (Rwanda) 
Centum (ICDCI) —
Diamond Trust —
KCB ↑
Kenya Airways ↑
Kenya Oil ↑
Mumias ↑
NSE ↓
Safaricom ↑
Scangroup ↑
Stanbic (Uganda) ↓
Unga ↑
Changes
In: None
Out: None
Increase: None
Decrease: None
Best performer: Mumias Sugar  (up 58% this quarter), then Kenya Airways  (38%)
Worst performer: Stanbic – Uganda (down -5%) , NSE (-4%)
Looking Forward To
– Bank profits & dividends from banks (KCB, Diamond)
– More M&A deals from Centum

Shares Portfolio: November 2014

Comparing shares to last year and last quarter, the portfolio is up 7% in three months (excluding new investments), while the NSE 20 share index is up is up 0.5% since August 2014.

The Stable

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Bralirwa (Rwanda) ↓
Centum  (ICDCI) ↑
Diamond Trust ↓
KCB ↓
Kenya Airways ↓
Kenya Oil ↑
Mumias Sugar
Nairobi Shares Exchange ↑
Safaricom ↑
Scangroup ↓
Stanbic (Uganda) ↑
Unga ↑
Changes
In: Mumias Sugar
Out: None
Increase: Kenya Airways, KCB, Scangroup
Decrease: None
Best performer: NSE Kenya (up 121% since IPO), Centum (16%), (Unga 14%)
Worst performer: Kenya Airways (down 22%) Bralirwa (down 19%)
Unexpected Events:
– Bralirwa share dip which has been linked to the bonus share
– KQ’s loss in the half year. Amid the arrival of a half-dozen new Boeing 787 Dreamliners and other aircraft and long serving CEO Titus Naikuni stepping down there was one more shock from the airline in the form of a half year loss of Kshs 10.45 billion ($116 million)
– Are Kenya bank stocks overvalued as a Citi report says?
– Listings by Kurwitu Ventures (at Kshs 1,500 per share, which was higher than British American Tobacco that’s at 904 now) and Flame Tree (FTG) in recent weeks in the GEMS category of the NSE.
– Both Equity and Housing Finance forming holding companies and transferring banking and mortgage business respectively to the new group parents.
– The vicious fallout between BritAm and Cytonn.
Looking forward to
– Unga’s acquisition of Ennsvalley, a bakery worth Kshs 500 million ($5.55 million)
– Uchumi’s rights issue to raise Kshs 895 million ($10 million) by offering shareholders 3 shares for every 8 held at Kshs 9 per share, with the funds to be used for expansion in East Africa and refurbishment of stores.
– Seeing how Mumias Sugar shares proceed..having gone from highs of Kshs 40 in years past, to 1.4 this month.

Urban Inflation Index: September 2011

One year after the euphoria of a new constitution, the direction of the economy is uncertain as seen in the weakening Kenya shilling, tangles in implementation of the constitution, and rising food prices. It has been a year of some price controls in the fuel, and possibly in the food sector whose parliamentary price control bill was signed into law last week by the President.

Comparing prices to six months ago and last year. On to the index

Gotten Cheaper: Nothing really.

About the same:

Communication: All Kenya’s mobile phone companies have call rates of about Kshs 3 shillings ($0.03) per minute to call across networks. It is unclear what will happen with call rates, as the smallest company in the market, Yu, launched free daytime phone calls, Airtel Kenya lost a CEO, and Safaricom has indicated that they may raise their call rates, as has happened in Uganda with MTN . The real battle is in data, where prices have not really dropped but companies are offering more speeds for less. The market here is divided between the companies with 3G (Orange & Safaricom) who compete on speed, and those without 3G(Airtel & Yu) who offer cheap internet rates of about Kshs 50 (~$0.5) per day for unlimited use.

Another communication developments that, in a way, lower the cost of business include the launch last week at G-Kenya of GKBO, which encompasses free website creation tool, domain registration, and site hosting for small companies by Google in Kenya.

Utilities: The bill on pre-paid electricity is still at about Kshs 2,000 ($21) per month, and getting about 30 – 35 units per buy via M-Pesa. However that is expected to go up after notice was issued for rates to go up 22% per kwh unit. So what alternatives are there? In a somewhat timely move, Samsung launched the NC215, a solar powered netbook laptop last week. It gives 1 hour of power for every 2 hours of charge in the sun, has a 15-hour battery life, and is able to charge other devices by USB even when it is off.

Also got a gift of a solar phone charger (T2126 Hemera from Hirsch) that works quite well; it takes about 12 hours to charge in the Sun or 2 hours via USB, has a flash light and can charge a variety of phone models.

But when you look at the rapid advances in laptop batteries and cell phone batteries over the lasts decade, you get the feeling that there has been a lag in the pace of solar devices, and that more solar based solutions and advances should be emphasized.

More Expensive

Fuel: A litre of petrol fuel, which is regulated by the Government, now costs 117.75 (~$5.6 per gallon) in Nairobi. Regulated fuel has proven to be more expensive than unregulated fuel, and while this can be attributed to the weaker shilling and fluctuating oil prices, the formula used to arrive at the price remains vague, and the limit on margins (stipulated buying and selling price of petrol, diesel, kerosene in each town) appears to have hurt small oil industry companies, more than large ones. However, among the listed companies, Kenol appears to have weathered the regulatory regime better than Total, by having diverse operations in other countries in East and Central Africa that remain unregulated.

Staple Food: Maize flour, which is used to make Ugali that is eaten by a majority of Kenyans daily. A 2kg bag which cost Kshs. 80 six months ago, and Kshs 65 a year ago, is now Kshs 119, the highest it has been in the short history of this index.

Other food item: Sugar : A 2 kg. Mumias pack which has hovered at about Kshs 200 for the last years, now costs Kshs. 385 (90% more than last year) and . The sugar sector has really gone full circle causing many to questions its relevance, recurring shortages shortage (why all factories close at the same month for maintenance), why sugar is grown in a food producing area and how many items we can consume without having to use sugar as a sweetener e.g. tea without sugar, or use of honey as a substitute.

Foreign Exchange: 1 US$ equals Kshs 95.6 compared (now 96.8) to Kshs 80.8 a year ago (and 83 in June 2011) – a loss of almost 20% in a year. It’s unclear of this has been a concern to the Central Bank which has made other confusing policy moves as related to interest rates at a time of mounting government debt and their laxity has enabled banks to spot and take advantage of an arbitrage opportunities to trade with government money.

Beer/Entertainment: A bottle of Tusker beer is Kshs 180 ($1.9) (at a local pub) a slight increase from compared to Kshs. 170 a year ago. However beer has become out of reach for many poorer Kenyan who have resorted to drinking unsafe local brews, which in some unfortunate cases have resulted in blindness or even death.

Proparco in East Africa

French financier Proparco had a mini cocktail while their CEO Luc Rigouzzo was in Nairobi last week. The CEO, who grew up in Africa (Ivory Coast) talked about the group investments and potential they see in Africa, being real, not just afro-optimism statement.

In the banking sector, Africa with its 1 billion combined population has a potential urban population of 300 million banking customers, hence Proparco’ intervention in the banking sector as well as infrastructure sectors

Proparco with € 1.5 billion assets has 37% of loans and 26% of equity investments to Africa, and their loan portfolio at 2008 comprised 146 million Euros in east & central Africa, and 154m Euros in West Africa
Proparco invests in social, environmental investments for the public good and that transom poverty.

The consumer may not see or feel this kind as Proparco’s intervention is at a higher level with loans of € 5 to 30 million per project (over durations of 5 to 20 years) and up to to 100m in infrastructure, and equity of € 2 to 20 million (over 4 to 10 years)

Tea estate

In Kenya they have invested in Mumias sugar, I&M bank, Zain, Bank of Africa, Serena Hotels, KTDA) , NIC Bank, Rabai Power, Kenafric. Ormat (Geothermal), while Uganda has bugajali hydro power, DFCU, and in Tanzania they have Tigo.