This week the deal for Diamond Trust Bank to acquire Habib Bank was approved by regulatory authorities. The Central Bank of Kenya approval notes that Habib will acquire 4.18% of Diamond Trust (the 6th largest bank in the country) and that the transaction would be completed on August 1, 2017, when Habib Bank (the 33rd largest) will cease being a licensed bank, and all its depositors, borrowers, employees, and creditors will be transferred to Diamond Trust.
As is the norm these days for large M&A deals to be approved in Kenya and the COMESA trade zone of Africa, there is a focus on job retention for as many of employees, and that there be no layoffs, while some business will continue with existing partners in terms of sales, distribution, servicing, and licenses for a defined period of time after the deal.
The Competition Authority (CAK) has approved the Diamond Trust Habib deal “on condition that the acquirer, Diamond Trust Bank Kenya retains at least 41 employees of Habib Bank post transaction.” This is also seen in other recent deals approved by the Competition Authority:
Distell Holdings which became the majority owner of Kenya Wine Agencies Holdings East Africa earlier this year was required to “retain the 42 employees at the production unit of KWAL for at least three years,”
For the Coca Cola Beverages Africa purchase of Equator Bottlers (at Kisumu through Kretose Investment) “the merged entity retains at least 2,279 employees post transaction”
And approval of the acquisition of 57.7% of General Motors East Africa by Isuzu Motors has a “condition that the merged entity will absorb all of the 383 General Motors East Africa employees.”
Also, earlier, CAK, ordered listed banker I&M Holdings to retain 108 employees of Giro Commercial Bank, as a pre-condition for approval of the takeover.
Britain’s decision to exit the European Union (EU), as announced from the results of Thursday’s landmark “Brexit” referendum has been a hot topic around the world. 33.6 Million Britons flocked to the polling booths on Thursday with the ‘leave’ campaign marginally taking the victory with a 52%-48% vote. There is however a general consensus of uncertainty with what the UK’s (United Kingdom) decision holds for the future, with particular relevance to what it means for Kenya.
Britain is a key ally, as well as Kenya’s third largest export market with the value of exports at Sh40 Billion in 2015. The Central Bank of Kenya has already stated that it is ready to intervene and minimize disruption in money markets. Kunal Ajmera, COO of Grant Thornton Kenya provides an insight into how Britain’s decision to leave affects trade decisions and tourism in Kenya:
Britain was not just any member of the EU but also one of the largest contributors and it’s most prosperous. Depending on how things unfold in the coming years other members may also demand for a referendum and this would ultimately weaken the EU substantially.
The EU spends about 100 million euros per year on development co-operation in Kenya. With uncertainties over Europe due to Brexit we may see a reduced funding in coming years. We could see funding in key projects start to be cut.
Investors anywhere in the world hate uncertainty and anxiety. Brexit leaves many questions unanswered and it will can take more than a year to get some clarity. Until that happens global economy, money markets and stock exchange may go through volatility and general negativity as we are currently seeing happen.
It is highly likely that US Dollar($) will gain strength against major currencies in the world and GBP(£) will lose its value, the initial figures show that on the day of the results alone, the GBP slumped to a thirty year low, falling as much as 11% in the hours after the result. This therefore means that the Kenyan Shilling will be under increased pressure. It would be wise for businesses in Kenya to hedge against a future raise in dollar value.
The UK is Kenya’s largest tourist source market. At its peak Kenya received 198,000 tourists from UK in 2013. The tourist arrival numbers from the UK have only just started to increase in last few months after years of travel advisory and terror threats. However with GBP weakening due to Brexit, it will cost the British tourists more to travel to Kenya and we may see reduced number of arrivals from UK in near future.
Kenya exports a substantial number of products to the UK every year. The UK is the second largest export market for Kenya after Uganda. So far these exports were governed by EU trade laws. With UK exiting the EU, Kenya may need to re-negotiate the terms for export and this may take even a year resulting in to disruption and uncertainty.
In the immediate short term, the UK is bound to have slower economic growth or even recession due to the Brexit referendum. This will also affect how it trades with other countries in the world. Since the UK is one of Kenya’s biggest trading partner, businesses in Kenya that export to the UK are bound to be nervous and must prepare for slump in business.
However, Kunal offers consolation by highlighting the potential in this decision. He states, “It’s not all doom and gloom. Brexit also presents new set of opportunities. EU laws on import and export are some of the most stringent in the world especially with agriculture, dairy, and meat items. The UK can now decide its own rules for import and export, new products may become eligible. It is worth noting that Kenya’s largest export to UK is agriculture/horticulture products.”
For further insight into the Brexit developments and its implications keep following Grant Thornton Kenya on twitter and Facebook.
Yesterday there was a debate in Nairobi on the UK’s referendum on EU membership, on which there will be a vote in the UK (and Gibraltar) on June 23. Europe is the second largest destination for Kenya’s exports (after the rest of Africa) and the UK is second in Europe with about Kshs 40 billion of exports from Kenya, slightly behind Netherlands (a destination for flowers). Overall, the UK is the fourth largest destination of Kenya’s exports (after Uganda, Netherlands, the US), and it imports about the same amount from the UK (Kshs 42 billion).
The debate was sponsored by the St. Paul’s Property Trust and had Aly Khan Satchu (as the moderator), Graham Shaw (Brexiter) arguing for Britain to exit) and Chris Foot (Remainer) arguing for Britain to remain in the EU).
Reasons to BREXIT
If #BREXIT doesn’t happen now, Britain will beholden to unelected decision-makers in Brussels for the next 40 years. Other countries will soon have similar votes.
The (bureaucratic) EU has 5 laws on pillow cases, 109 on pillows, and 12,000 on milk.
Germany bailed out Greece, and the EU will soon have to bail it out again (Italy is also shaky)
EU laws limit Britain’s ability to get top talent (e.g from Kenya) as they have to give preference to the EU states.
Under the EU, the production of a country is controlled (they may have to destroy fishing boats, and Portugal’s wine industry was destroyed by the EU).
Britain will have to renegotiate trade deals with 28 (and maybe 32) countries, but probably has no interest in trading with 10 of them.
Brexit debate in Nairobi
Points against BREXIT
The great Winston Churchill wrote a book titled “Europe Unite”.
56% of Britain exports are to the EU, – don’t BREXIT.
The last time the UK thrived outside the EU, it had a protectionist market called the colonial empire.
There has not been much discussion about the positives of being in the EU – only the negatives – and that is not enough reason to leave.
Impact on Barclays Premier League (BPL)? : Arsene Wenger (Arsenal manager) asked Britain to stay in the EU (which is a huge global export, but how many in Europe watch the BPL ?).
The world is moving towards integration (e.g The East African Community).
The rise of nationalism in Europe is a concern.
Britain at 16%, is Europe’s biggest export market, ahead of the US (14%), and China (8%).
Also see this forum, with the (then) High Commissioner from Britain to Kenya in which he discussed the relationship between the two countries.
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.
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.
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:
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.
This week, we get a look at the payslips of two Kenyan members of Parliament (MP); One from the Nairobi Senator, Gideon Mbuvi Sonko, and the other from National assembly representative for Homa Bay, Peter Kaluma. While they earn roughly the same amount, they differ because one does not need his salary, while the other says he can’t live on his salary (and stretch himself further).
Kaluma: Peter Kaluma released his payslip to support his position before a court case, in which he was asked to increase his monetary support for a child, which he said he could not do – as he took home zero in net salary.
Bits of his payslip
Salary Kshs 319,500 (~$3,759)
‘Sitting allowance’ 10,000
‘Vehicle fixed cost’ 356,525
Pay-as-you-Earn Tax (PAYE) Kshs 257,839 ($3,033)
Motor car advance 184,164
Co-Op Parliament 153,611Pension 40,257
Parliament SACCO (Parliamentary Savings and Credit Co-operative Society (Pacoso)
Pacoso Shares 20,000
Pacoso loan 54,212
Sonko: Gideon Sonko, the flamboyant Nairobi Senator, also released his payslip on his Facebook page to show that he has maintained his commitment since he joined politics in 2010 to give (his) salary back to wananchi (people) and listed several churches that were beneficiaries of his largess.
Bits of his payslip
Basic salary Kshs 319,500 ($3,758)
Sitting allowance 30,000
Car maintenance 356,525
Total Kshs 1,015,025 ($11.941)
PAYE 292,439 ($3,440, equal to 28.8%)
Pacoso shares 50,000
Pacoso loan 64,703
In line with previousother discussions of the salaries of members of parliament, MP’s earn 2.6 times what they did seven years ago. But at least they are paying an amount of tax, as other income top earners, on the full amount of their entire gross income (equivalent to about 28% tax), not just their basic salary, as in the past that left their hefty allowances (vehicle, responsibility etc.) untaxed.
Some predictions over the next few years;
MP’s will continue to increase their salaries because they can.
MP’s will scrap nominated parliamentary seats so that only people who campaign as hard as they, can enjoy the benefits of their ‘hard work’.
MPs will move to try to allow politicians to run for more than one seat so that in the event they lose a large seat (President), they have something to fall back on (e.g. in parliament, or as cabinet secretaries).