Category Archives: NSE investor awareness

Safaricom eye international expansion using M-Pesa

Safaricom announced another year of record earnings through innovation and payments, despite a tough economy in Kenya and with an extra bonus for their shareholders.

For 2018, Safaricom recorded revenue of Kshs 240.3 billion (~$2.4 billion), an increase of 7%, and a net profit of Kshs 63.9 billion. The growth was attributed to M-Pesa which, grew by 19% to Kshs 75 billion, and which accounted for 75% of the revenue growth in the year. They also reported that there were 22.6 million active M-Pesa customers and these customers made an average for 12.2 transactions a month, up from 7.4 transactions a month, three years ago.

Chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a said it had been a challenging year with constrained credit (from bank interest rate caps) and inflation limiting discretionary income while the government had added taxes on mobile transactions  Unlike last year‘s event where the company had earnings before interest guidance of Kshs 89.6 billion, this year CEO Bob Collymore was present at the Friday morning investor briefing at the company’s headquarters complex in Nairobi where he announced that he was proud that the company had achieved an EBITDA of 50% which was unprecedented in the mobile world.

Ng’ang’a announced that the company would have to look for growth elsewhere beyond Kenya, while Collymore said this could be by taking charge of the M-Pesa brand from Vodafone and leading the expansion across Africa with new shareholder Vodacom and he cited new M-Pesa global partnerships that Safaricom had signed with  PayPal, Google (play store) Western Union and AliExpress.

This year the company rolled out Fuliza, the world’s first mobile phone overdraft that has seen over Kshs 45 billion borrowed so far. In terms of banks, Collymore said the era of competing with them was now over, and there would be more collaboration. Last week, Safaricom renewed a partnership with Equity Bank that will aim to improve financial inclusivity, cash management and security.

From the 2018 results, Safaricom will pay shareholders Kshs 1.25 per share, an amount totalling Kshs 50 billion. They will also, for a second time since listing, pay a special bonus dividend of Kshs 0.62 per share – totaling Kshs 24.84 billion.

 

Kenya Airways 2018 results

Excerpts from the announcement of the Kenya Airways 2018 financial results April 30, 2019 at Ole Sereni Hotel. Nairobi at a breakfast event with investors and media.

Performance: 2018 revenue was Kshs 114 billion (~$1.14 billion), compared to 81 billion in 2017 at the airline, which is in the middle of discussions about taking over the management of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) under a public-private partnership (PPP).

Chairman Michael Joseph said 2018 had been a challenging year, one highlight of which was the launch of non-stop daily flights New York, but there was a lot media scrutiny on PPP on JKIA that was wrong and excitable. He said that the airline was on the right path and thanked the staff for doing a great job under difficult circumstances.

CEO Sebastian Mikosz said this was the second year of growth in passengers and cargo and a narrowed loss. The difference to 2017 (which was abbreviated to 9 months as the airline changed its financial year-end to match IATA and its financial partners) was stark but the CEO went out of his way to compare unofficial twelve month numbers for 2017 to highlight that the airline had increased income, and flown more passengers despite the smaller fleet in 2018. They had 13,258 daily customers (up from 12,484),  a cabin factor of 76% and on-time performance 79%.

They earned Kshs 95 billion from flying 4.84 million passengers in 2018, Kshs 8.5 billion from cargo 8.5 billion and earned Kshs 10 billion from other business including ground handling and repairs and maintenance and training,. While the revenue covered their fleet ownership, fuel and staff costs, they ended with an operating loss of Kshs 683 million and, an overall loss before tax of Kshs 7.5 billion ($75 million).

Fuel: Accounts for 40% of costs, and as prices went up 30% in 2018, it remains one of the biggest challenges to profitability. As such they are going back to fuel hedging as a risk minimization strategy.

Fleet: They are getting back two Boeing 787’s from Oman Air but have extended an ongoing lease with Turkish to retain three Boeing 777-300’s which are simply too large to operate given the current loads and will introduce a complexity  that is not desirable now.

Routes and Partnerships 
  • The New York direct flight route had flown 15,000 passengers as of December 31 2018. The load factor is 64% and CEO said that there was nothing lucrative about NYC but it helped serve the Africa Market with 5 weekly flights which they will adjust back to being daily flights in the summer. The non-stop route offers the fastest route between New York and Indian Ocean destinations countries like Mauritius
  • The Air-France-KLM joint venture is still the biggest part of their business. They have now added one with Delta enabling KQ to sell flights to Delta destination cities beyond New York.
  • UN: With the addition of Geneva (and Rime) in June, they will now fly to all the main UN cities – Geneva, Mogadishu, Paris, New York – from Nairobi, completing their UN network.
  • JamboJet: They are trying to pushing to get their Jambojet subsidiary IOSA-certified so they can codeshare on more local routes.

African Aviation: The results presentation showed comparisons to Rwandair, Ethiopian, Turkish, Ethiopian and Emirates airlines, but Mikosz said that KQ was the only airline interested in growing the Nairobi hub. The CEO cautioned that while in 2010, Ethiopian was the same size as KQ, today it was three times bigger, and that was due to support systems, Also that Rwandair, while considered small today, will catch KQ in five years unless KQ grows its hub in this competitive environment.

PPP: The fate of the public-private partnership proposal for the airline to manage JKIA is still with the Privatization Commission who turned it over to Parliament for public hearings that were stormy at times and led to a lot of inaccuracies. The CEO and Chairman said it was not necessary for the growth plan that the company had presented to shareholders during their 2017 restructuring, but it was one which would accelerate its rate by levelling the playing field with its continental peers.

KCB to acquire National Bank of Kenya

KCB has made an all-share offer to acquire National Bank of Kenya in a not too unexpected move. Kenya’s largest bank will acquire the private, but state-controlled, NBK that was wrestling with an undercapitalized position.

KCB will acquire NBK, which has assets of Kshs 115 billion by offering 1 share for every 10 NBK shares. KCB trades at about 45 and NBK at 4.5 and this puts the offer, after conversion of NBK preference shares into ordinary ones, at about Kshs 7 billion. NBK has deposits of Kshs 99 billion and loans of Kshs 47 billion. It issued a rather late profit warning just before reporting a pretax profit of Kshs of 587 million for 2018, in March this year.

Bank shareholders: The NBK results notice also mentioned that its principal shareholders had committed to increase the capital of the bank a year ago. The Government of Kenya and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) are significant shareholders in both KCB and NBK. At KCB the Government owns 17.5% and NSSF 6.12% while at NBK, the workers’ fund has 48% and the Government has 22.5%.

This deal presents an opportunity to rescue National Bank whose capital to asset ratio had dipped to 3%, far below the statutory minimum. The Government has grappled with how to restructure its portfolio of struggling banks and this option is a cash-less one that will see it and NSSF increase their shareholdings in KCB as other NBK shareholders gain by obtaining shares in the Kshs 714 billion KCB, the regional banking leader. Trading of shares of both banks was briefly halted on Friday morning, prior to the announcement.

Conditions of the deal to go ahead include approval by 75% of NBK shareholders (NSSF and the government own a combined 70% of the shares), while the Government is to also convert 1.135 billion preference shares in NBK into ordinary shares, representing a recapitalization of the bank by Kshs 5.7 billion. Also, if the deal is concluded, NBK will be delisted from the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

Banking M&A: KCB is now in the process of acquiring two banks – NBK and Imperial as two weeks ago the CBK and KDIC announced an improved offer deal with KCB for Imperial’s assets. The deal news comes in a week after NIC and CBA shareholders approved a merger of their banks.

It remains to be seen if Equity and Stanbic, which have expressed takeover designs on NBK over the last decade, will put in a bid for NBK. And also what will happen to other banks in similar positions of being in dire need to raise capital from their shareholders to meet statutory requirements.

NIC Bank shareholders approve merger with CBA at the 2019 AGM

NIC Bank shareholders met for their 2019 annual general meeting and approved a merger with CBA bank, creating Kenya’s second-largest bank (by customer deposits), a day after CBA shareholders had approved the same deal.

The merged bank will have about a 10% share of banking assets, deposits, and loans in Kenya. It will encompass the two groups serving over 41 million customers and their banking entities in Kenya, insurance (CBA Insurance and NIC Insurance), investment banking & stockbroking (CBA Capital, NIC Capital, NIC Securities), and regional subsidiaries in Tanzania (both banks), Uganda, (both banks) and Rwanda (CBA) and Côte d’Ivoire where MoMoKash is a CBA partnership with MTN and Bridge Group.

Group Managing Director John Gachora said scale is important in banking and that by merging NIC, which is known for asset finance and corporate banking, with CBA, which has desirable mobile banking and high net worth businesses, they would be the largest bank by customer numbers in Africa. CBA will be 53% shareholders in the merged bank.

NIC turns 60 this year, and in 2019, their focus will be on getting to Tier I ranking through the merger, and getting regulatory approvals after they had obtained shareholder approvals.  Directors also got approval to effect a name change (already under consideration) and the right to dispose of up to 10% of the assets of the bank without reverting back to shareholders. They will also create an employee share option program (ESOP) to retain key staff, and CBA, who already have an ESOP for their veteran staff (that owns 2.5% of that bank), will fold itself into the new incentive scheme. Other conditions of the merger include obtaining a waiver of capital gains and stamp duty tax in Kenya, approval of regulators in different countries, and approval of landlords and financial partners.

EDIT In May 2019, The Competition Authority of Kenya approved the merger of NIC and CBA banks on condition that none of the 1,872 employees of the merged entity are declared redundant for 12 months after completion of the transaction.

African Companies Foreign Listings

The listing of Jumia on the NYSE has elicited many discussions about how ‘African’ it is to qualify for the moniker of “first African tech IPO”.

London has been the listing home of many large African companies in the oil, gold, mining space for many years. It has also recently come to attract more banks, Eurobonds and Diaspora bonds. There are 119 African companies listed in London including top Nigerian banks while sovereign bonds of 11 African countries trade on the LSE.

Other recent listings have gone to foreign markets including:

  • Vivo Energy’s LSE listing in 2018, which was the largest IPO of the year in London.
  • In Nigeria, which is Jumia’s largest market, here’s an investor recap of all the listed ‘tech stocks’ on the Nigerian Stock Exchange which include Courteville, Triple Gee, NCR, eTranzact, CWG, Chams, and OMATEK.
  • After spinning off Multichoice, Naspers plans to list its international internet assets on the Euronext Amsterdam Exchange with a secondary listing in Johannesburg. The assets include companies like PayU, Souq, Flipkart (which was sold to Walmart in 2018), Tencent, and Mail.ru. It only makes 4% of its revenue in South Africa and accounts for 23% of the Johannesburg All-Share SWIX exchange. By listing 75% of the company in Amsterdam, this will reduce its weight in the South African exchange. Safaricom is in a similar situation in Kenya, accounting for about 40% of the value of the Nairobi Securities Exchange, but as its revenue is currently all from Kenya, a listing move away is unlikely.
  • Within Africa, the island nation of Mauritius is an attractive listing country and is considered a gateway to India and Africa for many venture funds. Listing there confers benefits including no capital gains or dividend taxes, and Mauritius can also grant residency to people who invest over $500,000.

Other foreign listings planned include:

  • Airtel’s listing of its’ business in 14 African countries is expected to be another large London blockbuster.
  • Kenya’s National Oil is a long-shot to be listed in London and Nairobi.
  • Dangote Cement which accounts for about a third of the Nigerian Stock Exchanges market capitalization plans a secondary listing in London later in 2019.
  • MTN is expected to list a share of its Nigeria subsidiary once a tax dispute matter is resolved.