Category Archives: NSE investor awareness

Local Private Equity Funding For Indigenous Entrepreneurs

Not the first time, there was some discussion this week about  the lack of local capital, local private equity funding, and the disconnect between local entrepreneurs and venture capital.

This happened at the 3rd Annual East Africa Venture Capital Association (EAVCA) Private Equity Conference in East Africa in Nairobi this week.

The EAVCA conference had several panels such as on fintech and another on getting local pensions to fund private equity and on to entrepreneurs. Elsewhere, there have been separate citations that  whenever high numbers of African companies funded are mentioned, the list is topped by companies operating here but which have American or European founders

Some responses related to this from the summit:

  • Europe and North America continue to lead as sources of funds raised for P/E investing in East Africa – EAVCA Survey (PDF)
  • Kenyan pension funds investment into private equity grows from 0.02 to 0.15% following ‪@FanisiCapital‬ recent raise – EAVCA
  • US founders in Kenya have broader foreign networks and that makes it easier to more access to capital
  • Funders look for governance structures in local companies. Have that, and the chances of getting funding are better.
  • Local funding is better: foreign firms are very indecisive, and getting more local investors would help local companies grow faster. 
  • Kenyan entrepreneurs raise capital but are quiet about it. That’s why Lions Den has a  challenge finding entrepreneurs for their television show.
  • Global uncertainty sees capital movement to domestic markets in this case money will flow back to Europe and another America.
  • Kenya has published an amnesty for people to declare offshore wealth and repatriate this – and KRA expects $3 billion in the extra collections next year (It currently collects tax of about $14 billion) and this funding could be competition for local private equity funds
  • It takes a longer time to put together local P/E funds. Many approvals steps, talks to many potential partners and in the time they were raising capital, the laws changed. Also, it takes longer to raise a $10 million fund, and that will not really make a big impact, as the costs of running it are heavy. So there is an opportunity for umbrella funds.
  • Pension funds work by consensus – and one if one trustee decides he/she doesn’t like an asset class / or doesn’t understand risk, it’s a tough sell. That said, the Kenya Power Pension Fund has invested in private equity. 
  • Private equity sounds like a pyramid to some. Pension trustees are there for three-year terms and may not be able to assets P/E funds that have 10-year investment windows. 
  • Do fund managers talk badly about P/E funds, as they do not earn commissions from that asset class? The commissions go to P/E managers. 
  • There are East African high net worth individuals (HNWI) who can invest in P/E firms. But they want a controlling position, and, as they are focused on real/estate property, they want to see VC P/E returns that are comparable to real estate. Also, they may give you 5% of their investment, and they become the biggest problem.

EAVCA: East Africa Private Equity Snapshot

Ahead of the 3rd Annual Private Equity in East Africa Conference, (taking place on June 15 in Nairobi) the East Africa Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (EAVCA) and KPMG East Africa released their second private equity survey showing increased funding and activity, and with a lot more opportunity for deals to be done.

They estimated that of the $4.8 trillion raised between by P/E funds globally between 2007 and 2016, about $28 billion was raised by Africa-focused funds and $2.7 (including $1.1 billion in 2015-2016) had been earmarked for investment activity in East Africa.

This private equity had funded over 115 deals in the period that were included in the survey. Out of these  the 115 deals, 23 were agri-business, 20 were financial services, 13 manufacturing, and 12 FMGC representing 59% of deal volume. The average deal size had also grown to the $10-15 million range, while in the initial survey it was below $5 million.

East Africa Private Equity Survey

Of the 115 deals, Kenya had 72 deals (63% of the total), Tanzania 19, Ethiopia 8, Uganda 12, and Rwanda at 4. Some of the large deals in the survey, by country, include:

Rwanda: Cimerwa – PPC ($69M), Cogebanque ($41M), BPR-Atlas Mara ($20M), Pfunda Tea ($20M)
Uganda: topped by oil deals CNOOC and Total SA (both $1,467 million), Tullow $1,350M, Total $900M, CSquared-Mitsui $100M, Sadolin-Kansai $88M
Ethiopia: National Tobacco – Japan ($510M), Meta Abo-Johnnie Walker ($255M), Dashen-Duet ($90M), Bedele-Heineken ($85M) and Harar-Heineken ($78M), Tullow-Marathon ($50M)
Tanzania: Africa Barrick Gold ($4,781 million), Tanzania – Pavilion ($1,250M), Vodacom ($243M), Export Trading Co ($210M), Millicom-SREI ($86M), Zanzibar Telecom-Millicom ($74M)
Kenya: Safaricom-Vodacom ($2,600 million), Africa Oil-Maersk ($845M), I&M-City Trust ($335M), Ardan-Africa Oil ($329M), Kenya Breweries-EABL $224M, UAP-Old Mutual ($155M), ARM Cement-CDC ($140M), Wananchi ($130M), CMC-AlFuttaim ($127M), Essar ($120M)

P/E operations: There are about 72 funds operating/focused in East Africa (up from 36 in the first survey) with over 300 employees. 89% of the survey respondents have a local presence in East Africa.

Some of the fund companies that responded to the survey include Acumen, Abraaj, AfricInvest, AHL, Ascent, , Catalyst, Centum, CrossBoundary, Grofin, Emerging Capital Partners, Kuramo, Metier, Mkoba, NorFund, Novastar, Phatisa, Pearl Proparco, Swedfund, and TBL Mirror

Returns:  Of  the deals done, survey responders had an average IRR target was 22% while the actual IRR achieved was 19%.  There were 34 exits between 2007 and 2016, with increased recent activity; 2014 (had 7), 2015 (7) and 2016 (6). The preferred mode of exit is sale to a strategic investors (preferred by 78% while this mode accounts for 38% of exits) followed by share buy backs (32%), then sales to another P/E (21%).

Many of the funds in the region are still in early stages, and 54% have made nil returns to their investors. They surveyors estimate there are more opportunities for Africa private equity in health, education, retail, and manufacturing sectors.

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? 

Atlas Africa Exits

In axhe post today was a shareholder circular from Atlas Africa Industries. Its’ been online (PDF) for a few weeks and outlines Atlas plan to dispose of an Ethiopian project to another shareholder.

Ethiopia Venture

  • In December 2005, Atlas announced the acquisition of  East Africa Packaging Holdings Limited and its Ethiopian subsidiary TEAP Glass PLC with plans to build a new stateoftheart glass bottle manufacturing facility, on a 5.5 acre site located in Chancho, 45km north of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (the Chancho Project)
  • (But) the Company’s progress was terminally undermined and derailed by the actions of the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (“ERCA”).. (and) .. was subjected to a complete injustice, through the summary removal of approximately US$2.4 million from TEAP’s bank account with the Development Bank of Ethiopia by ERCA (the “TEAP Claim Amount”).
  • In April 2017 disposal of the Chancho will be effected by the sale to Innovative Africa Investments Limited (“IAIL”) and Eagle Investments Limited, being independent shareholders.. the losses attributable to the assets being disposed of pursuant to the Disposal during the last financial period (12 months ended December 2015) amount to US$254,216.

This Ethiopia disposal and the resignation of I&M Burbidge Capital who terminated their investment advisory contract is to be voted on at the Atlas Africa AGM which will be held on June 20, in Guernsey, where the company is incorporated. It seems that the I&M Burbidg notified Kenya authorities and as a result of this, the shares of Atlas that are listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange were frozen on May 12 this year, just a few days before the Ethiopia disposal was then announced.

At another AGM this week of the Nairobi Securities Exchange, itself a listed company, some shareholders took the opportunity to vent about the dismal performance of Atlas Africa whose share price had plunged sharply since it was introduced, and which was now beyond reach of its Kenyan shareholders.

Farewell Atlas: The circular notes that  The board (has) taken the decision to undertake a managed and controlled winddown of the group, with a view to ensuring that liabilities are settled and assets are realised whilst cash outlay is reduced, with a view to returning any surplus to shareholders in due time. As part of this process, the board also believe that the Company is likely to delist from GEMS, and further announcements will be made with a proposal in this regard, in due course.

But is Atlas Africa a shell? This Global Witness article is about how directors, hiding behind anonymous firms registered in tax havens, carry off a multi-million-dollar heists by selling assets they already control to shareholders of their listed companies at inflated prices. They never declare their secret ownership – and ordinary investors had no way of knowing.

Coop Bank 2017 AGM

Cooperative Bank (Coop Bank) shareholders had their 2017 AGM in Nairobi where the directors proposed a Kshs 0.8 per share dividend as well as a bonus share for every five held.

At the AGM, their CEO, G. Muriuki, spoke of continuing the turnaround at the bank which had a Kshs 2.3 billion loss in 2001 when they had 100,000 customers – and on through 2016 when they had Kshs 353 billion of assets, Kshs 18 billion profits, 149 branches, and  6.2 million customers. The cooperative sector remains the heart and identity of the bank, and they will continue to provide services to the sector.  The cooperative movement also forms the anchor shareholding of Coop Bank with a 65% stake.

Most amazing, he said, was the digital transformation at the bank. Some years back, McKinsey had identified 60 services done at their branch that could be decentralized – and now, only 15% of transactions are done at the branch – with customers doing the bulk of transactions on mobile phones, at ATM’s, agents, and on the internet – and this had seen the Bank’s cost/income ratio reduce from 60% to 50%

At the AGM, there was also discussion on some challenges such as court cases & loan provisions, funds at held Chase Bank and hyperinflation in South Sudan which has resulted in losses. Some shareholders also asked if they could have the annual report mailed to them via post offices and also had other queries on issues like diaspora banking services, staff fraud, PesaLink, interim dividends, the bank’s share price, transport fare to attend the AGM, cyber crimes, and interest rate caps. In answering one question, the CEO said Cooperative Bank was not one of the bidders for Chase Bank as they had a presence similar to Chase and would focus on growing organically.

The  CEO also said this year marked the third bonus share issue since the bank had listed in 2008, and this was good for shareholders as the bank had grown its capital without asking shareholders to put in more money.  Coop Bank had a livestream of the AGM for any shareholders who were unable to attend the AGM, and more companies should do this for investors awareness