Category Archives: NSE investor awareness

Private Equity investment guide for East Africa

This week in Nairobi saw the launch by  EAVCA, FSD Africa and IFC Africa of a new private equity (PE) investment guide for East Africa.

The PE investing guide is a tool to enable pension funds across East Africa to assess and invest in private equity assets by raising knowledge among pension fund managers who are primarily invested in stocks and bonds.

It is a simple guide that can be read in just thirty minutes to gain an understanding of private equity assets. It has a checklist of useful information to look for before investing in PE, and after to manage portfolios, and roles for general and limited partners.

Also, EAVCA released a market report on n the current status of private equity investments in the region following a survey of pension schemes and PE general partners. It found that, while five Eastern African countries have generous provisions for pension funds to invest in private equity, led by Rwanda at 20%, Uganda at 15% and Kenya at 10%, the uptake has been low with Uganda attaining 2.2% investments in PE funds followed by Kenya at 0.08%.

Nzomo Mutuku of Kenya’s Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA), who officiated the launch,  said that while pushed for pension schemes to diversify and explore alternative investments to grow returns for members, many still had huge investments in one company (i.e Safaricom) and stocks and bonds of banks in which they held their deposit funds. (Later it came up the concentration in a few NSE stocks is not unusual among sub-Saharan markets- Nigeria’s largest firm commands 35% of the market while in Ghana, the top three firms have an 80% share).

Other Insights from the Q & A after the launch:

• Excluding South Africa, there is about $100 billion of funds held by pension and insurance funds and collective investment schemes (CIS). Of that East Africa, has about $30 billion with  Kenya at $20 billion.

• The IFC has been in private equity for over 20 years and is invested in 300 funds globally, with 50 of them active in this region.

• One pension manager cited their investments in I&M bank before it listed at the NSE, UAP, and invested in an energy IPP that gave attractive returns of 13% on a Euro investment.

• Another mentioned that they had participated in 40 bonds offers in 17 African countries with decent returns and no defaults.

• Speakers cautioned about Kenya’s move to raise the capital gains tax on private equity from 5% to 12%, a move that the country’s parliament has since set aside thanks to concerted lobbying.

The teams will next move to market the assets class to trustees in Botswana and Nigeria.

Online currency trading with FXPesa in Kenya

With the recent attention on exchange rates and online forex (foreign exchange) trading in Kenya, this month we got to engage with one of the pioneers in the space – EGM Securities.

Their parent company is Equity Global Markets Capital, with seven locations across the world, They launched in Kenya in 2017 after they got a non-dealing online foreign exchange broker license from the Capital Markets Authority (CMA). This means that they don’t set the prices locally, they just enable the trades and make money from the spreads.

They then spent their first few months tweaking and develop their offering in Kenya where the mobile phone is prevalent for payment transactions. They then came up with FXPesa, a simple tool for retail traders to use.

FXPesa was launched in May 2019 and also has a web version. Within six months, FXPesa had registered over 25,000 users. They have integrated with local payment methods such as M-pesa, Equitel, cards, and bank transfers for traders to get money out and in easily. People can trade as little as $100, right from an uber or matatu. Prices change in nano-seconds, but traders on FXPesa can set “stop-loss” and “take profit” triggers and also earn trading bonuses.

After downloading the FXPesa from an app store, users can register and get on to a demonstration portal. The demo account comes with some virtual money, and prices the same as real the trading side, for new potential investors to get started. 

Meanwhile, EGM does some vetting and extensive know-your-customer (KYC) checks to ensure the accounts are legitimate and not being used for money laundering. They also offer beginner, intermediate, or advanced training classes. They also aim not to be used for dangerous speculation and cap trading amounts based on people’s income.

FXPesa offers clients over 100 instruments such as currency pairs, commodities, indices and shares. Some of the most popular ones are currency pairs like Euro/US dollar, US dollar/ Japanese Yen and Great Britain pound/US dollar as well as commodities like gold and crude oil, and Apple and Google shares. The South African Rand is the third most traded currency.

NewGold ETF top performer at the NSE in 2019

The Barclays New Gold Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) is the top performing investment at the Nairobi Securities Exchange this year.

While the NSE has introduced several new products like REIT’s, index futures, equity futures, and the M-Akiba bond, it is the ETF that is shining this year.

The Barclays New Gold ETF was launched at the NSE in March 2017 of 400,000 shares was listed at the NSE in March  2017 at a price of Kshs 1,205 per share. This was a relatively small number of shares for the new investment class. But their liquidity is assured as Barclays buys all the shares that are sold, paying investors two or three days later. 

The ETF is ideal for pension and insurance funds and other institutional investors, as well as for individuals and retail buyers, and gold does feature in the portfolios of a small number of high net worth individuals in Kenya. The ETF attracts no capital gains tax and is shariah-compliant.

Gold has traditionally been a hedge for times of turmoil, and with ongoing trade disputes between the US and China, UK’s Brexit, slowing growth in Asia and Europe, and uncertainties of debt levels and weaker currencies in Africa, gold represents a hedge, or point of safety that people turn to as a store of value.  Africa’s largest economy, South Africa is also facing its own capital flight and repatriation issues.

Gold has risen on the back of global demand for safety as the ETF represents the fractional equivalent of the price of real gold bullion. Gold is now ~$1,500 per ounce, up from $1,280 at the beginning of the year. The price has moved between $1,000 and $1,300 over the last five years.

As Nairobi investors have suffered paper losses with NSE share index prices dropping to ten-year lows, levels last seen in March 2009, the NewGold ETF has ascended this year by 21% and is up 25% since its introduction. That’s largely due to it being determined the global price of gold, not by local demand.

NewGold, which is the largest ETF on the Johannesburg exchange, is also listed and trades on share exchanges in Botswana, Nigeria, Ghana and Mauritius.

NSE Ibuka

The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) “Ibuka” is an incubation program that aims to identify Kenyan companies and fast track their development and governance structures that will gain them exposure from investors. Several companies have joined the program which was launched and entails a ten-month course that will hopefully lead to an eventual listing at the NSE.

The companies that have signed up so far are:

  • (1) January 31 2019 – The NSE admitted APT Commodities, a leading tea exporter with a wide portfolio of brands such as Jambo Chai Tangawizi, Hassan Tea and Equity Green Tea, to join the Ibuka Program.
  • (2) March 15 –  Globetrotter Agency is a leading travel and tours company with enhanced domestic and international travel solutions, offers a wide variety of services including medical tourism.
  • (3) March 21 – Moad Capital provides independent commercial real estate advice and consultancy services.
  • (4) March 27 – Bluenile Rolling Mills is a leading hot rolled steel and wire products manufacturer with an annual turnover of Kshs. 4.5 billion. Established in 2007, it provides high-quality products across the region under its signature brands – Kifaru and Kifaru. It produces over 6,000 tons per month and has 800 employees.
  • (5) April 3 – Myspace Properties (Kenya), established in 2008,  is a private properties company serving the housing and property needs of real estate clientele.
  • (6) April 12 – Vehicle and Equipment Leasing Limited (VAELL) provides bespoke leasing services across in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia and has correspondent relationships with other leasing firms in South Africa and India.
  • (7) May 3 – Polygon Logistics, a company that was co-founded by a husband and his wife in 2010, does clearing and forwarding, imports and exports shipments as well as air charter flight services and airline representation.
  • (8) May 9 – Nile Capital Insurance Brokers provides general and life insurance products. Established in 2013, it is one of Kenya’s fastest growing insurance brokers and a preferred broker for domestic and international underwriters.
  • (9) May 13 – Nyali Capital, the company led by the best woman in business in Mombasa in 2018, is a non-deposit taking microfinance providing credit facilities, financial advisory services and training programs with special focus on empowering women and youth-owned businesses.

  • (10) May 14 – HomeBoyz Entertainment became the first entertainment company to join the program. Established in 1992, it offers bespoke services in event production and is listed as one of the top 10 event production companies in Africa.
  • (11) 30 May – TSG Realty, founded in January 2010, it focuses on serviced and furnished apartments, town homes and commercial real estate in the high-end, luxury market.
  • (12) June 25 – Naveah Capital Insurance Agency was established in January 2018 and aims to become the leading champion of wealth preservation in Africa through the provision of risk management and financial planning services.
  • (13) July 10 – Capital Power was formed in 2013 to undertake various renewable energy projects in Kenya.
  • (14) July 23 – Masumali Meghji Insurance Brokers is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Mombasa, and has served the region for more than 36 years, offering commercial and industrial covers to its clients.
  • (15) Aug 1 – Tusker Mattresses (Tuskys), which currently serves over 10 million customers monthly across 63 branches in Kenya and Uganda and on its premium e-commerce platform, aims to enhance its growth as the leading retail chain in the region. Founded in 1990, it has 6,000 staff and 3,000 suppliers.
  • (16) Aug 13 – Ceven aims to enhance service delivery among electricity customers in Kenya. It currently serves two contractual assignments with Kenya Power for distribution of pre-paid electricity tokens and processing post-paid payments.
  • (17) Sept 5 – RentCo East Africa seeks to leverage on the NSE Ibuka Program to enhance its growth as the leading asset leasing company in the region. The company leases out construction equipment, vehicles and aircraft to both public and the private sector. (via Business Daily)

Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA) envisions having four new listings on the NSE every year.  Other companies expected to list, not necessarily through Ibuka, include Cytonn,  Jamii Bora, Vitaform, Bank of Kigali (Rwanda) and National Oil (NOCK).

Hopefully, the Ibuka program will eliminate the taint of the GEMS listings when new companies introduced to the NSE like Atlas Africa (already exited), Home Africa and Kurwitu have under-performed and disappointed investors who now view them as not being ready for a public listing.

National Bank Responds to KCB Takeover Bid

National Bank of Kenya (NBK) has published a circular over the proposed takeover by the KCB Group.

KCB has also now published their own circular for NBK shareholders, that has been approved by the CMA and which details their side of the deal.

NBK Circular Highlights:

  • The board of NBK recommends shareholders approve the Kshs 9 billion deal even though they value their share at Kshs 6.10  as no competing offers have been received so far, and the bank, while strong, needs additional capital to meet regulatory capital and grow its business. They add that the Government has a policy of sector consolidation to create strong banks.
  • NBK is the thirteenth largest bank in Kenya, a Tier-2 bank.
  • KCB has proposed that NBK continue to operate as a separate subsidiary of KCB for two years during which there will be no staff changes. An integration will come after, along with an organizational structure review, which may lead to a reduction of the workforce and “optimization” of the distribution network. i.e. branches, ATM’s and agents. NBK has 1,356 staff, serving about 650,000 customers.
  • Deal a foregone conclusion?: After the re-designation of the preference shares, NBK’s two key shareholders, the Government of Kenya and National Social Security Fund own a combined 93.23% of the bank’s shares.
  • KCB valued NBK at Kshs 5.6 billion. NBK has 48,987 shareholders who will receive 147,383,968 ordinary shares in the share capital of KCB, equivalent to approximately 4.59% of the share capital of KCB.. The NBK Board appointed Standard Investment Bank (SIB) to independent advise them on the market value of NBK and SIB arrived at a fair value for each NBK share of Kshs 6.10 – the result of combining the dividend discount method (5.41), net assets multiple (6.62) and historical share trading price (5.01).
  • Listing history: NBK was wholly owned by the Government until 1994 when it sold by 32% to the public through a listing on the NSE, followed by another share sale in May 1996. One of the conditions of the KCB offer is that the NBK shareholders should approve the de-listing of NBK from the NSE.

The NBK board’s opinion on the bank’s valuation is not expected to change anything unless a competing bid materializes – and the deadline for that is July 17.

KCB’s Circular to NBK Shareholders:

  • KCB has invited NBK shareholders to accept their offer by completing and returning forms during the offer period that runs from 10 July to 30 August. If the deal succeeds, their new swapped shares will list on September 16. 
  • On the pricing, NBK traded 26,638 shares per day in the last 6 months. In the last three months, NBK share prices ranged from Kshs 4.3 to 4.5 while those of KCB ranged from Kshs 38 – 44.
  • KCB reserves the right to vary the terms of its offer up to 5 days before the closing date (which means they have a chance to improve on any competing offer).
  • If 75% of NBK shareholders accept the offer, the others will remain minority shareholders in an unlisted (NBK) company, but if over 90% accept, then KCB will move to compulsorily acquire the remaining shares of other NBK shareholders.
  • KCB notes that NBK’s loan book has a non-performing ratio of 49%. 
  • Any share amounts that convert into fractions of a share in the swap formula will be rounded upwards to a full share.
  • There is a long-stop date of Thursday 31 October, 2019, and if the deal is not concluded by then, the KCB offer will lapse, and all acceptances will be considered void.