The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) has launched a new push to increase the number of listed companies. Rather than wait for companies to get ready for listing, they had set out to seek and groom companies under the Ibuka program and have now launched an unquoted securities platform (USP) to woo more companies.
At an event organized by the Bob Collymore Foundation to connect small and medium businesses seeking capital with potential investors, NSE CEO Geoffrey Odundo said there are 498 private equity funds in Africa with 238 are active in Kenya where there was Kshs 2 trillion available to invest in well-run businesses. He said the new NSE programs are designed at improving the transparency, governance, and chances of business survival after a founder hands off, not just raising capital.
The USP is an information and infrastructure solution to promote the issuing and trading securities by unquoted companies who can list corporate bonds, ordinary or preference shares, REIT’s, private offers, rights issues and secondary listings of any amount. It targets the many companies whose shares trade over-the-counter (OTC), but whose owners are seeking liquidity, clearer valuations and maybe later to raise capital.
Companies can apply by sending a prospectus to the CMA and NSE, one year of audited accounts, board resolution, incorporation documents and a fee of Kshs 5,000. It takes 21 days for a decision to be made if all documents are sent and the cost of listing is 0.03% of the value of the securities.
The NSE’s USP board has two listings, both from Acorn Holdings. As part of the conclusion of its green bond program, Acorn has transferred the student accommodations it is building into an Acorn D-REIT (real estate development trust), and once they are complete, they will be sold to an Acorn I-REIT (income real estate investment trust) that will manage the properties. A few weeks ago, on July 9, the USP board had its first trades as one million shares of Acorn worth Kshs 20 million (Kshs 6M of the D-REIT, and Kshs 14M of the I-REIT) were traded.