Category Archives: Rwanda

RwandAir applies for US Flights

RwandAir, which is 99% owned by the Government of Rwanda, plans to start US flights, by applying to the US Department of Transportation for the right to fly passengers and cargo between Kigali and JFK airport (New York) from August 2018 using Airbus A330.
The government has designated RwandAir as its international services carrier and the application for US flights also has letters of support from the Rwanda Embassy in Washington, the Rwanda Minister of Finance who writes that the government has supported the airline since its inception in 2002 and support continues to be budgeted for each year.
The application includes three years of audited financial statements. For 2016, the airline’s revenue was $99 million (and this has gone up from $64 million in 2013). Expenses in 2016 included direct expenses of $115 million, staff of $11 million, and finance costs of $15 million –  for a loss before tax of $54 million that was then offset by a government grant of $53 million. Other government grants are cited including $56 million in 2015 and a $28 million in 2014. The application notes that the airline has no financial projections for the first twelve months of operation on the proposed US flights route and requests exemption from providing that (as have been granted to other carriers)

The RwandAir balance sheet at the time (June 2016) was $238 million – but this was before the arrival of new aircraft in an expansion program that included two Airbus A330, and 4 Boeing 737 next generation (NG).  The fleet is now 2 A330, 2 737-800, 2 CRJ-900 and a Bombardier Q400, and RwandAir also leases 3 other Boeing 737 and another Q400. By the end of  2017, RwandAir plans to have 18 aircraft which will include four more  Airbus A330’s.
RwandAir flies to 19 destinations but plans to add China, Germany, and the US flights. Plans to fly to Britain and India are included in the application, and these flights have already started in 2017. RwandAir has codeshare partnerships with Turkish, SN Brussels, Ethiopian, South African, Proflight (Zambia) and Precision (Tanzania) airlines and the application also lists technical and maintenance support partners for their aircraft including Lufthansa for the Airbus A330 and Ethiopian for the B737 NG.
RwandAir has only had one fatal incident; with a wet-leased Jetlink Kenya plane that hit a terminal building while taxiing out of Kigali in 2009 – it resulted in one fatality. After this, they canceled the wet-lease and invested in their own fleet

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.

Plane Moments: Mostly KQ

 

  • Precision Air:  Kenya Airways and it’s associate company, Precison Air Services are working on a commercial alignment with respect to pricing on joint venture routes. They have applied to Kenya’s Competition Authority for an exemption as the regulator does not allow two similar airlines to have the same ticket pricing. Read more on Precision Air in which Kenya Airways has a 41% shareholding.
  • Kenya Gets Protectionist:  Kenya is limiting the issuing of new licences for global airlines seeking to exploit the strategic Nairobi hub in a protectionist move aimed at reviving the dwindling fortunes of national carrier Kenya Airways. Transport Ministry Principal Secretary Irungu Nyakera said Kenya is doing what the US and the European Union are doing, limiting the frequency of Middle East carriers because they have realised they are killing their own airlines, leading to job losses.  
  • Tanzania is revamping its national carrier by buying new planes as part of plans to boost tourism and transport sectors.  The country received delivery of two Bombardier Q400 planes in September at a cost of $62 million and has also made initial payment for the purchase of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is expected to be delivered on June 18.
  • Nigeria airline takeovers: The takeover of the nation’s biggest airlines, Arik and Aero airlines by the undertaker, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) may have exposed some management lapses in the private sector.. some of Arik’s missteps to include “starting off its international services with the gas guzzling ultra long-range Airbus A340-500s literally guaranteeing losses on its relatively short-range services to London, South Africa, New York and Dubai. It also bought 10 of the relatively cost inefficient Boeing 737-700s used mostly by short-haul, low-cost airlines like Southwest Airlines. It only has four of the more efficient and versatile Boeing 737-800s suitable for high-capacity routes such as Lagos to Abuja and Lagos to Port Harcourt, as well as regional routes to West and Central Africa.”
  • RwandAir will start direct flights to India’s commercial centre Mumbai on April 3…it also plans to start flights to Gatwick, London’s second-busiest airport, and to the US this year as part of its strategy to serve more global markets.
  • The CEO of apologized for customer frustrations  over the last few months.  They have since introduced a new introduced a brand new Bombardier Q400 next generation aircraft to further enhance flight schedule integrity.
  • Etihad Airways Engineering has signed an agreement with Kenya Airways to perform mandatory checks on its six Boeing 787-8’s between February and October 2017.  Etihad Airways Engineering is the largest commercial aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services provider in the Middle East.

 

I&M Bank Rwanda IPO Launched

Yesterday, I&M Bank Rwanda launched an IPO share sale that will result in the listing of the bank’s entire share capital at the Rwanda Stock Exchange. The Government of Rwanda will sell its entire 19.81% in the bank as part of its divestment from public enterprise policy, and through the sale of 90 million shares of the bank, they hope to raise 8.9 billion francs (~$10.8 million), which will go to the Rwanda government after deducting expenses.

Quick Notes

  • Minimum is 1,000 shares at RWF 90 per share, therefore the cost of investment is RWF 90,000 (~approx $109 or Kshs 11,350). Further purchases are in blocks of 100 shares.
  • Opens 14 February, closes 3 March 2017.
  • Allotment plan: 40% of the shares are reserved for international investors and 60% for domestic investors. The domestic pool is further broken down with 25% reserved for East African nationals, 5% for employees of the bank, 15% for Rwanda institutional investors (QII’s) and 15% for other East African QII’s.
  • The Plan is to list and trade the shares, in Kigali, as ‘IMR’ from 31 March 2017.

IN 2015, I&M Bank Rwanda (IMR) was the 3rd largest bank in Rwanda by assets (RWF 171 billion), behind Bank of Kigali (RWF 561 billion), and Cogebanque (RWF 178 billion). Other banks were KCB Rwanda (RWF 149 billion) and Equity Rwanda (RWF 93 billion). For 2016, IMR had assets of 206 billion francs in 2016, loans of 111 billion and deposits of 134 billion and a pretax profit of 8.4 billion francs. It’ has 17 branches, and plans to build a new headquarters ($25M) and install a new IT system ($4M). It’s business is in four mains sectors – construction, wholesale & retail, manufacturing, and agriculture.

I&M Bank Rwanda (formerly Banque Commerciale du Rwanda Limited – BCR) is the Rwanda subsidiary of I&M Holdings Limited. I&M Holdings listed on the Nairobi Securities exchange in June 2013. It is the oldest financial institution with over 50 years of existence and the first bank in Rwanda, having been incorporated in 1963Actis recapitalized the bank and became an 80% owner in 2004 and sold that 80% stake in 2012 to I&M (55%) and the governments of Germany and France who, through their development finance institutions of DEG and Proparco respectively, each retain 12.5%.

Odd points

  • IMR has entered three swap snap transactions with the National Bank of Rwanda (regulator) in which I&M has given $8 million to the regulator in exchange for local currency. I&M will receive 2% interest and pay the NBR 8% interest in local currency.
  •  In Rwanda, bank directors sign conflict of interest statements?!

More details in the prospectus from Dyer & Blair Investment Bank, who, along with BARAKA Capital Limited Uganda, are Lead Transaction Advisors. BARAKA Capital Rwanda is the Lead Sponsoring Broker.

EDIT

  • @imbankrw Feb 21Good News! The Sale of @imbankrw shares has been extended to March 10, 2017. Do not miss out on this opportunity. Apply Today. #OwnYourBank
  • @imbankrw 3 minutes ago Equity Credit offers an opportunity to our customers who need financing tobuy shares http://www.imbank.com/rwanda/loans/equity-credit/ … #OwnYourBank (I&M is financing purchase of shares, up to 70% of the value of shares, up to 15 million Rwf)

1 KES = 7.93 RWF and 1 USD = 823 RWF

RwandAir Airbus A330

After almost three hours winding through about a dozen checkpoints and queues inside Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, it was quite a pleasant sight to get to see daylight and planes lined up.

Three days before, Rwandair flight 200 from Kigali to Lagos was operated by a B737-700 and 201 from  Lagos to Kigali was also meant to be on a similar aircraft, but parked in at the gate  was an  unusually large Rwandair plane.

RwandAir recently acquired an Airbus A330-200 (christened Ubumwe) and with another Airbus A330-300 due in November, they are making a big splash about the planes. The new aircraft even featuring in minister’s speech in Lagos and on TV and newspaper advertisements about Rwandair connecting Africa (never mind that Ethiopian, KQ, SAA, Arik have had similar wide-body twin jets for a decade).rwanda-a330-2

On this day, many of the electronic systems at the Lagos  airport were down, and virtually everything was done manually, with boarding passes written by hand. At check-in, I had asked for an aisle seat and the man at the counter nodded in acknowledgment, but when I looked at my boarding pass, my seat number was “F/S” – as was everyone else’s – this meant “free-seating”.

The airline staff at the boarding gate first ushered in the passengers who were in business class, and this included Clare Akamanzi,  Head, Strategy & Policy Unit, Office of the Rwanda President, who had been down in the queues, and gone through the whole laborious check in process like an ordinary passenger, including having her suitcase opened, then wrapped for security purposes. The airport staff said she was a Minister but clearly she did not behave like any minister they might have seen.

Other passengers were then allowed on board, with through the jet bridge that had been placed at a mid-cabin door and were then directed to pick any seat in economy class. The new plane has two large economy class cabins, a small premium economy one, and a business one near the front, for a total capacity of 274 passengers. Everyone in economy flopped into a seat relieved at the abundance bin space and many empty seats on the flight.

Points about the flight, using this borrowed format (via AU traveller)  

Airline review: RwandAir economy class, Lagos to Kigali

The airline operates a dream miles program on a visa card, but this was only my first round trip with RwandAir. The airline is also not part of any miles alliance partnership now.

rwanda-a330CLASS: Economy, window in the third row of the second cabin.

DURATION: 4h 30m.

FREQUENCY: WB 201 between Lagos to Kigali is 4X a week: Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun  (12:00 17:30)

THE SEAT: The configuration here is 2-4-2 in both economy cabins and many of the seats were empty. All the seats have personal touch screen entertainment displays, with light and flight attendant controls. There is also a USB  charger next to the screen.

ENTERTAINMENT: The touch screen system was quite nimble. My first set of headphones, given out after take-off did not work, but the second one did. You touch the screen and pick out  movies, TV clips, and games. The selection is rather thin, and you have to pause to escape from a menu but the system is nice once you’re used to it.

The touchscreen menu options are in 6 languages – English, Kinyarwanda, French, Swahili Arabic, and Mandarin?/Chinese. There were other menu options like gambling games, a kids selection with games and movies and a music selection – with pop hits, African, Classical etc. I flipped back and forth between “Batman vs. Superman” and “Avatar” movies, and the system allows you to resume from where you left off in any movie or game.

BAGGAGE: This was dictated by Murtala airport where there is an elaborate  but time-consuming luggage procedure of weighing, tagging, scanning, searching physically, then wrapping the bags . A friend who had flown in from Kigali with two small backpacks was now told he could only carry one bag on board and check the other one as luggage on this RwandAir flight. We all lost our luggage and filed reports in Nairobi and the luggage has just been delivered (two days later).

COMFORT: Both the RwandAir legs between Lagos and Kigali are afternoon flights that arrive in the evening and match morning arrivals and night departures from Kigali, Rwanda.

SERVICE: The flight took off about twenty minutes late and there were several apologies made during P/A announcements to passengers.  In addition to the entertainment system, there is a Wi-Fi service on board though I was not able to connect. But @LucyMbabazi did on the very next RwandAir Airbus A330 flight and she happily reported on that, and other niceties  like a  massage chair. lucya330biz

 FOOD: There was a chicken or beef option with lunch about an hour into the flight.  The crew had two meal services sessions, one with the meal, a beverage before touchdown from which they did not deviate . They were rather stingy and would not add an extra beer, unlike the crew on the earlier RwandAir 737 flight. They also serve Rwandan coffee or tea. The meal serving trays are rather small, and you find yourself placing wrappers and utensils in your lap as you peel and eat.

ONE MORE THING: On landing in Kigali, RwandAir ground staff knew that there were late passengers connecting on  to other flight and they gave them priority with simultaneous  immigration and check-in e.g. for Entebbe, Johannesburg and Nairobi They had even pre-printed boarding passes for some passengers, and called them up by name to rush them through to the next flights –  nice attention to detail!

rwanda-a330-3

Some facilities are different about the  plane and that may mean they may have some breakages e.g with the bathroom doors that fold in the middle to open, rather than swing out (many passengers pushed and pulled them) and the headphones have a jack you fold in half to insert and use) .

THE VERDICT: Nice RwandAir flight on the new aircraft. The crew was probably testing out the new A330 and wanted to be efficient with a minister on board.