Category Archives: Safaricom IPO

President pledges NSE Revival through IPOs

President William Ruto visited the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) and rang the opening bell, then listened to financial and government leaders explain the situation in the financial markets.

  • NSE Chairman, Kiprono Kittony lamented that there had been no new government listings in 13 years. This stems from challenges and long procedures in the privatization process and they have had talks with Moses Kuria, the designated Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Investment and Industry,.
  • James Mwangi CEO of the Equity Bank CEO said his group was the ultimate hustler fund that grew from being a Nyagatugu village mutual fund, owned by 2,500 farmers. In 2005 and 2006 it converted into a bank and listed on the NSE which enabled them to then raise $185 million (Kshs 11 billion) from Helios. Today, the original investors have seen a 159,000% return on their investment and Equity, with Kshs 1.4 trillion of assets, has the sovereign fund of Norway (Norfund) and the World Bank Group as its largest shareholders.  
  • Lengthy Privations: Engineer Kinyanjui of the PPP said privatization as currently structured has 16-17 steps and each takes 5 months. The government owns Kshs 426 billion of investments (at the NSE) and can’t sell one share without going through a privatization law process. Entities like ICDC (now under KDC) have mature investments they are ready to exit from and support the government program and the delay in privatization means that when they divest, there is an erosion of value. 
  • Pension Opportunity: Hosea Kili, the Managing Director of Laptrust said the Lamu Port, SGR and Nairobi Expressway could have been financed by the local pension industry if they had been structured for them and lamented that they are unable to deploy funds as there are no new listings. He added that Laptrust plans to list Kshs 7 billion of their Kshs 17 billion property portfolio as an I-REIT. 
  • The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) boss said that 15 million Kenyans are not in any pension schemes. At the same time the NSSF, which has shares in 29 listed companies, is 3% of the NSE, has reached the limits of what it can invest in some counters.  

After listening to leaders, President Ruto said the government would revive the capital markets by privatizing and listing 5-10 state enterprises in the next 12 months and that the government would also seek to float a domestic dollar-denominated bond.

He directed that the government review of privatization law to review sections that inhibit the process, or he would move to repeal it. He also asked private companies to step forward and list and said the government was willing to remove some impediments including forgiveness of some tax sins. 

In his closing remarks, the President: 

  • Announced that Bio Foods and Credit Bank have obtained approvals to list at the NSE.
  • Invited the pension companies to a meeting at State House a few days later. 
  • He also put a fire under the boards of Nairobi International Financial Centre and the Privatization Commission for not delivering.

Here’s a stream of the launch of the enhanced NSE Market Place event

MTN Ghana IPO

EDIT September 5 2018 MTN Ghana shares listed on September 5.  Bloomberg reports that Africa’s largest mobile-phone company sold 1.5 billion shares in its Ghana unit at 75 pesewas each, a large addition to potential volumes on a market where 323 million shares were traded in the whole of 2017, according to data from the bourse. Of the 128,152 new shareholders who bought stock in MTN Ghana, 127,653 are retail investors. The exchange had 976,068 investors in equity and debt securities last year. On Wednesday, the stock closed unchanged after more than 5 million shares were traded.

Original June 4: MTN Ghana the leading Telco in that country has just launched an IPO as part of a requirement for obtaining a 4G license in 2015 and which has resulted in the offer of 35% ownership in the company to Ghanaian investors and with the shares listed thereafter.

MTN Ghana: It is the largest telco company in Ghana with 17.8 million subscribers, and with an estimated 47% market share and 12 million data customers. MTN Ghana had 2017 revenue of  GHS 3.42 billion (about $728 million) and a net profit of GHS 715 million ($152 million). They target is to pay put 60% of profit as dividends. It is part of the MTN Group that has 217 million customers across 22 Africa and the Middle East countries such as Uganda, South Sudan South Africa Sudan (not Kenya but for a corporate business unit), and it is the largest telco in 14 of these countries.

Looking at the IPO documents in an A to Z format:  

Ghana:  Ghana is the second biggest economy in West Africa. It has a population of 28 million, and a recent average economic growth rate of 7.0% per year. Ghana has a mobile penetration of 130% (38 million customers), and besides MTN, other companies are Airtel, Tigo, Vodafone and Glo.

GSE: The MTN Ghana shares, which will trade as MTNGH, will be listed on the Ghana stock exchange, which operates three markets including a main market with 34 listed equities, an alternative market and a fixed income market.

IPO Applications: Ghanaians can subscribe for the new shares through MTN USSD app, online, or at MTN branches. Payment options are by cash, cheque, MTN money, bank transfers and (Visa & MasterCard) debit cards, while payment by credit cards and postal orders are not allowed. Customers (who are clients of IC Securities) will also be able to trade/sell their share by USSD on the phone app

Mobile Money: 11.6 million customers use it to do a variety of things including money transfers (they have 90,000 agents/merchants), buy airtime, bill payments, bulk payments, pay fees to schools on the platform, save (and invest), “TBill4All” (partnership with Ecobank Ghana enables buying of treasury bills), “Y’ello” save (partnerships with Fidelity Bank for savings), international remittance, send money to bank accounts, buy “mi-life” insurance and do ATM cash-outs at machines at 8 of the 17 banks that MTN partners with. “MoMo” has also used for payment in the Google store since December 2017.

Shareholding changes: Ahead of the IPO, MTN Group owns 97.65% and a company called Zent 2.35%; after the IPO it is envisioned that MTN Group will have 63%, Zent 1.91% and new investors 35%. The minimum target to be deemed a success is 10% i.e uptake of 0.35 billion GHS ($75 million) – and allocation to non-Ghanaians will be limited to 5% of the issues shares

Taxes: MTN Ghana pays about 3% of Ghana government tax revenue and supports 500,000 jobs through its ecosystem of suppliers. It paid 1.1 billion cedis ($225 million) in 2017 as income tax, communication fees, withholding, customs duties, PAYE and other taxes.

Threats: The document cites threats to MTN Ghana growth plans including; battery theft (from cell sites), fibre cuts (average 3 per day on their 5,000 kilometre nationwide fibre network), SImbox fraud, load shedding (electricity power shortages), OTT calls and competition from other Telco’s.

 Timelines: The IPO runs for nine weeks from 29 May to 31 July 2018. There will be regional sideshows for two weeks in June, and allotment and listing are planned for on 5 September 2018. If there is an oversubscription, refunds will be from August 8.

Transaction advisors: The sponsoring stockbroker is IC securities, and receiving agents are all stockbrokers and receiving banks are almost about 20 Ghanaian banks – such as Access, Ecobank, Barclays, UBA, FBN, GT Bank, Societe Generale, Standard Chartered, Stanbic, Zenith, FBN, GN, and Fidelity.

Valuation: They are offering 4.63 billion shares at GHS 0.75 per share (about $0.16 or Kenya 16.1 per share ) and MTN Ghana can employees get a 10% discount. The offer documents by MTN Ghana compared its implied value from the IPO of about $2.2 billion (GHS 10 billion) to other peer Telco’s including MTN Group (South Africa) $18.6 billion, Bharti Airtel (India) $26.2 billion), Etisalat (UAE) $40.5 billion), Safaricom (Kenya) $11.5 billion), Itissalat Al-Maghrib (Morocco) $14.3 billion, Sonatel (Senegal) $4.0 billion, and Vodacom Group (SA) $22.6 billion) .

Safaricom Governance Changes

Appearing in today’s newspaper was a notice for the Safaricom shareholders annual general meeting (AGM) that will take place on September 1. In addition to the usual shareholder resolutions, there are additional matters that will be approved, mainly relating to governance by at Safaricom. This all follows the buyout of UK’s Vodafone stake in Safaricom, by South African Vodacom in an internal Vodafone group corporate realignment earlier this year that has now been completed.  A running theme seems to be to entrench Kenyan citizens in the governance and influence at what is now Kenya’s most valuable company.

Some of the changes:

  • The company Chairman shall be a Kenyan (this is now going to be mandatory and is spelt out in the company’s articles of association)
  • Directors shall encourage retention of a “Kenyan character” in the senior management and executive committees of Safaricom.
  • The articles are also changed to spell out that that the independent non-executive directors of Safaricom, shall all be Kenyan citizens.
  • The position of Deputy Chairman is eliminated.
  • Directors appointed by Vodafone shall be excluded from voting on agreements relating to M-Pesa.
  • Directors appointed by Vodafone are to vote in the interest of the company (Safaricom) if its growth and investment decision clash with those of Vodafone.
  • Directors shall appoint the Managing Director Previously as indicated in documents from the Safaricom IPO, Vodafone directors had veto power over the appointment over approval of business plans, annual budgets, the appointment of the Managing Director (Chief Executive Officer) and appointment of the Financial Director (Chief Financial Officer). Now, the Safaricom articles will change to read that “75% directors must approve these provisions” including a new one of “any material change to the company brand”. Shareholders at the AGM will also approve a name change of the company to “Safaricom PLC” in compliance with Kenya’s new companies law for listed companies to be “PLC”

EDIT: At the 2019 AGM, held on August 30 in Nairobi, shareholders will be asked to approve a special resolution to amend the maximum number of directors to be 11, not 10, and have a majority of independent directors be Kenyan. The announcement comes a few weeks after Bob Collymore, the Company’s long-serving CEO, passed away. His predecessor, Michael Joseph has been appointed to serve as interim CEO until the Board picks a successor to Collymore.

Safaricom Twaweza

Safaricom launched a new brand called Twaweza this weekend, at a swanky ceremony in marked contrast to past subtle changes to the logo of the company.

Director Sylvia Mulinge narrated the seventeen year history of the company from being a department at Telkom Kenya, to becoming Kenya’s largest company, with its ups (choosing to bill its customers per second for every call [which enabled it to leapfrog its competitor who billed per minute], rolling out Simu ya Jamii, 3G data, M-Pesa in 2007, and the Safaricom IPO and listing in 2008). She also listed some missteps made, such as rolling out unlimited data to customers, and slow upgrades to their network that led to infamous Friday congestion – and which then-CEO Michael Joseph attributed to “peculiar Kenyan” phone calling habits that.

Twaweza, announced by CEO Bob Collymore, signals the switch of Safaricom from being a telecommunications company to a digital lifestyle enabler for Kenyans to connect and do more with their lives using the Safaricom network and ecosystem.

Vodacom buys Vodafone Stake at Safaricom

Early this morning a surprising news story first appeared at Bloomberg about Vodacom buying shares at Safaricom. Early interpretations of the story had the Kenya government selling their entire 35% of their most valuable investment to Vodacom.

But later, the official statement from Vodafone (and Safaricom) confirmed that Vodafone was the one selling 35% of their shareholding to Vodacom. It includes a statement by Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore that the deal “promotes the continued successful expansion of the company as well as the opportunity to drive M-PESA to other markets in the continent.”

  • Safaricom had announced another record earnings year year, last week.
  • Will there be a rebrand to Vodacom? Safari com may be constrained by operating in Kenya. Vodacom just had an IPO in Tanzania whose outcome is pending and M-Pesa has had tremendous strides in Tanzania.
  •  Former Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph resigned from the Vodafone board a month ago to concentrate on his role as Kenya Airways Chairman.
  • Vodafone will remain with 5% of Safaricom – down from 39.93%.