Category Archives: tanzania

Sportpesa return flames out

Last Friday, there was a bold tweet by the CEO of Sportpesa announcing the return of the company to full business, with partnerships for sports development to follow.

This comes after a crackdown last year crackdown on gambling companies through a moral push, taxation claims and difficulties renewing licenses, which all led many of the top betting companies to scale back their sponsorships and operations.

But the announcement, just as the English and European soccer leagues that are popular with betting punters get into gear, was followed by a surprising turn of events.

The following morning, the Chairman of the Betting Control and Licensing Board had a press conference and issued a statement about information that Sportpesa Global had granted to Milestone Games permission to operate as ‘Sportpesa’. It went on to say that had licensed Milestone to operate in the country, but asserted that Sportpesa is owned by Pevans East Africa and that no other company can use its name brand, domains and mobile phone shortcodes – asked directed Milestone to use its own website.

Then over the weekend, one of the other Sportpesa shareholders, Paul Wanderi Ndung’u also released a statement on behalf of Kenyan shareholders of Sportpesa and said he had been unaware of the developments with Milestone. He also made some serious claims about the company:

  • Said the problems of the company started in 2017 when its executive directors allied with its foreign shareholders and started running the company without reference to the board. 
  • Said that another director, Asenath Maina, had requested a forensic audit in 2019 on the firm, but that the foreign shareholders, who had been since been deported from Kenya, continue to frustrate the audit.
  • In three years Pevans East Africa (Sportpesa) has transferred $250 million to the Isle of Man, Dubai, the Canary Islands and the UK. Then, after the company closed, it transferred another $17.5 million to Sportpesa Tanzania and $0.5 million to Sportpesa South Africa.
  • KPMG and Deloitte &Touche have resigned as auditors and tax advisers respectively of Sportpesa Global in the UK, while PricewaterhouseCoopers resigned as the auditor of the Kenyan business.
  • Officers from the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) have visited Sportpesa’s Nairobi office – and this was linked to negative media and parliamentary coverage in the UK.

To be continued . .

M&A Moment: September 2020

Since the last update of deals in the East Africa region, we are six months into the era of Coronavirus and its effects across the world.

Merger and acquisition (M&A) deal are still happening, with some older ones having been in the pipeline for months before. The impact of the pandemic has also created some new M&A deals and partnerships, while reducing the value of others, and even killing off some earlier-announced merger deals, in scenarios that had all been foreseen by deal-makers.

Here are some notable deals (1 US dollar equals 108 Kenya shillings)

Airline/ Oil/Energy/Mining M&A

  • Jubilee Holdings is acquiring an additional 9.4% share in Uganda’s Bujagali Hydropower from SN Power for $40 million to now own 18.2% of the project as part of a diversified portfolio that includes quoted stocks, bonds, real estate and interests in Farmer’s Choice, PDM and Seacom. 
  • The proposal to nationalize Kenya Airways through a National Aviation Management Bill, which grew out of a proposal by the airline to manage Nairobi’s main airport, will be debated in Kenya’s Parliament over the next few months.
  • Shareholders of Tullow Oil approved the sale of its entire interest in Blocks 1, 1A, 2 and 3A in Uganda and the proposed East African crude oil pipeline System to Total. 
  • The proposed Transfer of 85% of Global Petroleum Products Kenya  to E3 Energy DMCC has been approved 
  • Barrick Gold and the Government of Tanzania have signed an agreement to launch a new joint venture to oversee the company’s future gold mining operations in the country. 
  • The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of 100% of Acacia Exploration (Kenya) by Shanta Gold Mauritius.
  • Safaricom bought 18.96% of Circle Gas for Kshs 385 million. The gas company has interests in Tanzania also acquired KopaGas’s technology in a $25 million transaction, one of the largest private equity investment in the clean cooking sector
  • In what will be a controversial deal, Kenya plans to have the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation become a super agency to oversee a new Kenya Transport and Logistics Network (KTLN) that will coordinate the Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Railways and Kenya Pipeline Company.
  •  Deal Undone: The Competition Authority has noted that the acquisition of 80% of the Embraer by Boeing has failed to take place following the decision of the parties to withdraw from the transaction. 

Banking and Finance: Finance, Law, & Insurance M&A

Kenyan Banks  

  • Kenya’s Central Bank approved the acquisition of 51% of Mayfair Bank by Commercial International Bank, Egypt’s leading private sector bank, and it will be renamed as Mayfair CIB Bank.  
  • The Central Bank of Kenya approved the takeover of 90% of Jamii Bora Bank by the Cooperative Bank of Kenya.
  • Access Bank completed the acquisition of 100% of Transnational Bank. 
  • Centum’s Bakki Holdico has acquired all the shares of the late Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat in Sidian Bank (via Business Daily) 
  • Equity Bank has completed its buyout of 66.53% BCDC in DRC. Covid saw the final price reduced by $10 million to $95 million.  
  • Deal undone: Atlas Mara and Equity Bank mutually agreed to discontinue transaction discussions given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Deal undone? Businessman Naushad Merali and Mwalimu National Sacco plan to sell their stakes in Spire Bank after it issued a notice to engage potential suitors to buy a 100% of the bank. 

Investment Markets and Deal Makers

  • The Nairobi Securities Exchange acquired 61% of AKS Nominees, which holds an 18% share in the Central Depository and Settlement Corporation (CDSC) for Kshs 77 million.
  • Genghis Capital has partnered with EGM Securities to offer investors a wider range of alternative asset classes including online currencies, commodities, precious metals, oil, and biotech stocks.
  • Helios & Fairfax to partner on Africa investments
  • Fanisi Capital and Ascent Capital are set to merge and raise funds for bigger deals in the region.
  • Two Nairobi stockbrokers AIB Capital and Apex Africa entered a joint venture that will lead to a merger. The entity will be part of Mauritius firm, the AXYS Group which acquired Apex in 2015.
  • African Alliance Kenya investment bank is divesting from stockbroking owing to a structural decline in the agency trading model in both the local and global financial markets (amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic)

Insurance

  • The Competition Authority approved the acquisition of 24.1% of ICEA Lion Insurance Holdings by Eastern Africa Holdings which is being used by private equity firm Leapfrog Investments for the buyout of  ICEA Lion Insurance Holdings for Kshs 10 billion.
  • The sale of Stanlib Kenya to ICEA Lion was approved by the Competition Authority though clients have pulled out Kshs 75 billion following the deal. 
  • Mauritian insurance company MUA completed the acquisition of Saham Assurance Company Kenya. 
  • Octagon Africa, who offer pension, actuarial and insurance services in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia acquired a 49% stake in the Zambia subsidiary of Alexander Forbes who doing a group strategic review. 
  • EDIT: Allianz will acquire controlling stakes in Jubilee Insurance’s general insurance business (property & casualty insurance) in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda as well as the short-term insurance business in Burundi and  Mauritius for Kshs 10.8 billion ($ 100 million) while Jubilee will also acquire Allianz Insurance Kenya.  

Regional Banks

  • The Tanzania Postal Bank (TPB) has absorbed a third bank, TIB Corporate, in a new merger deal. 
  • The National Bank of Malawi plans to invest in Akiba Commercial Bank in Tanzania in a bid to expand its operations beyond Malawi.
  • The Bank of Tanzania approved the merger of Mwanga Community Bank and Hakika Microfinance Bank to form the Mwanga Hakika Microfinance Bank. 
  • EFG Hermes and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt aim to acquire 76% of the Arab Investment Bank. EFG Hermes will own 51% of the bank and plans to transition from an investment bank to a commercial bank. 
  • I&M Bank is buying Orient Bank in Uganda.  

Remittances

  • WorldRemit has agreed to acquire Sendwave, an app-based remittance company in a cash and stock transaction. 
  • Beyonic has been acquired by MFS Africa.  

Agri-Business, Food & Beverage M&A

  • Kenya has floated an international expression of interest for the privatization of five sugar firms
  • The Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited (KTDA) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are each investing over Kshs 150 million to set up Africa’s first Japanese speciality green tea production factory at Kangaita Tea Farm in Kirinyaga County. 
  • President Kenyatta has ordered the Kenya Meat Commission to be transferred from the Ministry of Livestock to the Ministry of Defence
  • Dominion Farms on a parcel of land comprising 3,700 hectares at Yala Swamp in Siaya County is being transferred to Lake Agro Ltd.
  • edit Nathan Kalumbu has acquired control of Interstrat Ltd (Big Square Kenya) which has assets worth Ksh 689 million.
  • edit The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of Dilpack Kenya by Elgon Kenya and the companies will from March 2020 will jointly service the East African market with packaging solutions for the horticultural and floricultural industries.
  • edit The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of Marsyetu Ltd by Mija Ltd. 

Health and Medical, Pharmaceutical M&A

  • Indo-Oceania Ventures is acquiring Mayfair Healthcare Holdings
  • The CDC Group and Novastar Ventures have invested in mPharma which currently operates in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and serves approximately one million patients annually, through a network of over 400 pharmacies.
  • edit Goodlife Pharmacy, which had a turnover in 2018 of Kshs 936 million, is acquiring assets of Salama Pharmaceuticals which had a turnover of Kshs 13.3 million and Eurose Enterprises which had a turnover of Kshs 9.8 million in the same years.

Logistics, Engineering, & Manufacturing M&A

  • Mum’s Village Kenya has merged with BabyBliss Nigeria to create the Bliss Group Africa. 
  • Portuguese multinational Salvador Caetano Group has invested Kshs 350 million to launch an automotive hub in Kenya and be the dealer for Renaultand Hyundai cars with plans to venture into the local assembly of the two brands.
  • Bolt, the ride-hailing app, has received a EUR 50 million as venture debt facility from the European Investment Bank to support its research and development strategies.
  • Kenyan e-commerce startup AfricaSokoni has acquired Nigeria company Bolorims to expand into the West African country. The deal, which gives Bolorims a 10% cent stake in AfricaSokoni, creates a new entity in Nigeria, Bolosokoni.com, with AfricaSokoni continue to trade as before in Kenya. 
  • edit Evo Pack Ltd is acquiring Kshs 234 million worth of assets of Digital Packaging Innovation Holdings.
  • edit The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of certain assets of Bamburi Special Products, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bamburi Cement, by Yellow House Ltd.
  • edit The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of 25% of Macquarie Airfinance Limited by Sunsuper Pty.
  • edit The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of Ignazio Messina and C.S.P.A and Roro Italia S.R.L by Marinvest S.R.L on condition that Ignazio Messina East Africa business continues to operated and managed independently of Marinvest.
  • edit Shareholders of NSE-listed Nairobi Business Ventures approved the sale of 84% of the firm to Delta International FZE of Dubai, for Kshs 83 million, pending regularity approval.

Real Estate, Tourism, & Supermarkets M&A

  • LSE-listed Network International Holdings is to acquire Nairobi-headquartered DPO Group for $288 million worth of shares of Network. The firm whose payment services are used in 19 African countries, was affected by COVID disruptions of travel and the tourism sector. DPO’s founders will get $13m worth of shares and Apis Growth Fund receives $50m of shares in Network. 
  • PrideInn Group has acquired Azure Hotel and re-opened the Kshs 1.2 billion Westlands hotel that suspended operations in March during the pandemic.  
  • Cloud9xp, an online booking service for leisure experiences and an alumnus of Nairobi Garage, has been acquired by Kenyan-based travel-tech outfit HotelOnline in a share swap deal. 
  • Tusker Mattresses announced plans to recapitalize through the sale of a majority stake that is supported by seven shareholders in its Orakam parent company. But it’s not clear if this will be enough to save the struggling retailers that initially tried to secure short-term supplier support through ring-fencing of payments.  
  • Slumberland Kenya is being transferred to Simba Foam.
  • Deal undone: Tiffany & Co. has filed a lawsuit to compel LVMH Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton to complete a merger transaction on earlier-agreed terms, noting that COVID-19 has not prevented other parties from concluding similar deals 
  • edit The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of control Of Kingdom 5-KR- 185 Ltd by Madison Hotels and Resorts. The Business Daily has this story of the sale of hotels between billionaires by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal to Binod Chaudhary.

Telecommunications, Media & Publishing M&A

  • Edelman, the largest independent global communications firm, has expanded its African footprint with the acquisition of Gina Din Corporate Communications
  • Scangroup completed a long-standing deal after a special EGM in May 2020 saw 88% of its registered shareholders participate and vote 99.98% in its favour.
  • Safaricom and Vodacom have acquired control of M-Pesa in Africa from Vodafone for Kshs 2.15 billion, with each firm paying 50% of the amount (Kshs 1.07.billion) as their share of the joint venture. 
  • Tigo has combined with Zantel. The Tanzanian firms have a combined 12.8 million customers and 7.4 million mobile money users.
  • Mettā and Nairobi Garage are combining their services to create Kenya’s largest innovation community, offering access to all their networks, while members will have access to both organizations’ workspaces throughout Nairobi and the complimentary business support services
  • Nigeria’s CcHub acquired Kenya’s iHub to create a mega Africa incubator.
  • edit French media company Groupe Canal+ SA has acquired a 6.50% stake in Multichoice Africa. This comes after Canal+ acquired African film and television studio ROK in 2019.
  • Deal undone: Telkom Kenya and Airtel have mutually agreed to end their pursuit of a joint venture. This came after conditions were raised that delayed the deal.  
  • edit The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of 20% of Icolo Limited By Prif Africa Holding.
  • edit Autochek.Africa is buying out Ringier One Africa Media’s Cheki and will operate in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya where Cheki runs new and second-hand car sales, car importation services, car loans and financing.

Other M&A

  • Sport: The legendary Williams F1 racing was taken over by US investment firm Dorilton Capital. Covid and a sponsor departure were triggers for the deal. 
  • Foreign Aid: The United Kingdom, which is leaving the European Union, plans to merge the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – to become the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
  • Art: The art prize collection of the bankrupt Abraaj Group was acquired by a Saudi art organization Art Jameel and will be hosted at their space in Dubai. 

Cashless pushes around Africa

Nigeria: The Central Bank of Nigeria set a tariff of 3% for deposits and 2% for withdrawals of  more than Naira 500,000 (equivalent to ~$1,380) from individual accounts. They also set a tariff of 5% for withdrawals from corporate accounts, and 3% for deposits, over Naira 3 Million (equivalent to ~$8,280) from corporate accounts. This is in the states of Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, and Rivers States as well as the Federal Capital Territory. This is to promote cashless transactions. (Source)

Uganda: The Bank of Uganda has banned merchants from imposing surcharges for the use of electronic card payments and also the setting of minimum and maxim amounts that can be transacted on cars. In addition, they have asked banks in Uganda to harmonize tariffs that they levy on customers of banks for when they use each other’s ATM’s.

Kenya: Today is the deadline set by Kenya’s Central Bank after which the old series of the Kshs 1,000 (~$10 notes), bearing the image of the first President of Kenya, will cease to become legal  tender for transacting in the country.

Tanzania: Mobile app lender Tala suspended issuing loans in Tanzania. The company which claims to have lent over $1 billion to 4 million individuals will continue in Kenya which they say, with 3 million customers, is a critical part of their global business, and where they are piloting new financial education services. California-headquartered Tala also has customers in The Philippines, Mexico and India, and is backed by investors like PayPal, IVP, and Revolution Growth.

Zimbabwe: The Cashless push has gone awry in Zimbabwe where the Government has now banned Ecocash agents from making cash deposits and withdrawals for customers as these are now happening at values that are at variance. This has resulted in a situation where $1 in cash is worth ~$1.50 in digital money. 

Jumia IPO – Prospectus Peek

Edit April 12: Jumia lists on the NYSE

EDIT March 29 2019:  Mastercard Europe SA has agreed to purchase 128;50.0 million of our ordinary shares in a concurrent private placement at a price per share equal to the euro equivalent of the IPO offering price per ordinary share. Based on an assumed IPO offering price of $14.50 per ADS, which is the midpoint of the price range set and an assumed exchange rate of $1.1325 per 128;1.00, this would be 7,810,364 ordinary shares (corresponding to 3,905,182 ADSs). We will receive the net proceeds from this Concurrent Private Placement.

  • Mastercard Europe SA has agreed to purchase €50 million of our ordinary shares in a concurrent private placement at a price per share equal to the euro equivalent of the initial public offering price per ordinary share.
  • Certain of our existing shareholders have the right to subscribe for additional ordinary shares at nominal value depending upon the initial public offering price and the number of shares placed in this offering. Assuming a placement of all offered ADSs at the midpoint of the price range, these existing shareholders may subscribe for 18,157,245 ordinary shares against payment of €18.2 million.
  • The chairperson of our supervisory board, Jonathan Klein, has indicated an interest in purchasing an aggregate of up to $1.0 million in ADSs in this offering at the IPO price.

Posted March 15 Reading the F-1 filing for Africa Internet Holding GmbH, the Africa e-commerce company that will now be known as Jumia Technologies AG after it applied to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “JMIA”.

Not much about the management at Jumia has been shared since Rocket Internet was dissected in Bloomberg story on their formula for Africa.  “Rocket sends three people to a different country to start a business: a CEO, a CFO, and a COO. The CEO builds the team, does the marketing, and drives sales. The CFO manages the revenue growth and cash burn. The COO makes sure we have a big enough warehouse and that the packages get delivered… and .. (the brothers) didn’t feel bad about copying. They had this feeling like they have to make Germany great again, so they only care about building big companies.

Why Africa?: The company (Jumia) is Africa Internet Holdings, registered in Germany. Jumia sees Africa as a market with 1.2 billion people (Jumia is in countries with 55% of this population), GDP of $2 trillion and 453 million internet users (Jumia is in countries with 77% of these internet users) and (they) believe that this younger generation, born into an “online” world, is increasingly seeking access to a wider choice of food, consumer goods and entertainment options as it becomes increasingly connected to, and aware of, global consumer trends.

They now have 4 million active customers, 81,000 active sellers, handled 13 million packages in 2018 and had 54% of transactions done on Jumia Pay which they introduced in Nigeria in 2016 and Egypt in 2018.

Ownership: The company was incorporated in June 2012. Shareholders in December 2018 were Mobile Telephone Networks Holdings – MTN (31.28%), Rocket Internet (21.74%), Millicom (10.15%), AEH New Africa eCommerce I (8.86%), 6.06% each for Atlas Countries Support and AXA Africa Holding, Chelsea Wharf Holdings (5.51%), CDC Group (4.04%), Rocket Investment Funds (3.48%) and Goldman Sachs (2.83%). A new shareholder, Pernod Ricard, came on board investing €75 million cash in January for 7,105 shares which became 5.1 million shares in a capital increase in February 2019 and they are entitled to more shares if an IPO happens within 18 months of their investment.

Governance: Jumia has 2 Co-CEO’s – Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec who are both co-founders of the Company. There is also Antoine Maillet-Mezeray, the CFO – and the three, who all reside in Germany, comprise the management board of the company.

As part of the IPO, a supervisory board has been formed and it includes Gilles Bogaert (CEO Pernod Ricard SA), and Andre Iguodala, an NBA player with the Golden State Warriors. Other are Blaise Judja-Sato Jonathan D. Klein, Angela Kaya Mwanza (UBS Private Wealth), Alioune Ndiaye  (CEO Orange Middle East and Africa), Matthew Odgers (MTN Group) and John Rittenhouse.

Employees: The Company has a total of 5,128 staff including 1,213 in Nigeria, 572 in Egypt, 686 in East Africa and 183 in South Africa. Also, an ESOP (stock option plan) was set up in 2019 that will award options to key management of Jumia. The three members of the management board had total compensation of €1.04 million in 2018, and the two co-CEO’s each have 2.2 million shares as underlying options that were granted in 2016.

Assets: The Company has no real estate. It is headquartered in Berlin where they lease office space along with other spaces in Dubai and Portugal. They also have leased warehouses in Lagos, Cairo, Nairobi, Casablanca, Abidjan, and Cape Town.

Significant subsidiaries are CART (Nigeria), ECART Ivory Coast, ECART Kenya, ECART Morocco and Jumia Egypt.

Financials: For 2018 they had revenue of €130 million. Of the revenue, €66 million from West Africa, €37.8 million from North Africa, €15 million from South Africa and €10.8 million from East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda – up from €4.6 million in 2017. In February 2016, they had exited Tanzania and sold their four Tanzania subsidiaries to co-CEO Hodara who wanted to run them himself.

In 2018, the goods they sold cost €84 million and Jumia also spent €94 million on administrative expenses (including €48 million on staff), €50 million logistics, €47 million on selling and advertising, and €22 million on IT expenses (including 12 million staff)

As a result, in the year 2018, they lost €169 million, compared to a loss in 2017 of €153 million. As at December 2018, the company had cash of €100 million and accumulated losses of €862 million.

Taxation: There are potential tax liabilities that have not been assessed over and above the €30 million in pending and resolved matters.  Their effective tax rate was 0.5% in 2018 and 7.4% in 2017.

The company has accumulated tax losses of €358 million including €145 million in Nigeria, €61 million in Egypt, €39 million in Kenya (~Kshs 4.5 billion), €28 million in South Africa and €25 million in Morocco.

Jumia Filing Matters: 

  • Filing costs about not confirmed but there will be a $12,120 SEC registration fee and an estimated $15,500 FINRA filing fee.
  • The public offer price is not known, but the maximum value after the listing is estimated to be $100 million.
  • Underwriters are Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Global and Berenberg
  • Ernst & Young auditors since 2014 and have provided two years of audited results.

Growth Strategies: 

  • Leverage their e-commerce platform to grow the consumer base in each market.
  • Drive consumer adoption and usage through increased consumer education as they continue to strive to deliver a positive online shopping experience
  • Increase the number of sellers and level of seller engagement
  • Develop Jumia Logistics in to better serve consumers and drive economies of scale.
  • Increase the adoption of JumiaPay.  They have agreements, through partners, in Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, and Ivory Coast to offer JumiaPay, but they don’t offer the full JumiaPay wallet range of services possible, which would require additional eMoney permissions in every country (e.g. Morocco would require €1 million in core capital and €450,000 for Ivory Coast). In Kenya, where they currently operate as a direct lender, they are preparing a new licensing application for JumiaPay.

Risks cited in the Jumia offer:

  • One caution cited is that (US) investors may have difficulty enforcing civil liabilities against us or the members of our management and supervisory board – (as) we are incorporated in Germany and conduct substantially all of our operations in Africa through our subsidiaries.
  • We do not expect to pay any dividends in the foreseeable future.
  • We have broad discretion in the use of the net proceeds from this offering and may not use them effectively.
  • We face competition, which may intensify.  Current competitors include Souq.com in Egypt (affiliated with Amazon), Konga in Nigeria and Takealot, Superbalist and Spree, which are all part of the Naspers group, in South Africa. Also .. some of our competitors currently copy our marketing campaigns, and such competitors may undertake more far-reaching marketing events or adopt more aggressive pricing policies.

€1 = Kshs 115 (Kenya shillings)

EDIT
Nov 19, 2019; Jumia shuts down in Cameroon

Nov 28, 2019; Jumia closed in Tanzania: Regarding Tanzania, Jumia had ceased operations in 2016 and sold four subsidiaries – AIH General Merchandise Tanzania, Juwel 193, ECart Services Tanzania and Juwel E-Services Tanzania to Jeremy Hodara, their co-CEO for €1 each. Later in 2018, he decided to sell the Tanzanian entities, which had revenues of €238,000 thousand and net losses of €3,088,000, and Jumia Facilities (Dubai) bought a 51%, leaving Hodara with 49%.

December 9, 2019: Jumia Food to close Rwanda operations. Jumia will no longer be able to accept cash on delivery and can only process pre-paid orders and no orders will be processed after 9th January 2020 at which point all customer accounts will be closed. (via New Times Rwanda)

December 9, 2019: Jumia Travel to be taken over by Travelstart, part of drastic company changes. (via TechCabal)

Bank Closures in Ghana and Tanzania

August 2 saw bank closures in Ghana and Tanzania with interesting back stories on the institutions from regulators in both countries.

Tanzania: the regulator Bank of Tanzania (BoT) issued notices that covered two separate cases. BoT took over Bank M, closing it down for three months and appointed a statutory manager (in place of the directors and management of the bank) who will determine the future of the institution. The statement (PDF) read that this was done for reasons that “..Bank M has critical liquidity problems and is unable to meet its maturing obligations. Continuation of the bank’s operations in the current liquidity condition is detrimental to the interests of depositors and poses systemic risk to the stability of the financial system.“. Two years ago, Bank M distanced itself from M Oriental Bank in Kenya.  

edit March 2019 Azania Bank has completed the acquisition of Bank M following the transfer of the banks’ assets and liabilities. The shareholders of Azania who include PSSSF (52%), NSSF (28%), EADB, and new shareholders including the National Health Insurance Fund (17%) agreed to the takeover and to recapitalise the bank. This is expected to be completed in 45 days with the bank opening in May 2019. –  via The Citizen

The Bank of Tanzania also published an update (PDF) on other banks whose licenses it had revoked in January 2018. Of these earlier bank closures, three of them had been given up to 31 July to increase their level of capitalization and as a result, the BoT had approved a decision to merge one of the affected banks – Tanzania Women’s Bank with another bank – TPB which will result in all its customers, employees, assets, and liabilities transferring to TBP Plc . Meanwhile, two of the other banks, Tandahimba Community Bank and Kilimanjaro Cooperative Bank managed to meet the set minimum capital requirements and have been allowed to resume normal banking operations.

Ghana: Meanwhile in Ghana, the regulator Bank of Ghana revoked licenses of five banks – uniBank Ghana, Royal Bank, Beige Bank, Sovereign Bank, and Construction Bank – and appointed a receiver manager to supervise their assets and liabilities as a combined new indigenous bank, called the Consolidated Bank. All deposits at the five banks have been transferred to the new bank and customers will continue banking at their usual branches which will now become branches of Consolidated. Also, all staff of the five banks will become staff of Consolidated, except for the directors and shareholders of the five banks who will “no longer have any roles”

The Bank of Ghana statement reads that .. “to finance the gap between the liabilities and good assets assumed by Consolidated Bank, the Government has issued a bond of up to GH¢ 5.76 billion. ” and goes on to give some details and background of the problems encountered at the former five, leading to the subsequent bank closures:

  • uniBank: The Official Administrator appointed in March 2018 has found that the bank is beyond rehabilitation. Altogether, shareholders, related and connected parties of uniBank had taken out an amount of GH¢5.3 billion from the bank, constituting 75% of total assets of the bank. Over 89% of uniBank’s loans and advances book of GH¢3.74 billion as of 31st May 2018 was classified as non-performing, in addition to amounts totaling GH¢3.7 billion given out to shareholders and related parties which were not reported as part of the bank’s loan portfolio. uniBank’s shareholders and related parties have admitted to acquiring several real estate properties in their own names using the funds they took from the bank under questionable circumstances. Promises by these shareholders and related parties to refund monies by mid-July 2018 and legally transfer title to assets acquired back to uniBank have failed to materialize.
  • Royal Bank:  Its non-performing loans constitute 78.9% of total loans granted, owing to poor credit risk and liquidity risk management controls. A number of the bank’s transactions totaling GH¢161.92 million were entered into with shareholders, related and connected parties, structured to circumvent single obligor limits, conceal related party exposure limits, and overstate the capital position of the bank for the purpose of complying with the capital adequacy requirement.
  • Sovereign Bank:  Subsequent to its licensing, a substantial amount of the bank’s capital was placed with another financial institution as an investment for the bank. The bank has however not been able to retrieve this amount from the investment firm with which it was placed, and it has emerged that the investments were liquidated by the shareholders and parties related to them. Following enquiries by the Bank of Ghana, the promoters of the bank admitted that they did not pay for the shares they acquired in the bank. The promoters of the bank have since surrendered their shares to the bank, while the directors representing those original shareholders have since resigned. The Bank of Ghana has concluded that Sovereign Bank is insolvent, and that there is no reasonable prospect of a return to viability.
  • Beige Bank: Funds purportedly used by the bank’s parent company to recapitalize were sourced from the bank through an affiliate company and in violation with regulatory requirements for bank capital. In particular, an amount of GH¢163.47 million belonging to the bank was placed with one of its affiliate companies (an asset management company) and subsequently transferred to its parent company which in turn purported to reinvest it in the bank as part of the bank’s capital. The placement by the bank with its affiliate company amounted to 86.86% of its net own funds as at end June 2018, thereby breaching the regulatory limit of 10%. Also, the bank has not been able to recover these funds for its operations.
  • Construction Bank: the initial minimum paid up capital of the bank provided by its promoter/shareholder, was funded by loans obtained from NIB Bank Limited. An amount of GH¢80 million out of the amounts reported as the bank’s paid-up capital and purportedly placed with NIB and uniBank, remains inaccessible to the bank – and the bank’s inability to inject additional capital to restore its capital adequacy to the minimum capital of GH¢ 120 million required at the date of licensing threatens the safety of depositors’ funds and the stability of the banking system.