Category Archives: Uganda

MTN Uganda IPO 

MTN Uganda has an ongoing IPO in which they plan to raise UGX 895 billion (US$252 million) from selling 20% of the company to local investors and floating the shares. Like in Ghana and Nigeria before, the listing of shares on the local stock exchange by the leading telecommunications firms in the countries, has become a licensing requirement, and MTN, which signed a new 12-year license in 2019, is doing this ahead of a June 2022 deadline.

Looking at the IPO prospectus, and extracts from an MTN executive briefing in Nairobi this week, some of the highlights of the offer are: 

  • About MTN Uganda: Founded in 1998, it is the largest of two telcos in the country with a 55% market share compared with 45%  for Airtel. It is the most admired brand in the country and part of the MTN Group that is in 27 African countries and one of the largest brands on the continent. MTN Uganda had 2020 revenue of  UGX 1.88 trillion (about $531 million) and a pre-tax profit of 460 billion ($130 million). It has 15.7 million phone subscribers, with 5.3 million active data users and 9.4 million mobile money users.
  • Uganda Market: In the densely-populated country of 44 million people, MTN sees much more growth from the young population, as the current mobile penetration of 67% is considered low for Africa. Also, wIth Africell having exited in October 2021 and  Smart Telecom about to follow suit, MTN’s market share could reach 60%.  
  • Offer: 4.47 billion ordinary shares, accounting for 20% of the company are on sale at UGX 200.00 ($0.057) per share. The minimum lot is 500 shares, so the investment required is UGX 100,000  ($28) per shareholder. 
  • Allocation: All East African community shareholders are being offered 5 incentive shares for every 100 they buy, but MTN customers who apply on the IPO platform and pay with MTN mobile money get another 5, for a total of 10 incentive shares. Ten (10) incentive shares for every 100 bought are also being offered to Uganda professional and East Africa professional investors who purchase shares worth over UGX 177 billion ($50 million). If oversubscribed, Uganda retail investors and MTN employees will be given priority and allocated up to UGX 5 million ($1,414), with others on a pro-rata basis, in the order of Uganda professional investors, then East African investors, and finally international other investors. MTN has received approval to market the shares to investors in Tanzania and Kenya, and they await clearance from other EAC countries. The offer may be suspended if it does not reach 25% uptake (about 1.12 billion shares)
  • USE: The MTN shares will be listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange. Currently, its largest counter is Stanbic Bank Uganda, that had its IPO in 2006, and accounts for about half the market activity, but MTN are expected to overtake them after listing their 22.39 billion shares in December.
  • IPO Applications: The process is fully electronic and starts by applying online to open a securities central depository (SCD) account. This can also be via USSD on an MTN line, or via the MTN app or at an authorized selling agent. In  Kenya,  investors can apply through a stockbroker like Dyer & Blair who will verify their ID and PIN details. The minimum to buy is Kshs 3,250 at Dyer & Blair, which is for 500 shares at Kshs 6.50 per share.
  • Shareholding changes: Ahead of the IPO, currently MTN Group owns 21.5 billion shares (96%) and the MTN Chairman, Charles Mbire, a Ugandan businessman who also chairs the USE, owns the other 4%. After the IPO, MTN will have 76% and new investors will have 20%, and MTN, Chairman Mbire, and the directors have committed not to sell any more shares for the next year. MTN Group will still exercise controller the composition of the board, and acquisition, financing, and branding decisions.
  • Taxes: MTN Uganda is the largest taxpayer in the country and they paid a disputed amount of transitional license fee totaliing UGX 50 billion ($14.1 million) ahead of the IPO.
  • Use of Funds and Debts The funds raised will go to reimburse MTN who have grown the business since inception by investing over one trillion shillings and who have also committed to investing another trillion over the next three years expanding the network, mainly in rural Uganda for other growth activities. MTN Uganda’s debt is UGX 194 billion (equivalent to about $55 million) and $45 million at June 2021. MTN Group has arranged a syndicated loan, through Stanbic South Africa, with local banks in Uganda – Stanbic, Absa Citi and Standard Chartered.
  • Fintech opportunities: The country was reported to have 31.3 mobile money accounts but after a cleanup exercise, the number of active subscribers was determined to be 20.3 million. MTN’s mobile money has 45,000 merchants customers signed on, it sees a great opportunity to grow that market that it predicts can be ten times larger. They will also roll out bank tech products – savings, loans and insurance – and compete with banks at the bottom of the pyramid.
  • Dividend: Payout was 57% of profits in 2018 and 2019.  
  • Threats: Price competition may affect average revenue per user and profit margins, and a weakness identified is the low income of consumers.
  • Timelines: The IPO runs for just over one month. It opened on October 11 and closes on November 22, with an announcement of the results on December 3 and listing on December 6. Refunds, if any, will be paid from December 3. 
  • Transaction advisors: SBG Securities Uganda is the transaction advisor and lead sponsoring broker. Receiving banks are Stanbic, Standard Chartered and Absa in Uganda. Selling agents are SBG Uganda, Dyer & Blair Uganda, Crested Capital and UAP Old Mutual. In Kenya, these are SBG Securities and Dyer and Blair.
  • Offer Costs: Budget is UGX 32.6 billion with MTN International expected to foot 22.3 billion and MTN Uganda the other 10.3 billion. The bulk of the payments are the placement fees (UGX 9.9 billion) and the transaction advisor (7.5 billion). Others are VAT on professional fees (3.6 billion), while the tax advisors in SA and Uganda will earn a total of 4.2 billion. There is also the reimbursement of selling agents of retail shares (4.2 billion) and the public relations bill to MTN Uganda is UGX 356 million.
  • Valuation:  With the shares offered at UGX 200, Dyer & Blair advise a “buy” with a target market price of UGX 218, a 9% upside from the current offer. And when incentive shares are factored in, this makes the value of the shares almost 15% higher than the IPO offer.
  • Verdict: The euphoria could be similar to the Safaricom IPO in Kenya, whose investors are also yearning for another large IPO.

Read more at the MTN Uganda IPO official website.

EDIT December 3, 2021: Offical MTN Uganda IPO results show a 64.8% subscription as 2.90 billion of the 4.4 billion shares were taken up by 21,394 investors. This includes sale shares and incentive shares.

The IPO grossed UGX 536 billion (approx $150 million) and all applicants will receive their full allocation, with the shares listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange from 6th December.

Shareholding announced with IPO results: MTN International (Mauritius) 18.594 billion shares (83.05%), National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Uganda 1.98 billion shares (8.84%), Charles Mbire 892.23 million shares (3.99%), NSSF – Sanlam (0.26%), Bank of Uganda defined benefits Scheme – Sanlam (0.19%), National Social Security Fund (Kenya) – Sanlam (0.18%), Duet Africa Opportunities Master Fund IC (0.13%), EFG Hermes Oman (0.12%), First Rand Bank (0.10%), and the Uganda Revenue Authority staff benefits scheme – Sanlam (0.08%). Other shareholders have 684.47 million shares (3.06%), for a total of 22.389 billion shares.

More here.

Stanbic Uganda 2021 AGM

Stanbic, the largest bank in Uganda held its shareholders’ annual general meeting this morning. Beamed online, the 15th AGM of the bank was held virtually and shareholders were invited to register, watch the stream online and vote on the resolutions.

Excerpts

  • The bank is listed on the Uganda securities exchange and has 22, 000 shareholders
  • Much was made about Flyhub, their new financial services and innovation subsidiary created to compete with fintechs.
  • Shareholders could get their meeting packs on their phones, with the notice and annual report. Also, they could ask questions, and over 90 were received ahead of or during the AGM.
  • There is some board restructuring in Uganda as they separate banks from holding companies. As such, no directors retired at the AGM this year
  • Shareholders voted to adopt the meeting notice, new directors, audited report, and non-executive director fees
  • They voted to approve a dividend (Ushs 2.15 per share) for 2019 that was paid in April 2021. They also voted on a dividend for 2020 (Ushs 1.86 per share) that is in abeyance. The board has applied to the Bank of Uganda to pay the 2020 dividend but that has been refused as the regulator wants banks to withhold discretionary payouts and preserve capital during Covid-19. As such the board did not recommend this item.
  • Shareholders could vote the whole morning, and, just before the end of the meeting, the results were displayed instantly.

Another good thing is Stanbic recently solved a pain point for cross border investors, and allowed them to register and receive dividends by mobile money – such as Safaricom M-Pesa, instead of cheques.

It was the closest thing to attending the AGM of a foreign bank held in Nairobi.

Coronavirus in Kenya: Week One

The Outbreak

  • March 13: The Ministry of Health confirms the first case of coronavirus in Kenya on March 12 from a Kenyan citizen who returned to the country from the USA via London 
  • March 22: Kenya confirms 8 new cases, bringing the total number to 15. It is tracing 363 other people and institutes a mandatory shutdown of major social activities in the country. 

Banking Industry:

  • March 15: President Uhuru Kenyatta appealed to banks and mobile operators to reduce the costs of mobile transactions and calls on Kenyans to use credit cards, mobile money and other forms of cashless payments. 
  • March 16: Safaricom waived fees for M-Pesa payments below Kshs 1,000 (~$10) for 90 days and raises M-Pesa transactions limits to Kshs 150,000 and also increases daily transaction caps and maximum mobile money wallet sizes up to Kshs 300,000 ($3,000). Airtel and Telkom Kenya follow suit a day later. 
  • March 18: Bankers meet the President at State House where the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor announces that all commercial bank personal loans that were there in good standing on March 2, are eligible for extensions for up to one year while SME and corporate borrowers can approach their banks to be assessed for loan restructuring, with the cost borne by banks. Also, that banks would no longer charge fees for customers to check their bank balances.
  • Different banks announced their compliance with the new rules.   
  • March 19: The Kenya Bankers Association confirms that all banks will assist clients who come in to speak about how COVID-19 has affected their employment or business operations, and whose loan repayments were up to date as at 2 March 2020. They also ask all customers to observe 1-metre (or 3 feet) social distancing at branches
  • March 20: The CBK announces presents Kshs 7.4 billion ($74 million) to the Government to support the coronavirus fight efforts. This it says are the proceeds from the demonetization exercise that concluded in September 2019 and is the sum of (old) Kshs 1,000 notes that were not turned in and which the CBK had classified as being miscellaneous receipts. 

Famous People in Quarantine

  • March 18: Senator for Kericho County Aaron Cheruiyot announces on twitter that he is in self-quarantine. 
  • March 19: Members of Parliament and Parliamentary staff who arrived from London on March 9 are reported to be in self-quarantine. 
  • March 19: Ambassador Macharia Kamau Kenya’s Principal Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces on twitter that he is in self-quarantine after returning from New York. 
  • March 20: Jane Marriott, the British High Commissioner to Kenya announces on twitter that she is in self-quarantine, following her trip to the UK. 
  • March 22: Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Health announces that Gideon Saburi, the Deputy Governor of Kilifi County, has been apprehended and put in a mandatory 14-day quarantine after he failed to isolate himself after returning from a trip to Germany. Also that he will be charged in Court after his isolation period. 

Mandatory Quarantine in the Eastern Africa region 

  • March 18: Uganda announces immediate mandatory quarantine for arriving visitors, at their cost.  
  • March 21: Ethiopia announces mandatory for passengers arriving from March 23, at their cost. However, diplomats will be quarantined for 14 days at their embassies, while transiting passengers will be placed in isolation at the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel until they resume their connecting flights.
  •  March 22: Kenya has suspended all international flights other than cargo from March 25. Also, all arriving passengers will undergo mandatory quarantine at a government institution at their own cost. 

Internal country shutdowns

  • March 14: Rwanda closes schools, places of worship, large gatherings, and asks people to work from home. 
  • March 15: Kenya’s President announced the Government has closed all schools, suspended official foreign travel, and will encourage all employees to work from home. 
  • March 18: Uganda closes schools, universities and bars, and bans weddings and religious services for a month. 
  • March 21: Rwanda closes its borders to movement of people and cancels international flights, other than cargo ones. It also suspended tourism and research in 3 national parks where gorillas are found.
  • March 21: Nigeria shuts its airports to international flights as coronavirus cases reach 22.  
  • March 21: South Africa closes its airspace to foreign travelers.
  • March 22: Kenya orders a suspension of religious services at all places of worship, closure of bars and bans gatherings including weddings, and birthday parties. Restaurants are to remain open for delivery services and funeral events are restricted to a maximum of 15 mourners.

Flight cancellations/ Airlines reschedulings:

  • March 17: Kenya Airways updates its schedule, reducing London flights to five times a week, Dubai & Johannesburg to once daily, and Johannesburg to two daily. It also suspends flights to Bangkok, Khartoum, Djibouti & Mogadishu. 
  • March 18: Rwanda announces a halt to all commercial passenger flights into/out of the country on March 20 including operations of Rwanda Air for 30 days. 
  • March 19: Kenya Airways suspends flights to Antananarivo, Bamako, Bangui, Blantyre, Brazzaville, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Luanda, Yaounde/Douala, and Zanzibar. 
  • March 20: Ethiopian Airlines announces 30 routes closures. The list is not revealed till the next day – and the listed countries include Egypt, Lebanon, Somalia, Djibouti, Namibia, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Chad, Madagascar, Angola, Congo, Mali, Senegal, Rwanda, South Africa, Canada, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Indonesia, Israel and all US ones. 
  • March 20: South African Airways immediately suspends all operations until the end of May following a government notice prohibiting the embarkation/disembarkation of non-SA crew and passengers. The only flights that will remain will be domestic service between Johannesburg and Cape Town.
  • March 22: Emirates announces cancellation of all passenger flights from March 25 .. but .. 
  • March 22: Turkish Airlines to suspend most of its flights – leaving just a handful of flights to New York, Washington, Addis Ababa, Moscow & Hong Kong (via AlexinAir).
  • March 22: Kenya Airways suspends all international flights. Cargo flights remain, as will passenger services to Mombasa and Kisumu. 

Corporate Restructuring’s: 

  • March 13: Trading was suspended at the Nairobi Securities Exchange. This came following news of the discovery of the first coronavirus case in Kenya and the main share index dropped by over 5%. Past instances when circuit-et breakers have been tripped include in the period of post-election violence in 2008, and in September 2017, on the day that Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified the results of the August 8 presidential election. 
  • March 13: Kenya’s insurance regulator, IRA, communicates that insurance companies will continue to provide their services to policy holders affected or infected with the virus .. but insurance companies say their re-insurers do not cover pandemics such as Coronavirus. 
  • March 16: Ethiopian Airlines restructuring plans include scaling up cost-saving programmes and asking service providers for temporary relief, discounts and waivers. They have also started to renegotiate all contracts, including aircraft leases as well as scaling down offices and reducing staff.
  • March 16: Java adjusts seating and promotes delivery as do other restaurants. But many other restaurants closed. 
  • March 18: It was revealed that The Standard Group plans to lay off 170 workers. 
  • March 18: Churches to restrict attendance numbers.
  • March 18: The African Development Bank cancels all travels and requires staff to work from home. The Bank’s Board of Directors is reviewing the configuration and design of the Bank’s statutory Annual Meetings originally scheduled for May 26-29, 2020 in Abidjan
  • March 18: Kenyan listed companies and licensed investment schemes that were to host annual general meetings (AGM’s) in March, April and May 2020 have been asked to defer them to later dates.
  • March 20: Kenya Airways CEO sends a memo to staff following COVID-19 and writes that in the last 24 hours, nine countries in our Africa network, the UAE and India have announced travel restrictions. So far, we have reduced approximately 65% of our flights, and this is changing by the hour. He announces that instead of layoffs they will ask staff to take salary reduction and paid & unpaid leave. The leadership team and he will take 75% and 80% respectively, while that for other staff will be 25% or 50% depending on the pay grade.
  • To facilitate supermarket shopping home deliveries, Tuskys has partnered with Sendy and Naivas has partnered with Glovo.

Government Adjustments 

  • March 16: The Ministry of Lands closes all land registries for 28 days from March 17. 
  • March 16: Kenya’s Sports & Culture Ministry closes all museums, archives, stadiums, public libraries, and cinemas for 30 days.
  • March 18: Kenya’s National Assembly and Senate both go on a month-long recess. 
  • March 18: Kenyan courts embraced digital filings and rulings of cases. 
  • March 19: Public health campaign to stop the spread is launched. 

Uplifting News

  • March 21: A thread to help those losing jobs their jobs this week and to help match their skills with part-time or remote-work opportunities. 
  • March 22: The first shipment of medical relief equipment offered by the Jack Ma Foundation arrives in Africa for distribution to different countries. The total will be 500,000 test kits and one million masks had been pledged on March 13.

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. 

Kenya’s Money in the Past: Diplomatic Engagement

This week saw the publication of “Kenya’s 50 years of Diplomatic Engagement, from Kenyatta to Kenyatta,” a book on the history of the diplomatic services and foreign policy in Kenya.

Edited by Dr. Kipyego Cheluget, Kenya’s Assistant Secretary General at COMESA, it is a collection of writings by different authors including foreign ambassadors. It is the result of a nine-year journey that came from an idea that came when he was Director of the Foreign Service Institute – to document the history of the diplomacy in Kenya. And he then set out to travel around the county, interviewing and recording former ambassadors and diplomats such Munyua Waiyaki, Njoroge Mungai and even unofficial ones like politician Mark Too. Some of them have since passed away like Bethuel Kiplagat and Phillip Mwanzia, and whose widows were present at the book launch.

The Chief Guest was Former Vice President, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka who has also served as a Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Education and he said that to upgrade Kenya’s  diplomatic performance, the country should reward career diplomats and have them, not election losers, as Ambassadors, and legislate a 70:30 ratio of professionals over politicians in such posts, a reverse of the current imbalance. The event had panel talks with former ambassadors on topics like peace-building in Ethiopia, Somalia and the East African region, using sports as a tool of diplomacy, combating apartheid, the lost years of engagement with Russia shaped by the Cold War and how the pioneering diplomats worked through trial and error for decades without an official foreign policy.

The MC for the event at Taifa Hall of the University of Nairobi, Nancy Abisai said the only good books is a finished book, and Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Education Dr. Amina Mohamed, added that, following a challenge by President Kenyatta, her Ministry was in the process of setting up a unit for the publication of Kenyan memoirs and which would be operational by January 2019. Former Vice President Moody Awori, who at 91 is still an active Chairman of Moran, the publishers of the book, said they were looking for more scripts to turn our more such books.

Excerpts from early sections of the book and launch

  • It has never been right to say that Kenya’s foreign policy is a “wait and see” one. Diplomats were able to negotiate to host a combined World Bank/IMF meeting in 1973 and for UNEP to have its headquarters in a newly independent African country – Ambassador Francis. Muthaura.
  • Njoroge Mungai initiated steps for President (Mzee) Kenyatta to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1972 and Singh Bhoi drafted the dossier.
  • Dennis Afande opened the Kenya Embassy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in February 1977. He was the only employee there for four months and the only signatory to the Embassy bank account for the period.
  • When Paul Kurgat went to apply for his scholarship visa at the Nairobi Russian embassy, in 1984. he was arrested and questioned about links to Oginga Odinga. He was later to return to Russia as Kenya’s Ambassador in 2010.

The book is available in local bookshops, such as the University of Nairobi one, at a cost of Kshs 1,395 (1,200 + VAT) and a digital version is also available on Amazon for $8 (~Kshs 800).