Category Archives: Crown Berger

Barclays and the NIC-ex

A few days after Equity led with their 2008 results next comes Barclays Bank Kenya and NIC Bank.

Barclays Kenya have shrugged off a difficult year to report a slight growth in profits while also admitting a slowdown in lending and shift in plans to consolidate after an expansion period that saw the bank go on an expansion splurge in the last two years. Barclays Kenya 2008 profits (PDF)
– Growth of in assets of 3% every quarter of 2008, except Q4 which had a reduction of 2% to end the year. Overall asset growth in 2008 was 7%, while in 2007 it had been was 34%. Assets at December 31 were Kshs. 168.8 billion ($2.1 billion) compared to 172.3 billion at September 2008
– Deposits grew by 12%, 5%, 3% in first three quarters, followed by a decline 5% in Q4 – and overall up 16% for the year – same as in 2007
– Loans were up 3% from 2007
– Income up 25% compared to 24% in 2007
– Expenses up 33% compare to 37% in 2006
– NPA up 22%
– Despite modest growth, edged past Equity as most the capitalized bank

NIC was spun off from Barclays as an asset finance specialist, a business it still dominates while competing against Barclays itself now. The Bank is still in expansion mode with a rebranding under the 1 bank banner as a one stop shop for all their customers business needs. NIC Bank 2008 profits (PDF)

– In 2008, growth in assets was 36%, including 18% in Q1 (while the country was fighting?) and 8% in q4
– Deposits were 42% up from a year ago, again with 17% in Q1 and 10% in Q4
– Loans were up 35% in 2008, with 9% in Q2 and 14% increase in Q3, followed by just 2% in Q4 the lowest (went big on Q3 and decided to slow down in Q4?). NPA’s still just 4% of loans
– Despite re-branding, income was up 33% with expenses up 25% in 2008
– Profit was up 41% in 2008, compared to 55% in 2007.

KCB overtook the overtook Barclays as the number one bank, a position it should hold, despite the hit it will take from the link with Triton Oil , the collapsed, scandal ridden oil company. Results should be out in a few days.

Conflicting signals – crunch or not?

KCB’s housing subsidiary Savings & Loan (S&L) extended financing to real estate developers this week, increasing lending limits to Kshs. 250 million ($3.12 million) and willingness to finance of 85% of the construction costs of property developments. Some already wonder if they are contributing to a real estate bubble in Kenya.

Meanwhile there was an offline story in the Standard this week where the MD of listed paint maker, Crown Berger, lamented that banks are behaving strangely, reluctant to lend money, and he was now looking to launch a bond to raise working capital funds for the firm.

Bad News Bears

Correction Window: At the beginning of the month it was Crown Berger shares that did a swan dance on some pedestrian financial results and last week it was the turn for Portland cement (EAPC) shares to take a drastic dip in value with the announcement of reduced profits.

This has generally been a tough year for manufacturing stocks and the next few days should see year end results of both Kengen and KPLC who have been battling over tariffs and leaving consumers suffering and manufacturing companies & industries threatening to shut down or decamp owing to high electrical costs.

There are some shares on the NSE that are perceived to be under-valued and some that are over-valued (don’t pay dividends, appreciate on speculation, limited trading activity) – and the announcement of financial results (with the waiver of the 10% daily share price rule) gives the market the chance to correct/adjust share prices. But will these share drop? Do they have any reason to? Their P/E ratios are already so low.

Already Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph has said that the price dip of Safaricom shares have no impact on the company’s performance (their quarterly results will also be tricking in soon)

Stolen Crown

What happened to the shares of Crown Berger last Friday was an anomaly that gives a bad impression of the NSE. The company announced an increase in pre-tax profits on Thursday only for their shares to nosedive from Kshs. 38 to Kshs. 8 on Friday, before settling at 19.75, about 48% lower – on a volume of just 10,000 shares.

Still as the running thread of NSE insiders shows, such one-day spike trades have usually on the upper side (Equity, Citi Trust, CFC, to name a few), and don’t merit many complaints, except from skeptics. But if I was a shareholder of Crown (used to be one two years ago), I’d be very upset that 50% of my portfolio in an otherwise sound company has been wiped out in one day. What Crown is going through is no different than any manufacturing company as this time of high oil prices; they have even had mostly good press – expanding regionally, attained Super Brand status recently etc.

There’s a supposed 10% rule on price moves following market information, which is selectively applied. This unusual trade was sloppy or sinister, should never have been allowed.