Category Archives: Kencall

Unga 2013 AGM

The 2013 annual general meeting (AGM) of Unga Group took place at KICC, Nairobi on November 28.
Finance and Shareholders Q& A 
Milling & Distribution Issues: While wheat is now being milled at 100%, it tends to fluctuate in other months as they compete with other buyers for grain especially during the festive season. Maize is being milled at 60-65% of capacity as more and more, maize is moving to the informal sector, and small Chinese mills.
When asked about product shortages of Exe flour for mandazi and chapati, the MD said when there are shortages of product, they may decide to mill general purpose wheat flour which is 90% of their brand sales. He added that shortages at Uchumi may have been due to that company being outside their credit terms which are enforced strictly.   
Tax Status: What is the effect of the tax reclassification of the company’s products from exempt to zero status? Unga products are now exempt (no longer zero-rated) which means they can no longer reclaim the tax back from the government – so they have to pass it on to consumers (higher prices)
Uganda: The company bought the 40% balance of the business in Uganda they did not own, as the minority shareholders was not willing to put in any more money while the business was struggling.  Since the takeover, they’ve been trying to add value to products, but this is more difficult since July 1  when the Uganda government imposed a 10% duty on wheat imports (all wheat is imported), also have also imposed 18% VAT. The result is that wheat flour is informally imported to Uganda, and big millers are downsizing staff and cutting back on grain procurement. 
Breakdown of Other Income: Other operating income was Kshs 281 million, of which 189M was revaluation of pension assets (thanks to a good the stock market). Directors said the sale of gunny bugs (collected over time) accounted for most of the balance, they will provide a detailed breakdown from next year.
Finance Costs: Why increased borrowings and why the low returns on investments? A new wheat mill was commissioned on November 2 and is producing quality wheat meaning fewer stock-outs. Also, the fixed deposits which were earning 6% in 2012, are now getting 12% this year.  
Volatility: Can the company benefit from Price volatility? There are recoveries sometimes on unrealized forex losses, but since the publication of the report, the shilling has strengthened, nullifying that, until recently.
Swag: As usual, shareholders asked about an increase of dividends, but also for the company to give bales of flour as a Christmas gift to shareholders. The chairlady said that this had been done in past years when the company did not have ample cash for dividends, and the board’s current preference was to work to increase the cash dividend paid out. 
Customer engagement: Some shareholders lamented the company’s low marketing and absence on the web with no information available for investors. The MD lamented that several counties were charging national brands for painting on walls and vehicles in the counties and that many companies are now white-washing their vehicles of any logos. He also said their website is at an advanced stage. A previous one was ready, but scuttled by management almost at the last minute. They also have a call centre at Kencall from July 1 that death with customer questions and also coordinated their orders and distribution. 
Hot Button Issue: Shareholders were concerned that the minority shareholders are being driven out by NSE buyouts at other companies (e.g.Access Kenya, Vipingo, CMC) and wanted the main shareholder (Victus with 51%) to assure other shareholders that there were no plans to buy out minority shareholders at Unga. The chairlady said there’s no evidence from the share register, that the main shareholder is buying shares, but this did not seem to offer absolute comfort as questioner noted that takeover notices appear out of the blue in the newspapers, without any prior notice.
Extras Business:  The proposal to shareholders for the company to purchase Ennsvalley Bakery had been deferred a few days before. The chairlady said that an opportunity to acquire an established bakery had come up and that in view of limited investment cash available, and the high cost of borrowing, a share swap was proposed – however not approvals had been received in time of the complex transaction. She said it would be discussed at an EGM to be called in the near future but before next year’s AGM.
The other extra business item – the sale of the company’s stake in Bullpak Ltd (a company that provides high-quality packaging material) was approved – with the board intention to redeploy the cash in the company’s core businesses of food and animal feed.

Rockefeller helps Farmers cope with Climate Change

The Rockefeller Foundation involvement in Africa goes as far back as 1914 and one of their goals is to strengthen food security in sub-Saharan Africa.

Climate change is affecting food security and the current floods in Pakistan attest and African farmers are seeing wild swings in weather, coping with higher temperatures, less dependable rainfall, and experiencing longer droughts. In Kenya, the Rockefeller Foundation estimates that maize production could decline by 30% in the next 20 years.

Africa countries need to recognize their vulnerability to climate change as ½ billion people depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, yet some governments are instead selling off buying tracts of productive land to other countries who are themselves investing to enhance their own food security through geographic diversification

The Foundation has thus made agricultural investments improve their productivity of farmers by reducing the risks they face through key innovations including

– Developing new affordable insurance products for small farmers & pastoralists that are indexed to weather; this encourages farmers to increase land & agricultural investment with the knowledge that they may be compensated if weather conditions adverse affect their harvest

pastoralists & their cattle camp in Nairobi’s kileleshwa suburb during 2009 drought

– Funded the World Food Program to develop a software platform to predict most destructive elements; Known as RiskView, it can be customized or every district in every country in Africa and allows governments and aid agencies to when and where a drought will occur.
– Funded Kencall to implement a national helpline for farmers, staffed by a team of experts to answer farmer question on climate change, seeds, fertilizer, agro-dealer location etc – this will help overcome a challenge many famers don’t try new techniques or seeds because they don’t have enough information to take a risk. The information collected will become a research resource even outside Kenya.
– Partnered with Kenya-based Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), in a $50 million loan program through Equity Bank’s ‘kilimo biashara’ program in which the Foundation undertook some risk guarantee enabling the Bank lend to small farmers at below market risks who take up other products like fertilizer weather insurance, and use the help line.

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KenCall CEO talks on Customer Service in Kenya

Nicholas Nesbitt is the Founder and CEO of KenCall, the first and most successful of Kenya’s business process outsourcing (BPO) and contact centre services providers.
We had a chat about customer service in Kenya, why it’s so lacking, the cost of providing customer service to corporates and the consequences for corporates who do not engage with their customers


As someone who has lived and worked in the US and now taken on the reins of a service company in Kenya – you have unique insight into what can be done to make it better here. What is wrong with customer service, and why do we get it wrong?

In the tourism sector, Kenyans show very good customer service and are known the world over for this. However this is a practice of only cleaning up house when visitors are coming, and does not apply the rest of the time, or extend to fellow citizens, local customers etc.

Customers, who don’t have much of a choice, get used to a bad level of service, which they tolerate

Industry regulators set standards for companies to follow in terms of delivery in some sectors, but they rarely enforce this.

Some Companies in some sectors show monopolistic tendencies – and define their customer service by that i.e. . they set their market prices that customers will pay, and then set the level of customer service that they can offer based on that price.

Some (banks) may also (falsely) believe that since they have had some customers for so long, these customers are eternally loyal to the bank and will not take their business elsewhere

What can be done to educate the common man? E.g. Banks ask customers to form queues, but these are ignored and impatient customers often ignore these and jump ahead of others being served. Can civic education help her? i.e. let citizens know how they can get served better?
Civic education would help e.g. radio messages that will encourage road courtesy – give way to someone entering traffic, and the next time someone will reciprocate for you

People rarely talk about good customer service (beyond their family & friends), but they will rant and even write online about a bad experience from a particular company
Some companies know this, others don’t know or seem to care what their customers say. This is unfortunate as we live in an age where customers in the US, UK and other countries (including Kenya now) will go online and rant about their bad experiences e.g. on twitter or facebook.

It does not take much for a company to watch or and monitor what’s being said about it online. A proactive company should respond to these negative signals , messages, communications being posted online e.g. notify customers of technical glitch that happened and the steps being taken to fix it.

Also, the youth of today interact online and companies (and politicians) should recognize this in terms of customer service and adjust their messages to reach the youth.

He demonstrated how he uses a program called Incoming, to track what’s being said about KenCall online, as well as other topics such as ‘Tiger Woods’ (golfer) and ‘Raila Odinga’ (Kenya’s Prime Minister) , with hundreds of instant results on screen instantly displayed

Safaricom and KCB (a leading commercial bank) set up call centers for their customers? Did they go wrong by not outsourcing these services? Did they give KenCall a chance to bid for that?

KCB set up a call centre that was about 1/10 the size of KenCall at a cost of 20X what KenCall would have charge them. They did not invite KenCall or other companies to bid. Some companies fear outsourcing for security reasons because of confidentiality of customers data, but this excuse if based on falsehoods – much bigger banks and companies entrust their data to service providers like KenCall the world over, and in any case leaks or security violations are likely to originate from the bank/company itself e.g. G4S, not KenCall. KenCall has the most secure communications links with the company that cannot be intercepted.. also many companies that sign with KenCall and services providers require that this not be disclosed to the public by KenCall

Safaricom talked to KenCall, south African and Indian companies and wanted KenCall to do what they were already doing for Orange/Telkom (Kenya) and Tigo (Tanzania). In the end they decided to do it in house, but at an estimated cost of 200X what KenCall would have cost and about 50X what KenCall would have charged them to run it

What is the take-on cycle at KenCall? If KCB had contracted KenCall how long would it take for KenCall to be ready to handle business?
Perhaps 3 to 6 weeks depending on what KCB wanted. A bank like KCB has many different types of callers with queries ,and they could still use KenCall to share the load e.g. credit cards, or card dealers with technical queries

Kenya government is the largest procurer; we’ve seen large embassies have outsourced their visa duties – do you think Kenya government should do the same? E.g. Manual processes in land office, judiciary?, there’s all this talk of digitizing records..
Absolutely this should happen, the digitizing of public records, outsourcing of services. This can be don even at community level, where young business people can set up BPO centers, now that there is fibre cable, and work with public records e.g. health, digitizing them. The go ahead for this has to come from Nairobi though

Service delivery in government would improve through outsourcing; there’s no need for people to get in buses and travel hundreds of kilometers to obtain simple documents like birth certificates, if this was outsourced and online, it would make government more efficient.

On its part at KenCall prefer to work with outsourced packages that average at least 10,000 calls

Has the arrival of fibre cable changed things for the industry?
Speeds have not changed for many, because you have to pay more. It’s like sipping soda through a straw, but even if your demand goes up, you have to invest in a bigger straw

What do KenCall Customer experience specialist teams do?
They step into a customer’s shoes and interact with KenCall staff the way a customer would and the performance is measured with a view to improving the service that KenCall customers receive

Comment on education gaps in the area of improving customer service
Nesbitt is a board member and deputy chair of the board of the Multimedia University of Kenya (formerly KCCT). They have a vision of becoming a world leading institution and producing talented Kenyans specialized in ICT to work in key economic sectors like tourism and ,agriculture – and curriculum development is key area that will be looked at.

Bank Rankings: June 2006

Tier 1 (Assets over 25 billion shillings)

1 Barclays 112.4 billion shillings ($1.56 billion) in total assets
Kenya is still Barclays country with the bank remaining a solid #1. After having a slow 1st quarter, at the half year ending in June 2006, its assets are up 9% from a year ago, profit is up 43%, deposits up 11%, loans up 12% and total non-performing assets (NPA’s) are down 20%.

2. Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) 82.3 billion
Assets up 16%, deposits up 15%, however loans are flat, but still income was up leading to half year profits up 66% from a year ago.

3. Standard Chartered (Stanchart) 82 billion in assets
Much closer to, and may overhaul KCB by year end, with assets up 19%, profits up 17%, deposits up 13%, loans up 27% but with NPA up 53% from a year ago.

4. Cooperative (Co-op Bank) 56.8 billion
Assets up 11%, deposits up 15%, but loans down 6% and NPA’s doubled, as government securities are up 90% and overall profit up 45%.

5. National Bank of Kenya (NBK) 33.8 billion
Loans and deposits up 7%, while govt securities up 75%, so overall assets and profits up 6% from a year ago

6. Citibank 33.6 billion
Likely to overtake National Bank by year end with assets and loans up 19%, deposits 9%, income up 43%, and profits up 59%.

7. Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) 33 billion
Also likely to overtake NBK and Citibank is CBA with assets up 39% profit up 79%, deposits up 46%, loans up 123%, income up 54%, but with NPA up 83% and insider loans up 43%.

Tier 2 (Assets of 6 – 24.9 billion)

8. National Industrial Credit (NIC Bank) 22.7 billion ($315 million)
Assets up 20%, profit up 83%, deposits up 23%, loans up 14%, income up 37%, but NPA 88%

9. Credit Finance Corporation (CFC Bank) 22.4 billion
CFC is likely to overhaul NIC with assets up 27%, deposits and loans both up 19%, income up 47%, profit up 43% but insider loans up 74% and NPA up 27%.

10. Investment & Mortgages (I&M Bank) 20.5 billion
Assets up 28%, deposits, loans, and income all up 31%, and profits up 72% from a year ago

11. Diamond Trust 17.9 billion
Assets up 33%, profits up 84%, deposits up 40%, loans up 28%, but insider lending up 54%, and NPA up 141%.

12 Standard Bank (Stanbic) 17 billion
Assets up 36%, deposits up 18%, loans up 32%, income up 47%, and profits up 149% but insider borrowing up 478% from a year ago.

13. Equity 13.9 billion
Newly listed on the NSE. Assets up 55%, profits up 115%, deposits up 67%, and loans up 130%, but insider lending up 160%, and NPA up 69% from a year ago.

14. Bank of Baroda 10.7 billion
Assets, deposits, and loans but also NPA all up 21%, while profits up 9% from a year ago.

15. Housing Finance Corporation of Kenya (HFCK) 9.9 billion
Was passed by Baroda and Equity since a year ago despite rocket high share price. Its assets, deposit, and loans all unchanged (up less than 1%) from a year ago, with NPA’s up 45% but still profits were up 82% from last June.

16. EABS Bank 8.6 billion
Was a known as pre-merger Akiba Bank a year ago. Deposits up 130%, loans up 53%, but profits down 94% from last June.

17. Prime 8.6 billion
Assets up 42%, deposits up 50%, loans up 31%, and profits up 75% and they have overtaken BOI and Imperial banks’.

18. Imperial 8.5 billion
Assets up 13% profits up 37%, deposits up 31%, loans up 20%, but insider borrowing also up 40% from a year ago.

19. Bank of India 7.9 billion
assets up 25%, profit up 69%, deposits up 21%, loans up 48%, income up 37% while NPA’s up 40%.

20. Fina 6.0 billion
Deposits up 64%, loans up 32%, income up 42%, and profits up 9% bank as Fina pushes into Rwanda and the SME sector.

Tier 3 (assets below 6 billion shillings)

21. Bank of Africa 5.8 billion ($80.74 million)
Assets up 16%, deposits up 31%, income up 37%, as the Bank has turned round from a loss of 10 million last June to profit of 4m.

22. Habib Bank AG Zurich 5.2 billion
Assets and profits both up 14% in the half year.

23. Giro 5.1 billion
Assets up 13%, deposits up 16%, but profits down 61% at Bank whose acquisition by SB of India Bank has not been completed

24. Guardian 4.9 billion
Assets up 6%, income up 40%,and profit up 18% from last June.

25. ABC Bank 4.8 billion
Assets and deposits up 13%, loans up 9%, income and NPA’s up 21%, as profits remained flat.

26. K-Rep 4.4 billion
Assets up 47%, deposits up 64%, loans up 32%, income up 42%, profits up 9%, but insider borrowing up 47% from a year ago.

27. Southern Credit 4.2 billion
Assets up 8%, deposits and loans up 7%, income up 13%, but profit down 44% from last June.

28. Victoria 4 billion
Assets up 4% but profits down 10% from a year ago.

29. Charterhouse 3.9 billion
Not bad performance for a bank which was placed under statutory management in June following money laundering allegations. Loans and assets up 28%, deposits up 32%, income up 37%, as profits remained unchanged at 76 million shillings.

30. Equatorial 3.6 billion
Assets up 19%, deposits up 27%, loans up 24%, but NPA’s up 94%, with profits down 18%.

31. Middle East 3.6 billion
Assets, profits, deposits, and loans all down 11%, while income was up 9%.

32. Habib Bank 3.2 billion
Assets, deposits, and income down 3%, and operating expenses up 16% leaving profits down 63% from a year ago.

33. Consolidated 3.1 billion
Like NBK and Oriental has a high percentage of non-performing assets. Assets up 18%, deposits up 16%, loans up 39%, income up 92%, but with NPA’s up 88%, the bank went from a profit of 14m last June to a loss of 10 million.

34. Development Bank of Kenya (DBK) 2.9 billion
Assets up 19%, deposits up 54%, loans up 60%, income up 30%, but profits down 61%.

35. Credit Bank 2.8 billion
Profits up 5% and deposits up 7% from last June.

36. Chase 2.8 billion
Assets up 22%, profit up 26%, deposits up 53%, loans up 36%, and income up 42% but with NPA’s up 22%.

37. Transnational 2.2 billion
Profits up 20%, loans up 26% but deposits remained flat while NPA’s were up 69%.

38. Fidelity 1.9 billion
Assets up 24%, deposits and loans both up 30%, but profits down 31% with insider borrowing up 50% and NPA up 28%.

39. Paramount Universal1.8 billion
Assets up 31%, deposits up 23%, and loans up 12%, while the bank has gone from a half year loss of 2 million in June ’05 to a profit of 9 million this year.

40. Oriental 1.4 billion
Deposits up 16%, income up 42% and NPA reduced by 35% but even as assets reduced by 15% the bank was able to improve by reducing its half-year loss by 19%.

41. Dubai 1.1 billion
Assets were up 4%, deposits up 18%, loans up 40%, but NPA’s were up 168% and profits down 68% from a year ago.

42. City Finance

New Banks

Family Finance 3.9 billion assets, (and would be the 30th largest bank in Kenya at June 2006) is awaiting CBK approval to convert from a building society to a commercial bank this year. Assets are up 39% deposits up 29%, loans up 60%, income up 60%, but profits unchanged at 97 million as NPA’s were up 105% from last June

Gulf African Bank will be Kenya’s first fully Shariah compliant bank. Deloitte Consulting are hiring top managers for the CEO and all top management positions (Deadline is September 15).

Also expected to join the Kenyan banking sector are ICICI and 2 other banks.


Business relationship managers at Equity Bank. Apply to by 13 September

Kencall: 100+ inbound customer service agents and 50+ outbound customer service agents who have lived, worked or studied in the US or UK . Details at

Graduate trainees at the Kenya Revenue Authority. Deadline is 15 September.

Financial investment analyst at Standard Investment Bank. apply to September 8

Various at Toyota. see for details

For airline staff – Go to India: IAG blog reports that India will order over 800 new aircraft over the next 20 years requiring some 12,000 pilots to crew these planes and likely 3,500 flight attendants.

Jobs & Other Opportunities (June 16)

Most of these appear in the Friday Nation.

APA Insurance
– Head of ICT
– Internal auditor
Apply through KPMG at by 30 June.

Coca cola: Vacancies at Coast Bottlers, Mombasa including sales manager, sales supervisors, representatives, and technical jobs at apply to the HRM at by 30 June.

Communications Commission of Kenya
– manager/policy & economic regulation
– manager/project monitoring & evaluation
– senior legal officer
– assistant compliance & enforcement officer
– officer/consumption protection & service quality (2)
Deadline is July 14.

Air mechanics at Emirates to be based in Dubai and work in line maintenance, base maintenance, cabin maintenance and overhaul workshops – earning tax free salaries.

Housing Finance Company of Kenya
– product development manager
– information systems auditor
Apply to by June 23.

Kencall is looking to hire over 200 telesales executives. Applicant to enter details online at their web site then go for interviews after. The company is also hiring a marketing & business development manager, senior accountant, and 8 financial reporting analysts.

NIC Bank
– branch manager
– internal audit manager
– communications & corporate affairs manager
Apply to the head of human resources p o box 44599-00100 by 30 June.

Teachers at Oshwal Academy. Apply to by June 22.

Marketing & communications manager at Pricewaterhousecoopers. Apply to by July 3.

Several jobs at Safal Limited (parent company of Mabati Rolling Mills and Insteel including finance manager, senior accountant, internal auditor, internal audit manager technical marketing executives (5) export executive, production supervisors (2), security officer, maintenance engineer. Apply through Hawkins Associates Nairobi.

Project Manager at UNDP Somalia Details at and deadline is June 19.

World Bank – Sudan
– program assistant
– team assistant
Deadline is June 30.

(2) Rhodes scholarships for Kenyans to study at Oxford University beginning in October 2007. Detail from British council or and deadline is 15 September.

Free Money
The Kenya Revenue Authority will pay you if you snitch on a tax cheat. For information leading to the identification of an undisclosed tax, reward is 1% up to 100,000 shillings and they will pay volunteers 3% of the collected undisclosed tax. Send you submissions to or