Category Archives: NSE investor awareness

Why African firms list at London

“Fundraising via small cap IPO” was the title of a webinar last week, that was hosted by Jonathan Nelson of HF Capital and which featured Gokul Mani and Ope Sule, both of the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

In nine months of 2021, London has had 81 IPO deals that have raised $20 billion. It is one of the top 3 global exchanges after the USA and Hong Kong, but London is the largest international market (of the 2,000 listed firms, 700 are not from the UK), while the others mainly comprise local firms. 

There are 160 African firms on the LSE and these include Airtel Africa,  VivoJumia and Acorn.

Why list at London?

  • Firms will get the right price: With $100 million assets, a company can raise $35-40 million
  • A listing makes it easier to raise more money; when a company is private it can spend 6 months raising money. But once listed on the LSE, it can raise $30-40 million overnight 
  • 30% of LSE firms are listed on 2 or 3 other exchanges.  London partners with Nigeria and South Africa exchanges so if a company lists in London, it doesn’t have to provide too much additional information to list on South Africa with a bit more in Nigeria.  
  • To list at London, a company should be valued at about $50-70 million for the Aim board and $150-200 million for the Main one. 
  • Compare this to the US where a company needs to aim for a $5 billion valuation. If this is lower than $3-4 billion, the US is not for them, but London will give that investor appetite. 
  • London is primarily institutional and by fundraising there, companies are dealing with professional money managers while China is mainly retail (45-50%)  as well as the US (30-45%), London retail is 10-12%.
  • London can value technology firms, unlike (African) local markets – and most of the technology firms raising money this year are loss-making, but the market can still price them.

What firms will need to do? 

  • It costs a lot to raise money in terms of the time to meet investors and do roadshows. 
  • To raise $10-20 million, the fundraising cost is 5-6%, but for a larger target of $100 million, it would be 2.5-3.5%. 
  • Firms are advised to hire a public relations (PR) as well as investor relations (IR) firms that are based in London – spending $200,000 a year for these.

New unquoted board for company listings at Nairobi

The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) has launched a new push to increase the number of listed companies. Rather than wait for companies to get ready for listing, they had set out to seek and groom companies under the Ibuka program and have now launched an unquoted securities platform (USP) to woo more companies.  

At an event organized by the Bob Collymore Foundation to connect small and medium businesses seeking capital with potential investors, NSE CEO Geoffrey Odundo said there are 498 private equity funds in Africa with 238 are active in Kenya where there was Kshs 2 trillion available to invest in well-run businesses. He said the new NSE programs are designed at improving the transparency, governance, and chances of business survival after a founder hands off, not just raising capital.  

The USP is an information and infrastructure solution to promote the issuing and trading securities by unquoted companies who can list corporate bonds, ordinary or preference shares, REIT’s, private offers, rights issues and secondary listings of any amount. It targets the many companies whose shares trade over-the-counter (OTC), but whose owners are seeking liquidity, clearer valuations and maybe later to raise capital.

Companies can apply by sending a prospectus to the CMA and NSE, one year of audited accounts, board resolution, incorporation documents and a fee of Kshs 5,000. It takes 21 days for a decision to be made if all documents are sent and the cost of listing is 0.03% of the value of the securities.

The NSE’s USP board has two listings, both from Acorn Holdings. As part of the conclusion of its green bond program, Acorn has transferred the student accommodations it is building into an Acorn D-REIT (real estate development trust), and once they are complete, they will be sold to an Acorn I-REIT (income real estate investment trust) that will manage the properties. A few weeks ago, on July 9, the USP board had its first trades as one million shares of Acorn worth Kshs 20 million (Kshs 6M of the D-REIT, and Kshs 14M of the I-REIT) were traded.

Simple Nairobi stock trades with EFG Hermes One

Background: Kenya’s top stockbroker, EFG Hermes has set out to expand from its institutional investors and also target retail customers. They launched their EFG Hermes One app in July 2021 allowing Kenyan investors to purchase shares on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) anytime on their mobile phones.

First Impressions: To get started, one had to go through the Kenyan regulatory requirements of KYC (know your customer). While the process is extensive for investors, with a lot of forms, ID, address and other details, new clients can scan and email documents, including photos to EFG Hermes.

Once you’re done, download the app and log-in with the credential to start trading. One fund an investor using mobile money (M-Pesa pay bill) and selects their share account (CDS) to get credited.  

For any issues, there are quick responses via email from EFG Hermes Kenya client services on issues like registration and trades. 

How It Works: Investors can view equities, and their portfolios with up-to-date prices, and also see their cash balances. They can place trades, set the prices and the expiry dates and see the commission/fee calculation before executing any buy or sell trades.

One useful feature of the app is that it allows trading of “odd lots”. This is something not available at many brokers who still only allow  investors to buy or sell shares in multiples of a hundred (100) shares – yet many investors end up with odd lots as a result of selling other shares in ’00s or getting bonus issues.

another odd feature from the stockbroking industry is T+3 days/ again this is somewhat standard and after you sell shares, it will take about two days for funds to reach your account after that one indicated at the account opening where the funds will be sent. 

For now, the Kenya app only allows trades of equities on the NSE, but in future may have more issues – bonds, derivatives, REIT’s, ETF’s regional and international products from EFG Hermes in different markets and assets classes and also as the NSE comes up with more products for retail investors such as day-trading and short-selling.

Verdict: It enables investors to trade from anywhere securely and tracks their trades and portfolios with up to date prices. The app is really small, just 10 MB, and does not use a lot of data to run. Many retail investors have other apps, laptops and sources to analyze what trades to make, and they can turn to the One app which can also be used to place trades after hours to execute when the NSE opens.

At the end of the month, investors get emailed a statement by EFG Hermes of trades during the month. This is a useful record to keep and they should cross-check with the one that comes from the CDSC.  

The EFG Hermes One app is available in the Google Android and Apple App stores.

EFG Hermes launches online trading in Kenya

Kenya’s leading stockbroker, EFG Hermes has launched One, a new online platform that enables retail investors to trade shares on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).

EFG Hermes One, the equities trading platform will be available to clients of the stockbroker. The One app has been very successful in other markets, notably in Vietnam and the firm hopes to capitalize on the high mobile phone density in Kenya, reported at 108%. 

Speaking at the launch, the CEO of the NSE Geoffrey Odundo said that Kenya has an active retail investor base as seen with M-Akiba, a government bond issued and traded on mobile phones that drew 500,000 investors. He added that the new NSE platform has the ability for “day-trading” and “short-selling” and those would be products that appeal to retail investors.

Muathi Kilonzo, Head of Equities at EFG Hermes Kenya said that retail investors across the globe showed great activity in powering different equities and investments markets while the world was slowed by Covid-19.

Ali Khalpey, the CEO of Frontier Markets, said EFG Hermes started in Egypt 35 years ago and had grown to have 5,500  employees and offices in Egypt, Dubai, Nigeria, Kuwait, USA, Oman, UK, Kenya, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan offering stockbroking, investment banking, asset management, securities brokerage, research, and private equity services.

In 2017, EFG Hermes launched a greenfield operation in Kenya that has grown to be the top stockbroker by value traded on the Nairobi Securities Exchange in 2021. Last year it was acclaimed as the top frontier research institution and the best broker in Kenya and Nigeria. It produces highly prized research reports on frontier markets with recent ones on Kenyan banks, the silicon savannah potential and digitizing COVID-19 stimulus initiatives.

Download the One app from the Apple app store and Google play store, register to be an EFG Hermes client, and get on board after a regulator-mandated, know-your-customer (KYC) process.

Family Bank to raise Notes

A few weeks after retiring a bond issue e early, Family Bank has launched a new medium-term notes (MTN) program.

Family Bank has got approval from the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) to borrow up to Kshs 8 billion over the next five years to go towards growing its capital base, launch new products, and support lending mainly to MSME’s (micro, small, medium enterprises) . The first tranche will be Kshs 4 billion. 

This announcement is a welcome sign for the Nairobi corporate bond scene that has been shrinking for the last few years. Last week East African Breweries (EABL) announced it was retiring its bond program, and earlier, in April 2021, Family Bank had paid back Kshs 2 billion to its noteholders – concluding a Kshs 10 billion borrowing multi-currency program of fixed and floating rate bonds that it had launched in 2015.   

CEO Rebecca Mbithi said she was confident of the bank’s upward trajectory as Family is the fourth largest bank in the country by branch network, with 92 branches. The bank has recorded net compounded growth of profit-after-tax of 21% in the last five years, with assets growing annually by 7% and deposits by 14%. In the first quarter of 2021, it had a 71% increase compared to its earnings last year. 

Transaction advisors for the MTN program are NCBA Investment Bank and Genghis Capital. Other partners are PricewaterhouseCoopers (reporting accountants), MTC (note trustees), Mboya Wangong’u & Waiyaki (legal)  and Tim-Sky Media (PR). 

EDIT June 8: Family Bank Bond details are out.

  • The first tranche aims to raise Kshs 3 billion (about $27.8 million) in Kenya shillings or other currencies, with a 1 billion green-shoe option.
  • Maturity is 5.5 years.
  • The rate is fixed at 13% p.a. or floating (at the T-bill ±2.5%).
  • Funds may be used to expand branches, for on-lending, ICT investments, capital strengthening or regional markets entry.
  • Bond opens on 8 June, closes on 22 June,
  • The minimum investment amount is Kshs 100,000 (about $927)
  • Interest payments will be twice a year.
  • Bonds will be listed at the NSE from June 2021 to December 2026.

EDIT: June 24: The first tranche of the notes was fully subscribed and attracted bids for Kshs 4.41 billion. Family Bank was then granted approval by the CMA to exercise a green shoe option for Kshs 1 billion above Kshs 3 billion tranche size.

The entire first note tranche will pay investors at a fixed rate of 13%, paid semi-annually and will be listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange on June 30, 2021.

EDIT June 30: Trading of the first tranche of Family Bank bonds at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) started this morning.

Bank Chairman, Wilfred Kiboro reiterated that Family plans to list its shares on the NSE and that activities like the successful bond listing, which raised Kshs 4.42 billion from investors, will increase the attractiveness of the bank.