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The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) had its annual symposium in Nairobi last week with sessions on competition, regulation, policy and consumer protection.
On the final day, Director General Wang’ombe Kariuki who is retiring after twelve years had a Q&A talk where he spoke about leading the growth of what was a new institution in government, one which not many Kenyans understood its initial purpose but came to appreciate/enjoy its effects of lower prices. Some of his advice was:
When you lobby for resources, go with critical evidence and itemized budgets as requests for large sums with no breakdown will not be responded to. So be guided by prioritization and do what you can with what you have.
Align with international partners and fellow agencies in government and show examples that are relevant e.g. this has worked in Uganda or Tanzania, so let’s do it. But in learning from global peers (OECD, South Africa), adapt stuff for local conditions and do not blindly transplant regulations from developed economies.
Put your organization in the performance contracts of leaders: (the CAK) was lucky) in that, it was starting up under a new government that appreciated the need to have a strong competition agency as part of the economic recovery strategy (ERS) – so they set out to ensure that as the Treasury implements its ERS, the CAK was a deliverable item in it.
Identify champions to help you build an agency: In their case, it was the Head of the Civil Service Joseph Kinyua and (then) Finance Minister Uhuru Kenya as champions. They ensure you are fully funded and protect you in Parliament. With the counties, they engaged with the Senate and worked to create champions to address issues like cess which affects farmers, traders and markets.
Understand your industry: they started by profiling what reduces competition i.e is it a behaviour of firms or government regulations? They did 13 market enquiries and prioritized sectors for the government to make interventions; e.g. they updated archaic tea industry laws in which farmers had to get approval to plant or cut tea from one competitor (KTDA) and this resulted in many new tea companies springing up and creating new employment, with higher prices for farmers. Another study of mobile money payments resulted in consumers being able to see charges before they transact, and not after, as was the case before the CAK intervention to create price competition.
You don’t have to influence the government: It has ears; so do your research that shows advantages to the common man, and the government will listen. Work with the press to highlight studies/work that you have done .. the government may get worried and run with the solutions you have recommended.
Significant interventions by the CAK over the years include: (i) During covid-19, some supermarkets doubled the prices of sanitizer products but the CAK asked them to refund consumers, (ii) With USSD they brought down the price of phone messages sent from Kshs 10 to 1 during Covid (iii) they also opened up thousands of mobile money agents to serve all telecommunications companies (though whether Safaricom’s competitors took up the opportunity is another story!)
Historically, golf has been considered to be a costly sport in Kenya with difficulty in accessing equipment kits and membership clubs to play at. But now golf is enjoying increased corporate attention and bank sponsorships in the post-covid period. Some of these initiatives had begun in the period before the shutdowns in 2020, but the increased need for individuals to exercise in open spaces boosted more interest in hiking, cycling, jogging, and golfing. Golf clubs were previously seen to be losing touch with young people, and many of the new initiatives are designed to turn this around.
Some ongoing corporate golf partnerships are:
Kenya has been a multiple winner of Africa’s Best Golf Destination at the annual World Travel Awards and the Kenya Tourism Board is keen on using golf to promote tourism both by local and international travelers. Golf is played year-round in Kenya and the country has easy connections to other tourism facilities. KTB cites a consultancy research report that golf travelers spend 2.5x more than leisure travelers and stay for longer periods
Absa Kenya has a long-running sponsorship of the Kenya Open Golf tournament which, with the support of the Government that aims to boost tourism into the country, is known as the Magical Kenya Open and is part of the European Tour. The 2022 edition tournament was played in March at the Muthaiga Club and was won, for the first time, by a Chinese golfer, Ashun Wu.
This year, Kenya Airways joined as a corporate partner and had aircraft fly past over Muthaiga on two days of the tournament and, as an official sponsor offered discounted rates to golfers and fans while ferrying in PGA officials working at the tournament.
NCBA has the NCBA Golf Series with ten tournaments around the country that was in Kitale last week and will next be in Kampala, Uganda. In 2021, the series had 13 tournaments that attracted 1,700 golfers. Some juniors golfers who participated won qualification to two international events – the Rome Classic (Italy) and the Big Five (South Africa).
The Safaricom Golf Tour has received sponsorship of Kshs 100 million, for a 14-leg tournament that will involve outreach to local communities and make the sport more accessible – it will rope in corporate and amateur players, juniors (play on Sundays), caddies (compete on Mondays) at the different legs. It aims to find new talent for the sport, especially young golfers, and winners of different legs will feature at the finale at Vipingo Ridge in August. The Vipingo Ridge course was launched in 2010 and continues to host several leading international golf tournaments.
Also on the European Tour is the Magical Kenya Ladies Open which is played at the Vipingo course. The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) is the main sponsor of the tournament which this year featured 90 golfers from 25 countries. The tournament also got a Kshs 20 million sponsorship from Safaricom’s M-Pesa who held a junior golf clinic.
Crown Paints and Prime Bank are part sponsors of the US Kids Foundation golf series along with Safaricom and NCBA. The three-year program will be run through the Junior Golf Foundation (JGF) to promote golf development through the training of up to 40 coaches across the country and supports local golf tours to introduce more young people to the sport. It has held events at Limuru and Muthaiga and will have more at Karen and Royal (Nairobi) all leading to a finale at the Muthaiga Golf Club in May 2022.
Kenya Ports Authority will have tournaments in different cities of its operations – Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu.
The Tannahill Shield one of the largest amateur golf tournaments in the country is ongoing at the Royal Nairobi Golf Club this Easter Weekend. It is sponsored by Jamii Telecom, Rentco and Chipper Cash, a remittance company.
In 2021, Absa Kenya sponsored the Savannah Tour Classic a new event created for the European tour in the recovery from Covid and was staged ahead of the Kenya Open.
The Johnnie Walker Classic golf series resumed after eight years, sponsored by EABL’s The Johnnie Walker Classic golf series resumed after eight years, sponsored by EABL’s Kenya Breweries. “Road to Gleneagles” will have amateur and professional golfers compete at 20 clubs across the country ahead of the finale in May 2022 where the winning team will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to play at the Gleneagles in Scotland which is one of the top golf courses in the world. For the professionals, participation will help them to improve their competitiveness for the European tour events played in Kenya.
Insurance companies including ICEA and Liberty (a Stanbic affiliate) also support golf as do other companies in the sector.
EDIT: Amateur golfers are invited to enter the Race to Vipingo Ridge by registering and submitting scores achieved during “club nights” at their home clubs between 18 April and the end of June for a chance to win a chance to play in the finals at Vipingo Ridge, with their transport and accommodation careered for. Note, there is an entry fee for the qualifying rounds.
EDIT: NMG has the Nation Classic Golf Series again for 2022.
EDIT: I&M Bank has an offer to pay 95% of the membership fee for its customers eligible to join VetLab Sports Club, a popular golf club in Nairobi.
Managers at Kenya’s largest stockbroker, EFG Hermes, held a media briefing on the state of investing in Kenya in 2022. This is at a time that the Democratic Republic of Congo is about to join the East African Community, potentially doubling its market size from over 100 million to 200 million and making the region more attractive to investors due to the regional transports links.
EFG Hermes Head of Frontier Market Research, Kato Mukuru said Nairobi is now the capital of East Africa and that local banks have become regional champions such as Equity which is now the largest bank in the DRC. The next step should be a common currency in East Africa but he lamented that different African governments were unnecessarily chasing digital currency (CBDC) projects.
EFG Hermes Kenya which has a 30% share of Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) trading activity, largely from institutional investors has now invested in wooing retail investors through an app they launched last August. The NSE has had shrinking liquidity, and the value of stock trades that used to be $8-10 million per day, is now at $2-3 million per day – and if liquidity can be pushed back up, other new products on NSE such as derivatives and day-trading will become more viable.
Overall EFG researchers think Kenya is on right track despite concerns about its debt, inflation and currency, the agriculture sector should keep the Kenyan shilling stable and compensate for increased energy prices – and they don’t expect currency depreciations movements like seen in Egypt and Pakistan.
The government needs to have a privatization agenda to boost the NSE. Safaricom was listed at the end of post-election violence in 2008 when Kenya was at its lowest and that produced one of the most valuable companies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
East Africa needs to create more formal jobs. Kenya has 5M formal jobs for a population of 50M while Vietnam has almost 50% formal employment. It may take the government to initiate a more planned economy system that targets creating real formal employment that goes beyond agriculture as it can’t rely on informal jobs forever.
Tanzania’s late President Magufuli has shown that a country can transform within one administration.
The way out of food inflation caused by the Russian war in Ukraine is by sourcing foods from other parts of East Africa e.g. start to eat matoke. The region is very resilient and will not be shocked as much as Egypt which is dependent on wheat imports from those states. The East African region is largely self-sufficient in food supply and Kenya, which may have droughts, could import other foods from Tanzania, Uganda or Rwanda.
DRC is very attractive in terms of its resources and the EAC would be further boosted if Ethiopia also joined. Kenya has strong links through the Nairobi-Addis highway and LAPSSET projects in which Ethiopia has been invited to participate.
With its balance sheet, Safaricom has the capacity to take on debt for their Ethiopia venture. They borrowed $400 million locally for the license and they can syndicate that, or draw on vendors or DFI’s, to fund more while continuing to pay dividends to shareholders.
Safaricom has formally re-launched the next phase of the M-Pesa app as a rich financial management tool that does not depend on a single network or data to operate.
The M-Pesa service, which now has 30 million users, has been redesigned to allow biometric (face/fingerprint) authorization of transactions as an option to entering a PIN. Users can also load up different transactions, amounts and recipients and approve them all as a single bulk payment. It also allows emojis and images of counter-parties and there is also a “request money” feature.
During Covid-19, Safaricom saw an initial dip in the numbers of business using M-pesa, formally and informally, but a new business app, coupled with online applications for the business till numbers, saw them double the number of business customers from the beginning of the pandemic. Some key new features are that users will be able to add “reasons/notes” to payments, generate visualizations of transactions with individuals and download statements, which are all important to cash flow and fund management.
The app can work in offline mode, does not use data, Also M-Pesa has taken the WeChat route with mini-apps as Safaricom seeks to establish a play store for Kenya. It has fourty mini-apps are in development and seven are now live. One is the Kenya Railways Madaraka Express train service between Nairobi and Mombasa, and booking a ticket on the app gives back 10% to the buyer’s wallet. New users also get 500 MB for each download from the Android or Apple stores.
In the future, there are plans to have the M-Pesa app be accessible for lifestyle and business purposes in any African country. Users will also be able to store their credit card details to fund their wallet, enabling remittance and payment transactions.
Various merger/acquisition (M&A) deals in the last few months in East Africa since the last update.
(1 US dollar equals 110 Kenya shillings)
Banking and Finance: Finance, Law, & Insurance M&A
The Competition Authority approved the acquisition of 24.9% of the Montessori Learning Centre by Victoria Commercial Bank.
Stanbic Africa gets an extension to the end of 2021 to increase its Stanbic Kenya stake to 75%, by acquiring 14.8M shares from other shareholders through the NSE
Mwalimu National Sacco has acquired 100% ownership of the trouble-ridden Spire Bank from business tycoon, Naushad Merali – via @moneyacademyKE
Equity Bank to merge BCDC_RDC & Equity Bank Congo which are its subsidiaries in DRC.
I&M Holdings PLC has completed the acquisition of 90% of Orient Bank Limited from 8 miles LLP and Morka Holdings Limited. OBL is the 12th largest bank and a licensed and established commercial bank in Uganda. with 70,000 customers and a network of 14 branches.
KCB Group to acquire 62% of BPR, Rwanda’s second-largest bank, and 100% of Bank ABC in Tanzania – two banks that Atlas Mara had offered to Equity Group.
Atlas Mara to sell its Botswana bank, BancABC, and its subsidiary’s BancABC Mozambique to Access Bank.
Atlas Mara denies receiving offers from a Nigerian or any other bank to acquire its stake in UBN – the Union Bank of Nigeria.
Atlas Mara has completed the sale of BancABC, its Mozambique bank to Access Bank.
Investment Markets and Deal Makers
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange to acquire a majority stake in South Africa’s second-largest share registry.
Allianz will acquire a controlling stake in Jubilee Insurance’s property & casualty business in Kenya, Tanzania & Uganda and the short-term insurance in Burundi and Mauritius for USD 100 million. In the deal, Jubilee will acquire the business of Allianz in Kenya to draw on its global expertise in retail, digital insurance, and micro-insurance.
The Competition Authority approved the acquisition of 56% of Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise (ACRE Africa) by Zep Re (PTA Insurance Company)
The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of 100% of Resolution Leapfrog Holding by Linkham Services.
Liberty Holdings to buy out the Coronation (Hilton, Vanderbilt) and Kimberlite fund shares in @LibertyLifeKe in a private deal. Liberty shareholding increases from 57% to 73%, but no plans for a buy out offer and shares will remain listed on the NSE.
Monarch Insurance to sell a majority stake (51%) of the company to the Holmarcom Group of Morocco through its holding company “Holmarcom Insurance Activities.” The Kamu Group and Maisha Bank will remain as minority shareholders.
Minet Group and Africa Lighthouse Capital have acquired Aon’s shareholding in Aon Botswana, and will now operate as Minet Botswana.
Old Mutual Life Assurance has been acquired by UAP Life Assurance for Kshs 2.59 billion.
The proposed merger involving ECP Africa Fund IV LLC and ECP Africa Fund IV A LLC and Remitix Holdings (Mauritius). Remitix is a Mauritius-based holding company, which holds the business known as the “Mukuru,” a cash remittance technology platform that allows users to send or receive money across various countries in Sub- Saharan Africa and provides foreign exchange services.
WorldRemit to acquire Sendwave .. in the last 12 months, the two companies have sent $7.5 billion in transfers (mainly to West and East Africa), generating $280 million in revenue
Stripe acquires Nigeria’s Paystack for $200M+ to expand into the African continent.
Ghana’s remittance firm Zeepay acquires Mangwee Mobile Money in Zambia – via @SamWakoba
The Competition Authority approved the acquisition of 85% of Century Microfinance Bank by Branch International on condition that they each maintain terms agreed with existing borrowers until they expire.
South African law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) and Nairobi-based corporate law boutique Kieti Law have agreed to a merger, established under CDH’s name.
Kenyan agency banking startup Tanda is expanding its operations regionally after closing a funding round and has secured key strategic partnerships with Mastercard & Interswitch. Tanda’s platform and network supports 58 banks and saccos, 4 telecoms, 12,000 merchants and agents and has served over 300,000 customers.
The business of Altima Africa has been transferred to Stratostaff EA Ltd.
Agri-Business, Food & Beverage M&A
The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of 50% of Bidco Land 0′ Lakes limited by Aaryan Investments.
The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of control of the bakery business of Kenblest Ltd by Kenblest Foods, the proposed acquisition of the maize milling business of Kenblest Ltd by Max Grains and the proposed acquisition of control of the wheat milling business of Mcneel Millers by Kenblest Processors. Kenblest once owned 12.5% of Imperial Bank before it shut down.
The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of Glacier Products by ExEo Capital through their Agri-Vie Fund II
Eat’N’Go acquires the Domino’s Pizza and Cold Stone Creamery franchises in Kenya – and aims to grow from running 147 stores in Nigeria and Kenya to 180 across Africa by year-end.
Certain assets of the manufacturing, production, processing and dealing in agricultural and farm products business carried on by DNC Foods will be transferred to Bigcold Kenya.
The assets of the meat processing and food distribution business carried on by Alpha Fine Foods Limited will be transferred to Bigcold Kenya.
Coca-Cola European Partners has acquired a 25% stake in Innovative Tap Solutions (PourMyBeer) whose technology allows consumers to pour and pay for drinks themselves, cutting queues, reducing unnecessary contact & wait times, and freeing up staff.
The Kenya Ministry of Defense is doing public participation to facilitate the transfer of the Kenya Meat Commission from the Ministry of Livestock to the Department of Defense.
The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of 50% of Propack Kenya by Jaiminia Patel. Propack had a turnover of Kshs 711 million in 2019.
EDIT: Tana Africa Capital has acquired a minority stake in Kensington Distillers & Vintners (KDV) that owns majority stakes in Monument Distillers Kenya, Monument Distillers Nigeria and Truman & Orange South Africa. KDV offers high-quality wine and spirit brands and plans to grow its footprint into other high-growth African markets. Tana, a JV between the Oppenheimer Family and Temasek Holdings, has raised $600 million and invested in a diverse portfolio across 20 African countries.
The business and assets of Mindtrac Ltd carrying out the business of e-commerce software development will be transferred to Dukaree Innovations Ltd which will carry on the business of e-commerce software development.
Amethis acquired a minority stake in Nouvelle Minoterie Africaine (NMA), a leading FMCG company in Sénégal, which produces and distributes poultry and livestock feed, pasta and wheat flour.
Carbacid shareholders vote on the Kshs 1.24 billion buyout of BOC Gases at the end of January and may de-list the acquired company in future. Carbacid set out to acquire 100% of BOC Kenya and BOC accepted the offer and agreed to retire directors, transfer trademarks, and rebrand as all employees will be retained. Carbacid and Aksaya are confident that minority BOC shareholders will accept an offer to buy 100% of the firm at Shs 63.50/share by 6 April. BOC’s board, having sold its 65%, says the deal is willing buyer, willing seller and will not make a recommendation to fellow shareholders.
Logistics platform Amitruck and ecommerce platform Sky.Garden announced a partnership to form an end-to-end digital chain for goods pick-up and deliveries to the last mile.
The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of certain assets of Orbit Enterprises by R. K. Sanghani. Orbit had a turnover of Kshs 97 million in 2019.
The Competition Authority has approved the proposed joint venture between Elopak AS and Nampak Southern Africa Holdings.
Airline/ Oil/Energy/Mining M&A
Heirs Holdings and its affiliate, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc have acquired 45% participating interest in Nigerian oil licence OML 17 (that can produce 27,000 barrels of oil per day) and related assets from Shell Nigeria, Total Nigeria and ENI and have sole operatorship of the asset. The deal involves financing of US$1.1 billion from a consortium of global and regional banks and investors (Afreximbank, ABSA, Africa Finance Corporation, Union Bank of Nigeria, Hybrid Capital, and Amundi).
The Competition Authority approved the acquisition of control of Quantum Power East Africa GT Menengai limited by Globeleq, CDC’s energy firm. QPEA is among three firms that were awarded contracts by the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) to develop power plants in Menengai.
The Nairobi Securities Exchange suspended trading in Kenya Airways shares following a request from the airline in anticipation of a government buy-out.
Express Kenya CEO Hector Diniz gets approval to buy another 5% and increase his combined shareholding to nearly 77%, but with no intention to make a take-over offer or delist the company from the NSE.
Transcorp acquired Afam Power Plc and Afam Three Fast Power in a $300 million deal in November 2020.
Amitruck has secured an ‘undisclosed’ investment from Dynamo Ventures and other angel investors after completing the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa.
The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of 60% of Raysut Cement by Zou Fengqi. Raysut had a turnover of Kshs 877 million in 2019.
The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of 100% of Kilimapesa Gold by Mayflower Capital Investments. Kilimapesa had assets of Kshs 742 million in 2019.
The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of (i) Solutions East Africa and (ii) Seagas Kenya by Proto Energy East Africa on condition that 80% of staff at the target companies are retained after the merger.
Education, Tourism, Real Estate & Supermarkets M&A
The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of an additional 50% in Nakuru Meadows Development by Pan African Housing Fund LLC
Aleph Hospitality, an independent Dubai-based hotel management company has taken over the management of three hotels – Boma Nairobi, Boma Inn Nairobi and Boma Inn Eldoret, which are owned by Red Court Hotel, a subsidiary of Kenya Red Cross Society. In Kenya, Aleph also operates the Best Western Plus Westlands in Nairobi and has been awarded the management contract for a Protea by Marriott hotel in Kisumu, as well as a business hotel to be located in Mombasa.
Umubano Hotel in Kigali had been acquired by Madhvani Group for $13M after years under liquidation. The main issue with previous investors has always been a failure to make the requisite investment to expand the hotel which has been managed under Laico, Novotel, Meridian and Accord.
Thousands of Airbnb hosts got invitations to buy shares ahead of the IPO, but some did not respond.
Treasury plans to merge KICC with the Bomas of Kenya.
The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of control of Mpala Wildlife Foundation Inc. and Mpala Ranch Ltd by the trustees of Princeton University
Telecommunications, Education, Media & Publishing M&A
The East African Safari Classic Rally announced new owners, new management and a new direction for the world’s greatest classic rally, following Minti Motorsport UK’s takeover of the EASCR and Lynn Tundo was appointed as Managing Director of the Classic.
MSP Sports Capital will invest £185m into McLaren Racing (McLaren F1 & IndyCar), acquiring a15% stake that will increase to 33% in 2022, in a deal that values the team at £560m.
American investment firm Dorilton Capital acquires the legendary family-owned Williams #F1 team.
Multichoice invested $112 million for a 20% investment in BetKing, a high-growth sports betting group with operations in Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia.
A trip down memory lane .. serendipitous that eLimu Kenya, a digital educational content firm, that was launched in the iHub, is now being acquired by iHub (CcHUB) 8 years later. – via @AmkaKenya
The CcHUB Syndicate that allows angels and early-stage investors to invest alongside CcHUB in high growth technology startups in Africa has funded three startups – Taeillo, Oneport and Stears Business after a due diligence process.
Ajua (formerly MSurvey), has acquired WayaWaya, the Kenya-based Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning known for its innovative Janja platform, that enables borderless banking and payments across apps and social media platforms.
Millicom International which trades as Tigo, has signed agreements for the sale of its operations in Tanzania and its stake in the AirtelTigo joint venture in Ghana, marking its complete exit from the African continent.
Health and Medical, Pharmaceutical M&A
Mastercard has invested in Kasha Global Incorporated, a purpose-driven e-commerce platform providing essential access to health and personal care products along with the information required to support everyday hygiene needs.
The Competition Authority had approved the proposed acquisition of control of Africa Bio Systems by Maisha Holdings.
The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of 100% of Dudutech Integrated Pest Management by Bioline Group SAS.
The Competition Authority seeks whistleblowers who can confidentially share information on cartel-like behaviour, price-fixing, unsafe products, unauthorized mergers etc. – and they can get a reward of Shs 1 million.
Safaricom restructured its strategy and innovation division in FY20 and introduced a mergers & acquisitions department to support strategic acquisitions.
Kenya’s Parliament has complained about why the Privatization Commission has not had a substantive board for two years, after the terms of six directors lapsed in June 2019 – and that at a time when the government is engaging with the IMF on the reform of state-owned entities, the Commission only has five directors who are mostly government officials.