Kenyan private equity firm trades “Over The Counter”

A leading Kenyan stockbroker says local investment company TransCentury (www.transcentury.co.ke) plans to list its shares for trading on a stock exchange. According to an interview with Reuters newsagency, Jimnah Mbaru, chairman of Dyer and Blair Investment Bank (www.dyerandblair.com), says they already offer an Over-The-Counter market in the shares, meaning the stockbroker has an informal market system in which “for anybody interested in selling some of their shares, we look for potential buyers of those shares”

He is reported as saying the shares trade on the OTC market at between KSh 48-50 ($0.64-$0.67) each. The company’s assets were worth KSh 13.12 billion ($176 mln) at the end of June 2008, up 64% on KSh 8 bln in 2007, according to a trading document, or KSh 41.55 for each of its 262 mln shares. Net profit was KSh 1.17 bln at the end of 2007, says the report, up 60% from KSh 729.16 mln the previous year.

Mbaru is also reported to be one of the top 10 shareholders of TransCentury and between them the top 10 owned 61.8% of the company at 31 December 2008.

The company’s portfolio includes shares in listed companies (including Equity Bank, Stanbic Bank Uganda, East Africa Cables, Kenya Power and Lighting, and Centum) and covers energy, railways, banking, food and agriculture sectors and real estate in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and South Africa. It also invests in private equity funds run by Aureos Capital, Helios Investment Partners and Business Partners International, according to its website.

TransCentury says 40% of its portfolio is outside Kenya and aims to raise this to 50% in the next 3 months, according to the report.  TransCentury began in 1997 making investments in listed companies. Buyouts and other opportunities in 2003.

Reuters quotes Mbaru: “It (TransCentury) is always out in the market looking for acquisitions. They are always raising more money so at one time or another, they may want to raise money through an IPO (initial public offer).”

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