Archive for the 'Equities' Category

The winners – Africa’s top banks and bankers of 2016

Cameroon is a big winner at this year’s African Banker Awards, the 10th edition. The winners were announced yesterday (25th May) in Lusaka. Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank, active in 20 countries, wins the prestigious Bank of the Year Award and GT Bank CEO Segun Agbaje is recognized as Africa’s Banker of the Year for his leadership of the Nigerian banking giant, one of Africa’s most profitable banks.

African Banker Awards have become the pre-eminent ceremony recognising excellence in African banking. They are held on the fringes of the annual meetings of the African Development Bank. Your editor is proud to be among the judges and can comment on the excellence of the many submissions from great banks all over Africa.

For the first time, two Cameroonians feature among the laureates: Alamine Ousmane Mey wins Minister of Finance category or his contribution to socio-economic development in his country. Leading banker and economist Paul Fokam, President of the Afriland First Group, is awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award; he is a serial entrepreneur, a renowned economist and his bank is one of the more important institutions in Central Africa. Cameroon scored a hat trick as Lazard’s credit-enhanced currency swap won the award for “Deal of the Year – Debt”.

Other winners include South Africa’s Daniel Matjila, CEO of South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation, a fund with $139bn funds under management. He was awarded the African Banker Icon, recognising the significant investments by the fund into African corporations and the lead role he has played in driving investment from South Africa into the continent.

The African Central Bank Governor of the Year accolade was given to Kenya’s Patrick Njoroge. Kenya’s central bank, largely unknown a year ago, has managed to navigate a tough economic climate and Patrick has been credited with cleaning up the banking sector in his country.

Speaking at the exclusive Gala Dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel attended by over 400 financiers, business leaders, and influential personalities and policy makers, Omar Ben Yedder, Group Publisher of African Banker magazine, which hosts the awards in partnership with BusinessInAfricaEvents said: “It has definitely been a defining decade in banking in Africa. We have recognised true leaders tonight who are playing a critical role in the socio-economic development of the continent.

“Finance remains a key component of development, be it in terms of financing massive infrastructure projects that today are being wholly financed by consortia of African banks, or SME financing. It’s happening because of strong, bold and visionary leadership. I have been privileged to honour some truly exceptional individuals who have left an indelible mark on the industry over the years.

“We are very grateful to our High Patron, the AfDB, for their unwavering support in this initiative and our thanks also go to our sponsors: MasterCard, Ecobank, Nedbank, African Guarantee Fund, PTA Bank, CRDB Bank, Arton Capital and Qatar Airways for partnering with us and enabling us to reward outstanding achievements, commend best practices and celebrate excellence in African banking”.

This year’s judging panel was made up of Koosum Kalyan, Chairman of EdgoMerap Pty Ltd; Zemedeneh Negatu,Managing Partner of Ernst & Young Ethiopia; Tom Minney, Chief Executive of African Growth Partners; Alain le Noir, CEO of Finances Sans Frontières; Christopher Hartland-Peel, Principal at Hartland-Peel Africa Equity Research and Kanika Saigal, Deputy Editor of African Banker Magazine.

THE 2016 AFRICAN BANKER AWARD WINNERS

  • Bank of the Year: Attijariwafa Bank (Morocco)
  • Banker of the Year: Segun Agbaje – GTBank (Nigeria)
  • Minister of Finance of the Year: Alamine Ousmane Mey (Cameroon)
  • Central Bank Governor of the Year: Patrick Njoroge (Kenya)
  • African Banker Icon: Daniel Matjila, CEO PIC (South Africa)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Paul Fokam, Founder Afriland First Bank (Cameroon)
  • Investment Bank of the Year: Rand Merchant Bank (South Africa)
  • Award for Financial Inclusion: Ecobank (Togo)
  • Best Retail Bank: BCI (Mozambique)
  • Socially Responsible Bank of the Year: Commercial International Bank (Egypt)
  • Innovation in Banking: Guaranty Trust Bank (Nigeria)
  • Deal of the Year – Equity: Naspers $2.5bn Accelerated Equity Offering (Citi)
  • Deal of the Year – Debt: Cameroon’s Currency Swap (Lazard)
  • Infrastructure Deal of the Year: Azura – Edo IPP (Fieldstone; Rand Merchant Bank; Standard Bank; IFC)
  • Best Regional Bank in North Africa: Commercial International Bank (Egypt)
  • Best Regional Bank in West Africa: Banque Atlantique (Côte d’Ivoire)
  • Best Regional Bank in Central Africa: BGFI (Gabon)
  • Best Regional Bank in East Africa: CRDB Bank (Tanzania)
  • Best Regional Bank in Southern Africa: MCB (Mauritius)

For more on the African Banker Awards, please visit: http://ic-events.net/.

JSE number of equity trades up 19% in 2014, scores daily records

South Africa’s Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) saw the number of equity trades soar 19% for the year 2014, compared to 2013. It also broke records for the highest daily value traded on 18 Dec when R53.7 billion ($4.6bn) worth of equities traded, and it hit the highest number of daily trades was 395,969 trades on 16 Oct.

Johannesburg Stock Exchange (credit: JSE)

Johannesburg Stock Exchange (credit: JSE)


There were a total of 24 new listings for the year, which added R86bn in market capitalization, including a record 8 new listings in December. In the same month, the value of trades reached a monthly record of R345.5bn, a 45% increase compared to trading in Dec 2013. In 2014, the net inflow from foreigner investors was R13.4bn.
The JSE Equity Derivatives Market, which provides traders and private investors with a platform for trading futures, exchange-traded CFDs (contracts for difference), options and other derivative instruments, saw value traded up 18% to R6 trillion. This was largely driven by the JSE flagship equity derivative futures products, index futures and single-stock futures (SSFs), which both increased by 19%.

Growth for 2015
Donna Oosthuyse, Director Capital Markets at the JSE, comments in a press release (not yet available at www.jse.co.za): “Going into 2015, a key focus for us will be to sustain these positive growth levels for the Equity and Equity Derivatives Markets. For the Equity Market our priority will be to ensure that the JSE remains an attractive venue for participation in the capital markets. For the Equity Derivatives Markets, our key focus will be to remain responsive to the needs of the market by offering investors with innovative products that provide global exposure and an ability to weather the prevailing economic environment.”
Looking back on a busy year and particularly December, she said: “The JSE Equity Market is the bedrock of the exchange and we are pleased with the performance of this segment of the market for the year, driven mainly by renewed positive US economic sentiment and a rapid decline in oil prices.
“The performance of the Equity Derivatives Market is also pleasing as it signals to the improving appetite of local and foreign investors to participate in this segment of our capital markets.”
Oosthuyse added that foreign participation in index futures had increased compared to 2013, from 31% to 37%: “This is a promising development as any increase in foreign participation can only breed more liquidity and galvanize our status as a first world exchange.”
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange has operated as a market place for trading financial products for 125 years and is one of the top 20 exchanges in the world in terms of market capitalization. It offers a fully electronic, efficient, secure market with world class regulation, trading and clearing systems, settlement assurance and risk management. It is a member of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE).

South Africa’s PIC aims to invest $1bn into African private equity and development

South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has established 2 funds and plans to invest at least $1 billion into African investments outside South Africa, including R2.5bn ($213 million) in the current financial year to 31 March.

According to South Africa’s Finance Minister Nhlanhla Musa Nene, who is also Chairman of the PIC: “True to the GEPF mandate which requires that we commit 5% of assets under management (AuM) on the African continent, the PIC acted accordingly in the past year. That commitment stands. We have established 2 funds, namely: Africa Developmental Investments and Private Equity Africa, which will assist us to discharge our client-given mandate to invest on the rest of the continent. The commitment to invest in the rest of the continent is born out of a realization that our collective success is premised on economic integration.

South Africa's Finance Minister - Nhlanhla Muse Nene

South Africa’s Finance Minister – Nhlanhla Muse Nene

Acting CEO Matshepo More

Acting CEO Matshepo More

“More importantly, the African economic narration has been positively changing. Over the last decade, the continent’s economic output has tripled, while it is projected that Sub-Saharan Africa will grow at an average of 5% in the coming decade. This growth means that the continent will be the second fastest growing region in the world after Asia. For this reason, the PIC will, in the new financial year, also focus on developmental investments in Africa with a minimum commitment of $500m for developmental investments in Africa and a further $500m towards private equity in Africa. The African story presents the PIC with unique investment opportunities and we are fully aware that part of this strategy should be to grab opportunities in Africa and reap rewards in a manner that promotes inclusive growth and creates decent work for the people of Africa.”

Earlier PIC had established the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund with a target size of $1bn and attracting $625m of investments in its first year, and set up Harith Fund Managers to manage it.

R1.6trn of assets
The total PIC AuM came to R1.6 trillion ($136bn) according to the annual report for the year to 31 Mar 2014, tabled in Parliament last October. Strong listed equity performance helped boost returns to well ahead of benchmarks (including consumer price index + 3%), and AuM were up from R1.4trn the year before and R1.19trn in Mar 2012 and around R83bn in 1994. Nearly 90% of its assets are from the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), with the rest from the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the Compensation Commissioner Fund and other clients.

Asset allocation at 31 Mar 2014 (NB the annual report also gives contradictory figures on p71):
Asset class %
Local equity 49.11
Local bonds 32.42
Cash & money market 7.12
Properties 4.39
Offshore equity 3.64
Offshore bonds 1.72
Africa equity (ex-SA) 0.5
Isibaya 1.1

African investments
The unlisted investments portfolio is divided into developmental investments, private equity and properties. The annual report separates “Africa” from South Africa and the “Africa” developmental investments are focused on energy, transport and logistics, social and infrastructure, water and ICT; private equity to focus on “consumer-driven sectors, other sectors will be viewed opportunistically” and properties are retail, industrial and offices.

The African investment portfolio outside South Africa was valued at R7.9bn ($672m) at 31 Mar and the largest purchase during 2013/14 was $289m for a 1.5% stake in Nigerian listed cement firm Dangote Cement. The first African investment was a stake in Ecobank Transnational Incorporated Ltd.

Development impact
The PIC also has a strong commitment to investments in economic infrastructure, environmental sustainability, social infrastructure, priority sector (high labour intensive sectors), Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) mostly in South Africa. According to the Minister: “During the 2013/14 financial year, R11.4bn worth of unlisted investments were approved, of which R4.8bn have already been disbursed. The impact on social returns was significant:
• In excess of 7,805 jobs (directly and indirectly) were created and 78,636 jobs were sustained
• 309 SMMEs have been funded and underwent entrepreneurship training
• The PIC is emerging as a leader in the development of green industries by directly and indirectly funding renewable energy projects that will generate in excess of 1,558 megawatts of electricity.”
The PIC is also supporting black asset managers through training as part of a BEE (black economic empowerment) incubator programme for South Africa’s asset management industry and has entrusted some R50bn of assets to 12 firms. It is also supporting transformation of stockbroking and said it paid 86% of brokerage fees to brokers that met Level 4 or better BEE as classified by the Department of Trade and Industry, and aims to pay 50% of all brokerage to Level 2 or better firms in the current year.

Acting CEO Ms Matshepo More (previously Chief Financial Officer, the previous CEO Elias Masilela resigned on 31 May 2014) said that “developmental” unlisted investments in the year came to R6.9bn and in the current year to Mar 2015 it will invest at least another R2bn in “social and economic infrastructure”.

Profit was R209m (up from R130m in 2013) and 1% of profit after tax is set aside for corporate social responsibility. It has a Corporate Governance and Proxy Voting Policy outlining its shareholder activism and is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact and the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing. One example was blocking takeover of listed pharmaceutical company Adcock Ingram by Chilean company CFR “to unlock value using local talent and also to preserve jobs”.

The PIC annual report was reported in South Africa’s Business Day in January and on South Africa Info in October 2014 and the last annual report can be obtained here.

Johannesburg Stock Exchange scores record with 395,969 equity trades in one day

Johannesburg Stock Exchange (credit: JSE)

Johannesburg Stock Exchange (credit: JSE)

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (www.jse.co.za) equity market scored a record number of 395,969 securities trades on 16 October. The total value was just over R24.6 billion ($2.2 bn).

The previous record of one day’s trading on the JSE Equity Market was just under 300,000 trades on, but the average number of trades per day during 2014 is approximately 176,000 per day on the equity market.

Leanne Parsons: Director Trading and Market Services at the JSE, says in a press release that the JSE’s trading systems handled the large number of transactions without any difficulty: “Records like this show that the JSE continues to provide a stable, credible and world class trading platform as well as access to a very liquid market with deep pools of capital.”

The JSE offers a fully electronic, efficient and secure market and is the world’s best-regulated exchange. It has world-class trading and clearing systems, settlement assurance and risk management. It has been a marketplace for trading financial products for 125 years, connecting buyers and sellers in equity, derivative and debt markets and is in the world top 20 exchanges for market capitalisation and a member of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE).

Africa’s securities exchanges and their part in Africa’s future

“How can African exchanges become an integral part of the continent’s economic transformation?” This is the challenge from Sunil Benimadhu, President of the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA www.african-exchanges.org), at the flagship conference in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, earlier this month. It is a good agenda for action by Africa’s securities exchanges in 2014.
Benimadhu asks how the stock exchanges can “become powerful enablers and powerful drivers of change”; how they can “empower the middle-class, democratize the economy and help overcome poverty”; and how capital markets can “effectively provide the much-needed capital for corporate funding, but also the funding of governments’ social programmes in Africa?”
He identified 4 “S”s for securities exchanges:

S is for synergy
“There is a fundamental need for African stock exchanges to establish strong synergies with the other clusters within the financial services sector, like the banking sector, the insurance sector, the asset-management industry, the pension-fund industry, and work towards the emergence of an integrated approach to the development of the financial services sector in Africa. African exchanges have, for too long, been considered as mere appendages to the mainstream financial services clusters, when in effect they should have occupied a central position within the financial services spectrum, as clearly evidenced by successful financial centres in the world.”

S is support
Governments and policy-makers in Africa need “to understand the fundamental transformational role of capital markets to the socioeconomic fabric of African economies. Governments need to be fully supportive of the development of vibrant capital markets and they need to adopt policies that are conducive to the development of efficient and competitive markets.” Benimadhu cites Singapore, whose success began with a “direct interventionist approach of the Singaporean Government which made a clear statement about its vision to transform Singapore into an international financial centre and adopted policies that were fully supportive of the stated vision.” He points out how Singapore’s capital markets have contributed immensely to the transformation of the country’s economy into a world star. He added that Africa’s most successful companies should support the African stock exchanges by listing and contributing to market growth.

S is scope
African securities exchanges should “move up the value-chain and extend the scope of products and services they offer”. He acknowledges the short-term challenge is still the flotation and listing of new, valuable and liquid companies, but adds: “the short-to-medium term target implies a fundamental review of the exchange business model and the diversification of revenue streams via a strategic shift from the current equity-centric focus. New products including bonds, exchange-traded funds, structured products and eventually derivatives need to be introduced.”

S – substance
“Substance is about the ability of African Stock Exchanges to demonstrate that they have created value for the different stakeholders they service, namely issuers, investors and society as a whole.” Benimadhu says exchanges need to show how they have enabled existing issuers to raise capital to fund their growth and to create value for their shareholders and this will help bring new issuers to the market. “The substantive contributions of African Exchanges on both these counts are quite compelling and I think that these strengths need to be aggressively marketed by African exchanges to attract new issuers and broaden our product offerings.”
It is also important for African stock exchanges to improve their image and marketing to investors: “African exchanges need to demonstrate that they operate in a cost-effective and transparent manner, that information on listed scrips are readily and timeously available and that exchanges offer products that can potentially generate attractive returns to investors.
“With regards to society, exchanges should demonstrate that they can contribute to the democratization of the economy, create wealth for the citizens of a nation, contribute to the job-creation process, improve corporate governance and finally contribute to the overall well-being of a society from both a quantitative as well as a qualitative perspective.”

Panels at the conference included government support to the development of vibrant capital markets in Africa; how exchanges can generate substance and value for issuers, helping issuers tell their story right and endorsing effective communication strategies; and listening to issuers and investors on how African exchanges have added value to each.

Botswana Stock Exchange launches automated trading

Months of hard work came to a climax when the Botswana Stock Exchange successfully launched its automated trading system (ATS) and now has live trading. This replaces the open outcry trading system and the aim is to make the BSE more visible and trading more efficient. The exchange has been using a central securities depository (CSD) since 2008 and this was upgraded alongside the implementation of the ATS.
The ATS was installed by MillenniumIT, part of the London Stock Exchange Group, after a BWP8.8 million ($1.1m) contract. MillenniumIT also installed the CSD.
The new system was implemented on Friday 24 August. The day before, Thursday 23 August, was a trading holiday, while Friday was a settlement holiday with trades settling instead on 27 August. These holidays were meant to enable the BSE to transition from the old CSD system to the upgraded version.
There is still a key target to encourage more shareholders to dematerialize their paper certificates and register them in the CSD for ease of trading. According to the BSE Annual Report, 46% of all domestic company shares and 91% of foreign company shares were dematerialized by December 2011, and so was the first corporate bond. In the annual report Chairman Patrick O’Flaherty notes “Along with the implementation of the ATS, our CSD (Central Securities Depositories) system is also being upgraded. This will ensure that the trading, clearing and settlement infrastructure of the BSE remains state of the art”.
In 2011 the BSE recorded average daily turnover of BWP4.1m. The volume of shares traded in 2011 was 458.7m, up from 308.7m in 2010. Letshego Holdings did a ten-for-one share split in 2010 and Furnmart and G4s followed suit in 2011.

INTERVIEW WITH HIRAN MENDIS, CEO OF BOTSWANA STOCK EXCHANGE
ACMN: What has the market participants’ reactions to the ATS?
HM: The response has been very positive. Automated trading is a completely new development in our market, but all market participants, particularly the brokers, have embraced the development and have basically hit the ground running. The amount of enthusiasm in the market is very humbling for the BSE.

ACMN: Were there any problems in the implementation?
HM: Apart from the normal day-to-day challenges that form part of any project, there were no major challenges. As the BSE, we had to work extra hard throughout the lifetime of the project to bring all stakeholders together and make sure that everyone is on the same page; that everyone understands and embraces the primary objective of bringing our market to par with other regional and international giants. Overall, it has been an extremely demanding but very rewarding experience for all stakeholders.

ACMN: Have you seen an increase in trading volumes?
HM: It’s still too early to say. In the first 2 days, it was quiet; probably because the traders were being cautious with the new trading platform. But turnover has since jumped back to previous levels.

ACMN: Are brokers now connecting from their offices (wide area network)?
HM: The brokers have been connecting from their offices since 2008 and this setup is still being used, even with the ATS. The networks have so far been very cooperative as we have not had any outages. The links that we have been using for WAN connectivity since 2008 have been very stable. On average, we have experienced less than 10 hours of downtime per year since 2008. About half of this downtime happened outside of trading hours.

ACMN: Can you give some technical details about the ATS and the CSD and their integration?
HM: The ATS is a trading platform, primarily responsible for accepting client orders, as input by brokers, and matching those orders on set criteria to produce trades. CSD system acts as a back-end for the ATS, handling the registry function for the ATS, together with clearing and settlement of all trades that happen at the ATS. For a client to be able to trade through the ATS, then they need to open a CSD account first. Communication between the systems is on a real-time basis and as clients buy/sell shares, their CSD account balances are updated in real time. The ATS is able to trade equity, debt, ETFs (exchange-traded funds), and GDRs (global depository receipts). Instruments that are currently actively trading through the ATS/CSD are equities and ETFs. Plans to include bonds are underway and CFDs will follow in due course. Trading currently happens from 10:30 to 13:30. The first trading session is an opening auction, followed by regular trading, then an interim auction session, then another regular trading session, which is followed by a closing auction session, and finally a closing price cross session.

ACMN: What future steps are planned – such as increased data flows, remote membership of BSE and direct market access?
HM: At this point we are more concerned with ensuring that that system continues to function according to expectations. Once the dust has settled and all stakeholders are comfortable with the system then the BSE will begin exploring availing market data in real-time to data vendors etc. After that, as a second phase of the automation drive, we will explore the possibility of Internet trading. As the BSE, we understand and appreciate that a wide spectrum of developments are now possible with an automated market. Funds and time permitting, we will build services around the CSD/ATS systems in order to turn our market into a true global player.

JSE stock exchange unveils new Africa strategy

This morning (2 April) South Africa’s securities exchange, the JSE Ltd, announced a revised strategy to attract more listings from African countries, as they say international interest in investing into the continent’s growth story continues to soar. The JSE is closing its Africa Board and moving the 2 listed companies onto the Main Board (listing requirements for the Africa Board are the same as for the Main Board) or to Alt-X if they are growth companies. The JSE is also stepping up trading in depository receipts (DRs) and offering a broader range of exchange-traded funds and debt instruments.
Siobhan Cleary, Director of Strategy and Public Policy at the JSE, said in a press release: “The JSE’s existing African offering includes 12 African companies. In future, there will be no differentiation (for listing purposes). For equities, this will mean that we will list the companies on the Main Board or AltX as applicable. We will also actively market and profile the African companies that are already listed.”
She says the move is driven by demand for capital and also by the increasing supply of capital from investors. African consumer markets are increasingly being targeted by local companies and companies from overseas, including a growing wave of foreign direct investment activity. Other very active channels for investments are private equity funds, hedge funds and other investors. “We think it is time that stock exchanges started to play an appropriate role in channelling the investments.”
In October 2011 South Africa’s National Treasury announced that companies previously viewed as foreign listings would in future be treated as domestic and this makes it easier for South Africans to invest in JSE-listed African stocks and makes it easier for foreign companies to raise capital. South African institutions will apparently be able to include JSE listed companies among their domestic asset holdings. Second, the JSE has developed good relations with several stock exchanges on the continent through the African Stock Exchanges Association and the Committee of SADC Stock Exchanges. Third, there are increasing investment flows into the continent’s markets and more funds focused on the region, seen as high growth compared to many world markets.
Nathan Mintah, Chairman of the JSE’s Africa Advisory Committee, commented: “This evolution in JSE’s strategy is a step in the right direction in the quest to increase capital flows into the rest of Africa. Offering issuers and investors the ‘whole JSE’ market platform for access to instruments across the capital structure in equities, mezzanine, and fixed income combined with the JSE’s liquidity will clearly benefit all stakeholders and serve as a catalyst for product innovation in areas such as exchange traded products for the rest of Africa.”
The JSE is diversifying the instrument range it offers investors from the rest of the continent. Cleary says: “We already have four interest-rate instruments from the rest of the continent, as well as an African exchange-traded product. We will give increased focus to listing further debt and quasi-equity products in future. These will also include DRs, which are traded like shares and offer investors the same economic, corporate and voting rights as holding underlying shares directly. DRs enable issuers to reach investors located outside their home markets while reducing the risk of cross-border investment.” The JSE altered its listing requirements last year to accommodate DRs, which will provide a way for African companies to raise capital on the JSE without requiring a secondary listing. DRs are applicable for African companies regardless of whether they have an existing listing on an African exchange or any other exchange. Freely traded in South African Rands, this will allow African companies to market themselves to both South African and international investors.
Cleary says there is a pipeline of companies interested and she expects more African listings this year. The JSE is competing with international exchanges such as London and New York for key listings, and also with Australia and Toronto for mining listings. Recently Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote said (see article in Financial Times, for instance) he would take the $11bn Dangote Cement for a London listing in 2013, and last year Zambia’s Zambeef also opted for London.
The two listings on the JSE Africa Board, launched in February 2009, were Trustco from Namibia and Wilderness Safaris from Botswana. The JSE says both prefer to be ranked with their sector peers and in industry sectors. Quinton van Rooyen, Trustco Group MD, commented: “This repositioning of Trustco allows the company, whilst keeping its African identity, to be benchmarked against its peers, on a world-class platform. This can only be beneficial to Trustco and the extensive African investment community.” The JSE is also pledging roadshows and analyst events to highlight the African companies from outside South Africa.
The JSE believes that its approach provides a workable solution to the sometimes complex issue of investment on the continent. The JSE’s approach also contributes to the development of markets within their own economies. Cleary added: “There is an opportunity for the JSE to work with these exchanges and various development institutions to build capacity on the continent. It also gives the JSE the opportunity to evolve its Africa strategy. This has meant looking critically at what issuers – companies, governments and others – from the rest of the continent are looking for, and aligning their needs with the JSE’s objectives,” says Cleary.

JSE boosts net profit by 22% for first half

South Africa’s JSE Ltd stock exchange (www.jse.co.za) reported a 22% increase in net profit after tax to R253.8 million (US$35.8 m) for the six months to June 2011. This is driven by a 7% increase in revenue combined with controlled operating costs and the group declared a special dividend of 210c/share.
CEO Russell Loubser said in a press release: “All divisions of the JSE reported an increase in revenue in the first half of 2011, with particularly strong performances from the cash equities, commodity derivatives and currency derivatives markets. This revenue growth, combined with lower operating expenses, indicates a better performance. We also retained the focus on our major strategies.”
The JSE says it offers investors “a truly first-world trading environment, with world-class technology, surveillance and settlement in an emerging market context. It is amongst the top 20 largest equities exchanges in terms of market capitalisation in the world.”

Sources of revenue

The JSE gets its revenue from different activities:
Issuer services –This division handles company and debt listings and revenue climbed, 6% to R48.8 m (H1 2010: R45.8 m). In the first six months of 2011, 5 companies listed on the bourse, compared to 6 in the first half of 2010. Loubser said: “Though there is a listings pipeline, potential issuers remain hesitant about the current economic environment. This is in line with the experience of other World Federation of Exchanges members.” (www.world-exchanges.org).
Equity market – The number of trades climbed 5% and value traded increased 4% pushing total equities revenue up 8% to R371.7 m (H1 2010: R344.5 m).
Equity derivatives market – Revenue rose 5% to R55.9 m (H1 2010: R53.3 m) as a 4% dip in the number of contracts traded was countered by a 12% rise in value traded. Loubser said: “This year, the equities derivatives team has worked hard to encourage trading of single-stock futures on the central order book, which we believe is key in unlocking larger volumes and attracting international players. There was also strong growth in index derivatives and bespoke products traded on-exchange.”
Currency derivatives market – Revenue climbed 44% to R7.2 m, attributed to a change in the billing model to stimulate trade, a wider range of instruments traded and the introduction of bespoke, on-market products. Currency derivatives are a small but growing portion of group revenue.
Commodity derivatives – revenue grew by 15% to R23.6 m (H1 2010: R20.6 m) largely due to increased trade. Loubser explained: “Local maize and wheat contracts continue to make up most of the trade in this market, but the trade of foreign-referenced instruments under licence from the CME Group continues to rise.”
Interest rate market – Strong secondary trade figures resulted in a 16% revenue growth to R19 m (H1 2010: R16.4 m).
Information product sales – Data sales to existing clients contracted, both locally and internationally, but revenue grew 4% to R61.1 m as the team continues to grow its base of international clients.

Special dividend
The special dividend is to be paid because the exchange has sufficient cash reserves for its current needs. It sets aside cash to fund operations, guarantee central order book equities trades, maintain infrastructure and meet capital needs for expansion. Loubser said: “Testing of the new equities back office system is progressing well and the new system is set to be implemented in 2012. As the capital expenditure for this project comes to an end.. the Directors have declared a special dividend of 210 cents per share”. The dividend will be paid out on 12 September.
In the last six months, the JSE has:
• Completed the integration of the interest-rate market trading platforms so that there is now a single platform for trading.
• Delivered the first phase of the remote disaster recovery site
• Made good progress in implementing the new state-of-the-art data centre which is scheduled to be completed before year end.

Revolution at Egyptian Exchange – innovations to boost liquidity

The Egyptian Exchange (www.egyptse.com) is to introduce new products and trading innovations, including remote orders placed abroad, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), intraday trades and short selling. Mohamed Abdel Salam, chairman of the Exchange, told Reuters that transparency was up and political uncertainty was down in Egypt since the political uprising that overthrew former president Hosni Mubarak and this is bringing more investor confidence.
The trading changes had been delayed as the political mandate of the old government decreased. Some innovations could be introduced in July and talks on remote orders are to resume with the London Stock Exchange (www.londonstockexchange.com) on 20 June.
Mohamed Abdel Salam told Reuters in an interview on 13 June: “There are indicators that show the market is improving because of the revolution. First, it reduced political risk. In the past, things were vague. If the president were to die, would his son take over, or would the army? Many people have started trusting us now, and we are also trying to reduce transaction costs on foreign investors … so I think we will now introduce short-selling and intraday trade in the first days of July.”
He said that companies had been on time in publishing quarterly results, indicating the effects of the revolution on their earnings, and this improved the country’s credibility. In addition, since the changes institutional investors had become more prominent: “The market is becoming more stable, because institutional investors have begun to outnumber individual investors, who used to cause sharp market moves by their emotional trading.” Egypt is one of the African exchanges with very many active local individual shareholders.
He said the aim of the changes is to bring new energy into the exchange: “Egypt’s market is in need of new blood to be pumped in; it needs new products … It is unarguable that this is a main way to increase liquidity and volume.” Previously there had been moves to introduce short selling in 2008 but this had not been introduced in 2010 as scheduled.

Remote orders with FIX
The Egyptian Exchange aims to allow investors to place orders from abroad although trading would still have to be executed through a local broker. Investors could use the Financial Information eXchange (FIX) protocol (www.fixprotocol.org) to place orders and secure the details until the transaction was completed by the broker. The first link was due to be introduced via London in mid-2010, reports the agency, followed by links to centres in the Gulf. The Chairman said the delays had been caused by technical problems at the LSE and talks would resume this week on 20 June.
Another plan is for dual-listings with exchanges such as Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait. Abdel Salam said: “There are Gulf companies that expressed a desire to enrol in the Egyptian stock exchange but I cannot disclose names now.” Several exchanges have been vying to form the centre of Arab trading.
Commodity trading in gold could be established through a fund and talks are on with Egypt’s Chamber of Metallurgical Industries. The Chairman said: “We want to introduce a new way to trade gold called ETC, standing for Exchange Traded Commodities; this should facilitate trading of raw gold, and Egypt is a strategic gold producer, so we should make use of it.”
The Egyptian Exchange was closed from 27 January to 23 March after the popular uprising and it faced turbulence and pent-up demand when it did open. The benchmark EGX 30 Index closed on 13 June at 5,550.22, down 17.5% since the revolution although the trend has been positive since a low of 4,850.41 on 8 May.

Wind of change blows world markets, African stock exchanges unruffled

I have the honour to be published on the opinions section of the Royal African Society website and the article can be seen along with their excellent blogs here. I also reprint the article, which is meant to spark debate, and I welcome your comments – is it time for change and what is the way forward?

“The wind of change” was Harold Macmillan’s famous 1960 phrase about Africans moving to political self-determination. Half a century later the world’s biggest securities exchanges are worrying who will survive a hurricane of globalization, technology and competition, but some of Africa’s capital markets still seem sheltered from the economic winds of change.
The giants of securities trading are slugging it out in a wave of mergers and acquisitions and London Stock Exchange (LSE) chief executive Xavier Rolet said: “In five years there will be three, four international exchange groups with global distribution capabilities”.
In the world of mega-bourses the LSE launched a £4.3 billion merger with Canada’s TMX Group of exchanges but a “Maple consortium” of Canadian financial institutions has launched a hostile bid, seeking to block the marriage. New York’s NYSE Euronext and Germany’s Deutsche Börse want a $9.5 bn union, but US stock exchange NASDAQ and its partner IntercontinentalExchange are offering $11.3 bn to snatch the New York bride. NASDAQ is reportedly worth $5.7 bn and worried it may become a takeover target if it stays single. Many other leading exchanges are busy with strategic transactions.
Africa however has not seen much change at least in the last decade. Some of Africa’s stock exchanges are making a few operational changes, but structural transformation is not on the agenda. The continent has a couple of world-class stock exchanges – in 2010 South Africa was rated the world’s best-regulated capital market – and three or four better exchanges with enough liquidity for international and big local institutional investors. The rest of the continent features a small regional exchange and more than 15 national stock exchanges where activity could drop to a few deals a day and liquidity is too small for the market to work efficiently or provide scope for minimum transactions for international investors. Some don’t even open their doors every working day.
Stock exchanges and securities markets evolved worldwide as the most efficient way to channel capital from savers to entrepreneurs, governments and others who can use it most productively, i.e. profitably. Savers with capital are more than eager to invest billions of dollars into Africa, dubbed the “final growth frontier” for its vast opportunities and favourable pricing. Meanwhile in Africa, entrepreneurs and governments are calling for billions in capital to build roads, rail, power, water and telecommunications/IT infrastructure up and down the continent and to transform farmlands, build industries and hopefully improve livelihoods sustainably through business.
Nationalist politics and comfort zones are among the factors holding back African securities exchanges, which have traditionally been seen as national institutions. Sovereignty has been more highly prized than liquidity and efficiency. In 2009 South Africa’s JSE Ltd sought to acquire a stake in the Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM) after two years of talks, but regulators blocked it. Nationalism about stock exchanges is not just an African concern, it is currently in the news in Canada and Australia.However, now technology is available to transform exchanges without losing national regulation or denting pride.
Some African exchanges are improving their own operations fast. The two NSEs – the Nigerian and Nairobi stock exchanges – have taken stern measures to improve governance, regulation and transparency. In Nigeria this included a morning in August 2010 with armed police on the Lagos trading floor after regulators fired the Director-General. Other exchanges such as Mauritius Stock Exchange (SEM) are noted for continuous improvements and innovation. However, only the Egyptian Exchange, the JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) and SEM have attained the exalted membership of the World Federation of Exchanges.
In some countries trading in debt is improving faster than equity markets. Kenya’s NSE launched effective automated bond trading, backed by much improved settlement, and trading volumes and liquidity are soaring. The Government is responding with a deft series of issues that balance the domestic market and stretch it with long-dated 25- and 30-year bonds. Better maturity in the national fixed-income market enables lenders to offer locals long-term housing and other finance with paybacks over decades rather than a few years. Electricity company Kengen, telecoms operator Safaricom and others have raised hundreds of millions of dollars through bond issues, many aimed only at local savers. The overall effect on the economy is likely to be huge.
But change is coming slow to some African exchanges where liquidity is too small and action too slow. International investors complain that many don’t have enough trading to accommodate the minimum buy or sell amounts required and they lament the quality of market and business information and transparency. Coupled with the operational problems and uncertainties that dog local and international businessmen in many African countries, some are still “off the map” for investment.
London, New York and other international stock exchanges benefit if companies and bond issuers seek listings and cross-listings internationally in order to get closer to investors and sources of capital and because efficient marketplaces make their capital raisings more attractive to investors. London has a tradition as the world’s capital marketplace and the LSE’s Main Market lists 18 equities for trading that focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. In 1995 the exchange created the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) as an international marketplace for smaller, growing companies seeking growth capital, including early-stage and venture-capital, as well as more established companies. Sub-Saharan Africa scores 55 out of 3,000 listings, mostly mining firms, but also farming, finance and machinery.
NYSE Euronext Inc says trading in 16 African equities listed on its New York and European stock exchanges has boomed. Stefan Jekel, managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, says main activity stems from South Africa but interest in Africa is growing: “The volume (number of shares) traded has increased by factor of 12 over the last ten years to 7.9m shares, and the value is up by a factor of 21 times to $204m per day”.
London is to the fore when it comes to international Eurobond issues as African countries rush to issue sovereign debt and benefit while world interest rates are rock-bottom. Interest is also growing in African derivatives such as Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) available on London, New York and other international markets and one or two African markets. NYSE says the number doubled in 2009 to ten ETFs, six in Europe and four in New York, and they have over $1bn in assets.
It is an historic opportunity for Africa’s capital market structures. However much national exchanges improve, they need radical restructuring to create liquid and more efficient markets or they will be blown off the map by the winds of change.
Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972) and many others transformed the continent driven by their vision of a mighty Africa that grew strong by unshackling the borders that colonial powers had drawn on maps. The African Union is founded to achieve regional and economic integration for Africa to take its rightful place in the world. Capital markets have an opportunity in that technology and proven models exist for African stock exchanges to pool trading while still maintaining national exchanges and regulation and being adaptable to meet local requirements.
Sunil Benimadhu, President of the African Securities Exchanges Association and CEO of SEM said in November 2010 that world investors see the continent as “a very promising investment destination with tremendous present and future growth potential”. African countries have achieved growth rates exceeding 5% in recent years after embracing fundamental structural reform programmes. The growth is set to continue but it must be fuelled with capital, skills and improvements in the investment and business climate.
African capital markets have an opportunity and a challenge.

Tom Minney is a consultant, speaker, financial journalist and editor of the blog www.africancapitalmarketsnews.com