Archive for the 'Media' Category

Tech will drive African IPOs

Telecoms, e-commerce and technology will be the driving force behind many of Africa’s coming initial public share offers (IPOs) as the continent’s telecom, media and technology (TMT) sector continues to grow fast. Ben Nice, editor of specialist news provider TMT Finance, says in a press release: “Despite global volatility, regional macroeconomic uncertainty, and a rout on commodity prices, recent forecasts are predicting that the next 12 months could see a rebound with IPOs set to reach their highest levels in Africa since 2010, and several TMT companies looking likely to float in 2016 and 2017.

Africa Internet Group (AIG) – which runs the Jumia ecommerce brand – just raised a further EUR75 million ($84m) from Orange, in addition to the recent EUR300m ($338m) from investors including Goldman Sachs, MTN and Rocket Internet. The company is the first real African tech unicorn and we understand that it will be targeting an IPO (initial public offer) by 2017, and is also on the hunt for a new CFO. Orange Egypt (formerly Mobinil) is also preparing to list shares in Cairo to fund US$3.2bn investment into infrastructure, and IHS Towers, the Lagos-based mobile tower operator, is also expected to float over the next 12 to 24 months.”

Other African tech which may bring IPOs in the near and medium term include: Dark Fibre Africa of South Africa, Nigerian payment services provider InterSwitch, Africa’s largest independent fibre operator Liquid Telecom, and South African media company Primedia. According to a previous news story, Interswitch may scoop the prize (and publicity) as Africa’s first tech unicorn, as it is working on a London and Lagos IPO for Q2-Q4 and could be worth at or close to $1bn.

AIG, which was founded in 2012 and now operates in 23 countries with 71 companies, is said to be planning an IPO by 2017. Jumia e-commerce is present in 11 countries and linked to online and mobile consumer services such as Kaymu (shopping), hellofood (food delivery), Jovago (hotel booking) and classified ads Vendito (general merchandise), Lamudi (real estate), Everjobs (jobs) and Carmudi (vehicles).

Orange Egypt, rebranded from Mobinil in March, is preparing an IPO for the Egyptian Exchange, with an offering of up to 20% of the shares. It has 33.4m customers and is Egypt’s second biggest operator after Vodafone. In March it announced Orange intended to invest EGP2.5bn ($281.5m) into upgrading networks and services.

IHS Towers, based in Lagos and owner of over 23,300 mobile phone towers in Nigeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia and Rwanda, is expected to float shares within 12-24 months. In December, chief executive and founder Issam Darwish said it would be “the biggest IPO ever in Africa”.

Next week on 14 June, over 200 industry and finance executives, including African telecom CEOs, private equity investors and leading international bankers and advisers, are meeting in London to talk investments at the 7th annual TMT Finance & Investment Africa 2016 conference. Sessions include: Africa telecom leadership; TMT M&A; broadband investment; mobile towers; raising finance for Africa TMT; datacentres Africa; private equity Africa; mobile money and M-Commerce; and digital Africa. Speakers include leaders from Millicom, Google, IHS, Helios, Eaton Towers, Avanti Communications, BNP Paribas, Citi, UBS, Standard Bank, IFC, the World Bank, TransferTo, Icolo, Bima, Dentons and Hardiman Telecommunications.

Tech wizards to IPO (from www.africainternetgroup.com)

Tech wizards to IPO (from www.africainternetgroup.com)

Africa’s top bankers honoured at award ceremony

The best in African banking was celebrated recently at the 6th edition of the African Banker Awards, under the patronage of the African Development Bank (www.afdb.org) and African Banker magazine (www.africasia.com/africanbanker). The awards highlight outstanding talent and achievement in Africa’s financial sector. Top African Ministers of Finance, central bank governors, bank CEOs, senior executives and others gathered in Arusha, Tanzania in the shadow of Mt Meru and Mt Kilimanjaro.
There was a moving moment when Ecobank CEO, Arnold Ekpe, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the founder and chairman of IC Publications, (publisher of African Banker), Afif Ben Yedder. Ekpe was given a standing ovation. Ecobank, based in Togo and spread across Africa, beat strong challengers to emerge as the Bank of the Year. There were more cheers when Dr Eleni Gabre-Madhin, founder and CEO of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, was named as African Banker Icon 2012.
Olusegun Agbaje, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, Nigeria was awarded the prize for African Banker of the year by Tim Turner, Director of the Private Sector Operations of the AfDB.
The Best Regional Bank winners from each of the five regions of Africa were: Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco for North Africa; BGFI, Gabon for Central Africa; Bank of Kigali, Rwanda for East Africa; Access Bank, Nigeria for West Africa; and BCI, Mozambique for Southern Africa- thus highlighting Africa’s diversity but strength as one continent.
IC Publisher Omar ben Yedder said: “We have recognized some superb individuals and institutions tonight. Africa’s financial sector is a major vehicle for driving the economic growth that has become the talk of the investor community around the world. We have honoured individuals who are prepared to take the bull by the horn, to carry out well thought out visions and who have raised the bar and in some cases taken difficult decisions to deliver on their agenda. Good examples are the Central Bank Governor of Tunisia and the Finance Minister of Guinea. The winners this year represent a good mix between francophone and Anglophone Africa, big and small countries. They reflect the achievements in banking and finance all over Africa.”
The African Banker Awards are organised by African Banker magazine, IC Events and BusinessinAfrica Events.
African Banker was launched in 2007 and is the only pan-African magazine dedicated to banking on the continent and is published in French and in English. It has become an essential tool of the people and institutions that pull the strings in Africa’s banking and finance industries.

Declaration of Interest: I am a judge of the African Banker Awards 2012 and 2011 and I also write for African Banker magazine.

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Stock Exchange news worldwide

I recently found an interesting resource on stock exchange news, covering some of the same aspects – such as development of market structures including links, back offices, technology and mergers – that this blog aims to cover. It is the Trading Room section of the UK’s Financial Times newspaper and website, and here is its address: http://www.ft.com/trading-room.
This is how it describes itself:
“The FT Trading Room is all about one thing: market structures. It’s a dry-sounding phrase but it encompasses one of the most dynamic and important parts of the financial world that it likely to affect banks, brokers, exchanges, clearing houses, settlement systems, asset managers and – let’s not forget – the ordinary investing public for years to come.
Whether you are interested in high-frequency trading, trading technology, the “flash crash”, the Mifid review in Europe, equities fragmentation in Asia, OTC derivatives, clearing, T2S, the Dodd-Frank act and the European Commission’s equivalent reforms, it’s all here on FT Trading Room, a new section of FT.com offering a single source of intelligence for the global community at the heart of all these developments from New York to Mumbai, London to São Paolo.
It is supported by the FT’s unmatched global network of correspondents and is edited in London by Jeremy Grant, who has focused on trading, exchanges, clearing and financial regulation in his previous FT assignments in Chicago and Washington, DC.”
Recent hot stories include: the US$8.3 billion takeover bid by Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) for Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), part of competition for China’s Hong Kong Stock Exchange as more of the world’s trading volumes move to Asia; the career of Swede Magnus Bocker who built the Nordic OMX exchanges group and then merged with Nasdaq in 2008; and technology upgrades. There is still some room to increase coverage of African stock exchanges.