Archive for the 'Morocco' Category

DPI private equity fund raises $400m

A leading African private equity house Development Partners International (www.dpi-llp.com) has reached the first close of its second pan-African African Development Partners II (ADP II) fund at over $400 million. According to authoritative website Private Equity Africa, the fund has raised over $250 million in equity commitments from Limited Partners and $150million in debt from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).
Equity LPs in the fund include the CDC Group, which upped its $25m ADP I investment to $75m in the new fund , according to PEA . DPI’s first fund raised approximately $400m.
ADP II fund is structured as a 10-year Guernsey Limited Partnership. Its final close will be at $500m. DPI’ chief executive officer is Runa Alam and its portfolio companies operate in 18 African countries.
Similar to ADP I, the new fund is pursuing a broadly diversified strategy across Africa. The DPI managers have particular interest in finance, healthcare, education, construction, and consumer goods sectors although they can invest generally, reports PEA.
DPI has a track record in the high-growth fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, including investing in Nigeria’s Food Concepts, which operates consumer food retail outlets under the brands Chicken Republic and Butterfield Bakery; South Africa’s Libstar, a holding company; and in 2013 a deal to back Biopharm, a pharmaceutical company in Algeria.
Financial services investments include Letshego Holdings, a financial services company based in Botswana; Nigeria’ s Mansard Insurance, previously Guaranty Trust Assurance; and Ghana’s CAL Bank. Previously DPI had invested in Touax Africa, which is holding company for leasing firms Ste Auxiliaire de Construction de Montage et d’Industrie (Sacmi) and Réalisations Aménagements Constructions (Ramco), both based in Morocco.
Other investments include pan-African telecommunications tower-sharing services company Eaton Towers and OSEAD, a North-Africa focused mining exploration company.
DPI LLP was founded in 2007 and is based in London. Veteran Africa investor Miles Morland was co-founding partner with Alam and is also chairman of DPI.

FTSE Group working on Pan-Africa index with African Securities Exchanges Association

Dateline – Marrakech
FTSE (www.ftse.com) is working on a FTSE-ASEA index with the African Securities Exchanges Association (www.africansea.org), which will help to unlock Africa an investment for larger portfolio investors. According to Imogen Dillon Hatcher, Executive Director, FTSE Group, speaking at the ASEA conference in Marrakech, Morocco, on 12 Dec, the index will make clear how much Africa is outperforming the rest of the world: “A ‘back-cast’ of the FTSE Africa index performs better than FTSE world index by quite a margin”. The index covers stocks on 16 exchanges and is adjusted for investibility, including free float and liquidity.
She said that FTSE Group was restructured on 12 Dec, with the London Stock Exchange Group buying out the 50% share owned by Pearson, owner of the Financial Times newspaper, “as of this morning”. The buyout transaction is set to close in the first quarter of 2012. FTSE calculates and manages over 200,000 indices worldwide, which are linked to over $3 trillion in global assets under management. These include the widely-used global benchmark, the FTSE All-World Index. She said FTSE is the top index group worldwide: “FTSE is known as a partner around the word, FTSE works with you to unlock the investment potential that is your market.” As markets mature, broader ranges of investible tools are needed including a reliable index that can promote the development of a wider range of investment products, including exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
The group had a strong commitment to Africa and already been working with South Africa’s JSE Ltd (www.jse.co.za) since 2002. In December 2010 they signed with the Casablanca SE (www.casablanca-bourse.com) to create FTSE CSE Morocco Index Series with two index products. On 8 November 2011 FTSE announced a partnership with the Nairobi Stock Exchange (www.nse.co.ke) to create new indices. FTSE NSE Kenya Index Series track the performance of the largest and most widely-traded stocks listed on Africa’s fourth oldest securities exchange.
Dillon Hatcher said FTSE China indices form the basis for $14 billion worth of ETFs, including giant funds by iShares. The group had worked to develop the indices with international and domestic managers including Xinhua Finance Ltd. She added: “We know something about building an index” and the ASEA index would “throw the light of transparency onto your markets”.
The work of developing the ASEA index had been led for over a year by Jonathan Cooper, Managing Director Middle East and Africa, working with a broad range of African exchanges. The target was to build an investible index, with clear and transparent rules and methodology. They started with all African companies; then filtered for those whose price information is available on Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters. They looked at securities types, adjusted for a minimum 15% free float (the proportion of shares potentially available for buyers) and did liquidity testing on the securities and then did country weightings. The index now covers 16 countries, which have securities which meet the requirements.
The new index will be reweighted twice a year. Dillon Hatcher added that FTSE would be working with a prospective client base to put forward this pan-Africa index: “We hope funds will come out of this and drive Africa as an investible destination, make sure the index stays fresh and make it sure it stays relevant, as the client base comes to us with ideas, such as sectoral indices.
She also explained how securities markets indices had evolved. It started as a general economic indicator, showing how share prices are moving as an indicator of investors’ expectations of business prospects. Then indices became a tool for benchmarking but were still simple measurement tools. From this they became an underlying framework for more passive asset management such as ETFs, and depending on market these could be simple or ever more complex, depending on the needs of organizations such as asset managers or investment banks. Eventually they would also develop into a tool to assess market risk, with much potential to get involved in top-end investment strategy, where “we are starting to blur the lines between passive and active management”.
She threw down the gauntlet to active managers “We would assert that over time it is very hard for an active manger to beat an index, we have done lots of work with academics.” She said indices bring market benefits including low-cost market access provided they are transparent, rules-based and useful. “All the name-brand indices have to be fit for purpose and they have to do a job. You know they will behave in a particular way.” At other meetings this author has heard exchanges have wondered about the future of securities markets when the volume and value of derivatives and ETFs traded far outweighs the trade in the actual shares.
Commenting on the transaction in which the LSE buys out Pearson, LSE CEO Xavier Rolet commented in a press release: “Fully aligning FTSE with one of the world’s most liquid and most international trading groups is an exciting opportunity. This transaction further delivers on our diversification strategy, expanding the London Stock Group’s existing offering deeper into indices, derivatives and market data products and services. This is a business we know well, and we expect that going forward our customers will directly benefit from greater choice, opportunity and innovation.”

African Stock Exchanges Association conference tackles key issues

The next step for Africa’s securities exchanges is critical for the continent’s development. There is a huge demand for capital to be put to productive use in what could be the world’s fastest-growing continent, with a dire need for fast growth to drive out poverty. There is also a tide of international risk capital, looking to fund that growth and share in the profits. Between the two are the capital markets, challenged to move fast to become liquid, transparent and effective.
Lots of these topics are on the agenda for The 15th Annual African Securities Exchange Association conference (www.aseaconference2011.ma) (in Marrakesh, Morocco), which looks to have an excellent agenda. Casablanca Stock Exchange is the host, the theme is “Africa, alive with opportunities!”
Top speakers include key opinion leaders such as Thomas Friedman, Mark Mobius and maybe Christine Lagarde of the IMF. Expect speeches from Sunil Benimadhu (Stock Exchange of Mauritius and chair of ASEA), Karim Hajji of the Casablanca bourse, leaders of African securities markets and top speakers from several world bourses including BM&F Bovespa, Istanbul, NASDAQ OMX and the London Stock Exchange, with India’s National Stock Exchange and NYSE Euronext to confirm. They will be joined by finance ministers, bankers, analysts, traders, investors and many more.
Topics on day 1 include
• “The financial crisis: Is there a pilot in the plane?” Top analysts, bankers and traders, possibly joined by a European Commissioner from the heart of the crisis
• The economic implications of the “Arab Spring” for the continent, featuring key Ministers who are rebuilding post-crisis countries, a strategist and others
Capital markets and BRICS (see previous story on stock exchange link-ups) – hear from CEOs and Executive Directors of key BRICS stock exchanges and Emergent Asset Management
Nursing Africa’s future IPOs: heads of top African stock exchanges from Mauritius to Morocco, via Ghana and maybe Nigeria, plus PAI Partners, a leading French private equity firm
• A new FTSE-ASEA African index.
Day 2 tackles
Regulation for cross-border development: Regulators from Morocco and the central African stock exchange, plus long-term Africa bull stockbroker Jonathan Auerbach
Cost-effective and scalable technology options for emerging markets exchanges – featuring Tony Weeresinghe of the LSE, Anne Ewing of NASDAQ and maybe Joseph Mecane of NYSE Euronext, 3 top suppliers of securities markets systems to the continent who hold many of the keys to the next stage of evolution.
• “What’s hot in Africa today?” with a host of top speakers from politics, consulting, banking, mining, economics and development finance covering energy, infrastructure, mining, industry, agribusiness and others.
OPINION: Please note the Day 2 morning topics address critical and urgent issues of how African stock exchanges can work across (colonial) borders to build liquid and effective markets, part of the grand process of African integration and building viable economies.
Expect participants from over 100 countries. The ASEA AGM and committee are on 11 Dec and the conference starts on 12 Dec. The official language is English with Arabic and French translations.
Unmissable! Book the conference here via the ASEA website (www.africansea.org).
Warning!! You may not want to come home. The conference is in Hotel Palmeraie Golf Palace & Spa. The conference website says: “As a backdrop, the majestic, silvery, sentry-like summits of the High Atlas stand out. At the foot of the mountain lies a beautiful city, built in red and surrounded by age-old palm trees. Monuments defying time form a string of pearls for her. An enticing labaryinth, created centuries ago, of old ramparts meanders along its slender “body”. In this fairy-tale decor, lies Marrakesh the legendary; Marrakesh the imperial, the pearl of the south, bathed by an invigorating sun all year round.”

Silk Invest says Egypt elections will be turning point

Mark Voss of fund manager Silk Invest (www.silkinvest.com) foresees a turning point for the Egyptian market in a recent note. He also notes growth in Tunisia, with companies back to pre-revolution levels, tourism boom in Morocco, giant growth in Ghana and telecom payments innovation in Kenya.
He says the company clearly sees value in the market, but the evolving politics has cast a cloud on investor sentimenty. “We believe this is now lifting as the country’s election commission chief announced a roadmap for parliamentary elections – and a crucial step in transitioning to civilian rule, from 21 November to 4 March 2012. This should also pave the way forward for the Presidential elections by early next year. Going forward, we suspect that this may mark a turning point in the market’s fortunes.” He adds that there is no shortage of lenders to help the country get back on its feet. He adds that core inflation was 6.9% in August from 8.7% in July and Suez Canal revenues climbed 8.5% year-on-year in August.
Also on the post-revolutionary theme, he looks at Tunisia and said it “continued its upward trend with many companies now back at their pre-Jasmine revolution price levels”. Tourism in Morocco was surging and by end of July was up nearly 10% year on year.
For the rest of Africa he pointed out that the IMF forecasts 13% GDP growth for Ghana this year and noted the Chinese gave a US$3 billion loan for further infrastructure developments. In Kenya: “interest rates were notched slightly up to help control inflation and reduce local currency volatility. Following an unexpected increase in harvested maize, food inflation in the country is expected to decline”. Telecoms innovation continues full speed in Kenya, as Airtel Kenya unveiled an online payment system enabling mobile subscribers to use handsets to make purchases online, while Safaricom and I&M Bank launched a service that allows M-pesa customers to transfer money from their accounts to a pre-paid visa card – which can be used globally.

Casablanca Stock Exchange grants to encourage SMEs

Morocco’s Casablanca Stock Exchange (www.casablanca-bourse.com) is offering grants to small and medium enterprises to encourage them to raise capital. It is offering up to 500,000 MAD (approximately $63,740 at current exchange rate for Moroccan Dirhams) from 1 July 2011 to 31 December 2012. According to an announcement on the bourse’s website, the offer is because of important role played by SMEs in the development of the Moroccan economy.
The grant is given under certain conditions and the SME must be listed on the stock exchange’s Growth or Development boards and have equity of less than 50 million MAD. It also needs to issue at least 20% of its capital and to use the IPO to raise capital. Normally the cost of an IPO is 2.2%-5% of the capital raised and the stock exchange says this can be a barrier to raising more capital.

First listing for 2011
STROC Industrie S.A. (www.stroc.com) on 30 June became the first new listing on the Casablanca Stock Exchange in 2011. The company had planned to offer 288,515 extra shares at MAD357.00 each, raising a total of MAD 102,999,855 ($13 mn), with the offer dates from 20-22 June. However the offer attracted 7,229 bids for a total of 2,515,369 shares, 8.7 times oversubscribed, and was closed on 21 June.
STROC joins the “Engineering and Industrial Equipment” sector. Société de Travaux de Réalisations d’Ouvrages et de Construction Industrielle was founded in 1989. Al Istimrar Holdings has 57.7% of the shares and Nabil Ziatt a further 14.6% while the free float on the stock exchange is 23.1%. The company said it chose to raise capital for its development through the capital market as part of its strategy to be open and transparent to its customers and the financial community. It will use the capital to expand its plant and equipment and build a new headquarters.

SANAD Fund to target SMEs in North Africa and Middle East

Tiny, small and medium businesses in Egypt and Tunisia, later Algeria and Morocco, are set to benefit from a new €30 million ($43.2 mn) SANAD Fund for MSME (www.sanad.lu). This was set up in August 2011 by German development bank KfW Entwicklungsbank with funding from the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Commission and will offer debt and equity financing to partner institutions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region that serve micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Other target countries include Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon and Jordan.
The fund is expected to attract further investments from public and private bodies. The partners who will help invest the money will be banks, microfinance institutions, financial service providers, leasing and factoring companies, guarantee funds or venture capital funds. The fund will also offer them technical help to build their skills and reach.
Development finance alternative asset manager Finance in Motion GmbH (www.finance-in-motion.com) and Oppenheim Asset Management Services S.à r.l. (www.oppenheim.lu) will manage the new fund which will be structured as a Luxembourg-based Specialized Investment Fund, SICAV-SIF, involving different share classes.
By facilitating access to finance in the region, SANAD – literally “support” in Arabic – aims to strengthen the MSME sector and local financial markets in the MENA region in line with the principles of responsible finance.

NYSE Euronext backs growth in African stock exchanges

According to an interview on America.gov, the firm NYSE Euronext Inc. (www.euronext.com) — the home of the New York Stock Exchange and other exchanges — has seen a threefold increase in the trading of African stocks on its exchanges over the past 5 years and twice as many exchange-traded funds (ETFs) focused on Africa in the past 12 to 18 months.
Altogether, these increases stand as clear evidence of a “strong and growing focus” on doing business in Africa, said Stefan Jekel, managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at NYSE Euronext, last month in the interview: “The measure of trading in African firms on our platforms has basically tripled in the last 5 years..So we now have three times the liquidity in African stocks today on our platform compared to 5 years ago.”
There are 16 African stocks listed and traded on NYSE Euronext from 6 African countries: Cameroon (1), Cote d’Ivoire (1), Gabon (1), Morocco (3), Senegal (3) and South Africa (7). The total market capitalization of those listed African companies is $90 billion.
For a fund that give investors a cross-section of African companies, Jekel suggested the many Africa-focused ETFs. “We have seen the number of exchange-traded funds that are focused on Africa double in the last 12 to 18 months. There are funds that cover South Africa, Africa, Africa’s top 40 investments, and those are all available on our platforms here in Europe and the U.S. … all with different specializations, differentiations. … So investors find a variety of solutions and opportunities to participate in the growth that can be found across Africa.”
NYSE Euronext is “very closely monitoring” the African investment climate, Jekel said. “I do not mean that in a passive way. We are very involved in initiatives in highlighting investment in Africa.”
One such initiative, he said, is its annual Ai Index Series Summit held in conjunction with Africa-investor.com (Ai www.africa-investor.com). The 2 companies recently hosted their third annual summit, which featured Robert Rubin, former U.S. treasury secretary and a member of the Africa Progress Panel, and Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, who addressed the summit via a video message.
On African stock exchanges, Jekel said, NYSE Euronext enjoys its closest ties with its client-partner exchanges in Casablanca, Tunis and Gabon, but has close ties with exchanges in South Africa, Egypt and others. There are some 29 functioning stock exchanges across the continent, with Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa accounting for 75% of Africa’s listings.
Jekel said: “We are a technology partner to the Casablanca Stock Market and to the … Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières d’Africque Centrale, or BVMAC, in Gabon and the Tunis Stock Market. By providing technology to these partners, these stock exchanges are using the same engine that NYSE/Euronext use.” He added that they share much of the insight and institutional knowledge as well.
Jekel said he soon plans to travel to South Africa for meetings with members of that country’s exchange to, as he put it, “grow our list of African issuers” and continue building momentum in the Africa investment area.
NYSE Euronext offers training for sister exchanges in Africa and worldwide “mini-internships,” he said, where visitors from other exchanges can “job-shadow” NYSE Euronext personnel.

Role of stock markets
Jekel pointed out the critical role of stock markets worldwide: “No matter where you are, developed or emerging markets, stock exchanges are where investors meet ideas — where companies come to raise capital to finance their business ideas, to finance their growth, and where investors come to participate in these success stories.”
Stock markets, he said, are also an important vehicle for bringing direct foreign investment into a country and serve as a vehicle that “allows investors to participate in the various growth opportunities that exist in emerging market nations and Africa in particular.”
Jekel stressed 2 key pillars of any functioning stock market: reliability and transparency. “I think those are some of the core principles and pillars of a stock exchange operation, and we see those philosophies being naturally adopted in Africa, so that is very comforting.”
Additionally, he said, “We see business and democracy going forward hand-in-hand in positive momentum” across Africa.
Jekel said industry experts who cover Africa on a daily basis all agree that there is a “strong and growing focus on Africa and that it will only grow from here. We see that due to the entrepreneurial spirit, the success stories that come out of Africa and the growing liquidity in its stock markets. We believe those are highly encouraging indicators of development and what is to come.” Entrepreneurs “are key everywhere, be it in the U.S. or Africa. They are the job engines. That is typically where job creation and wealth is coming from and starting.”
Looking to the future, Jekel said, “I think there is consensus among those who are following Africa that right now the BRIC countries [Brazil, Russia, India, China] have a very large role to play in world markets, but several industry insiders are pointing to Africa as a region and continent to pay close attention to over the next 10 to 20 years.”

Rencap has expansion plans

Renaissance Capital (www.rencap.com), the Russian emerging-markets bank with operations in Africa, plans to expand next year into Egypt and at least 3 other African countries, according to a 5 October interview published on Bloomberg. Rencap says on its website that its core businesses areas are Mergers & Acquisitions, equity and debt capital markets, securities sales and trading, research, and derivatives. It says it is building “market-leading practices across emerging markets globally in metals & mining, oil & gas and agriculture.”.
Clifford Sacks, CEO of the South African unit and head of Pan-African Equities, told Bloomberg from Johannesburg the bank may buy or start a brokerage in Egypt that would also cover Morocco and Tunisia. Hasnen Varawalla, global head of corporate finance, added that it also plans to move into Angola, Uganda and Rwanda. Rencap is bsed in Moscow, and currently operates in African nations including Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa Zambia and Zimbabwe. Bloomberg quotes Varawalla: “Each of these countries will see a huge development in their capital markets. We are looking to expand into another 5 or 6 countries in Africa.”
The bank is half-owned by billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. It started its African business in 2007. According to Bloomberg last year it participated in 24 transactions across 13 African countries, including the $955 million sale of Central African Mining & Exploration Co. to Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. Africa accounts for a quarter of RenCap’s investment-banking business. Varawalla told Bloomberg that Non-Russian activities will generate more than 50% of revenue within 2 to 3 years.
In July, it paid ZAR207 million (then US$27.3 million) to acquire BJM Securities, the brokerage business of South Africa’s Barnard Jacobs Mellet (BJM) Group. A press release by Rencap describes BJM: “Founded in 1985, BJM Securities is the leading independent full service broker-dealer in South Africa. The firm is known for its outstanding research franchise, having been ranked No.1 in South African research surveys.
The Firm entered South Africa in February 2010 and appointed Clifford Sacks. The press release quotes him: “The combination of a leading independent brokerage in South Africa with award-winning research franchise and Renaissance Capital’s unparalleled expertise in capital markets and M&A, complemented by our unique access to global emerging markets creates a powerful platform across research, sales and trading in Africa’s largest economy.”

Casablanca Stock Exchange – some background

One of Africa’s biggest and most active stock exchanges is Morocco’s Casablanca Stock Exchange (www.casablanca-bourse.com), set up as a joint stock company (“société anonyme”) with a Supervisory Board and owned by the 17 stockbroking members. It has 74 listed securities and active daily trading.
It reports to the Ministry of Finance and Privatisation under well-defined Terms of Reference and complies with rules known as “General Rules”.
The first trading session was on 7 November 1929 as the “Office de Compensation des Valeurs Mobilières” (Office for Clearing of Transferable Securities). In 1948 the bourse acquired legal personality and in 1967 came a legal and technical reorganization and it became as a public establishment. Reform in 1993-6 defined the various market players, and introduced a range of rules and technical procedures needed for the development of the Moroccan financial market.
In March 1997, the Stock Exchange launched the electronic-based trading system followed by the central securities depository Maroclear in 1998. In end of the same year the Central Market and Block-Trade Market replaced the Official Market and Direct Transfer Market. Another milestone was in May 2001 when the settlement period for market transactions was reduced from T+5 to T+3.
The indices of the Casablanca Stock Exchange: Masi® and Madex® indices, as well as sector indices, return indices and currency indices, were launched in the beginning of 2002. During 2004, the Exchange adopted the float-weighted market capitalization method for calculating indices.
In April 2009, the Casablanca Stock Exchange officially adopted a corporate governance structure including a Board of Directors.
Although the market attracts interest from frontier market investors, there is not much coverage of the market in English, although the BMCE Bank International (www.bmce-intl.co.uk), affiliated to Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur (BMCE), does give the daily prices, and the Casablanca SE website also gives daily trades with 15 minute delay. BMCE is headquartered in London and Paris and on 1 September changed its name from MediCapital Bank as a specialist bank linking international finance with the growing opportunities in Africa and a network of offices in 18 countries including independent companies linked to BMCE or parts of the Bank of Africa network. In July 2008 it acquired Pall Mall Capital SAS, a corporate finance boutique specialising in transactions in Francophone African countries, to develop our Advisory division.

Car dealer offers shares before double listing in Tunis and Casablanca

Tunisian car retailer Ennakl Automobiles (www.ennakl.com), official distributor of Volkswagen, Seat, Audi and Porsche and part of the Group Princesse El Materi Holding, headed by Mohamed Sakher El Materi Holding, is offering 40% of its share capital for sale. This is preparation to a double listing of 30% of its capital on the Tunis stock exchange (www.bvmt.com.tn) and 10% on the Casablanca stock exchange (www.casablanca-bourse.com) in Morocco. The offer is open from 23 June – 2 July, according to a report on Tunis Online (www.tunisiaonlinenews.com).
The company is offering 12 million shares at 10.7 Tunisian dinars (US$7.06) in Tunisia and Dirham 64.22 ($7.16), for a total of TND 128.4 million ($84.7 million). Of the 9 million shares offered on the Tunis stock exchange, 4.4 million are secured for institutional investors.
According to the report, Mr. Mohamed Sakher El Materi, President of Ennakl, said the aim is to increase Princesse Holding group funds for developing its business interests, particularly in the financial sector. The press release says the group has created Banque Zitouna and is creating the Takaful insurance company. It also aims to bring the 2 exchanges closer and increase co-operation and financial exchanges between both countries.
Ennakl wants to expand during the next 5 years (2010-2014) by marketing Seat cars in 2010, Skoda in 2011 and diversifying its Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche brands. It also aims to boost its distribution network from 14 to to reach about 21 official agencies in 2011. It was established in Tunisia in 1965 and privatized in 2006, according to a company press release. It says it is the leading car distributor in the country and second in Africa for Volkswagen after South Africa.
Ennakl is expected to achieve almost TND 378 million turnover by 2010, up by 16% on TND 326 mln in 2009, and net profits TND 27 mln, up from TND 22 mln in 2009. It says it sold 9,617 light cars in 2009.
It would be the second car distributor on the Tunis bourse, after Artes.