Archive for the 'Nigeria' Category

Africa IPO round-up

A roundup of some recent initial public offers (IPOs) of shares on Africa’s stock exchanges to raise capital

In early October, MTN launched plans to sell up to 35% of shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange. Ghana’s Securities and Exchange Commission Director General Adu Anane Antwi confirmed they had started the listing process and were working on the prospectus but no timeline had been given. According to local reports, MTN received its 15-year 4G licence in 2015 after spending $67.5m and on condition that it lists. It hopes to raise up to $500m.
MTN Nigeria is also working on plans for an initial public offer (IPO) of shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2017 which could raise up to $1bn. Nigeria is among several African governments encouraging telcos to list on local bourses and listing is among conditions to settle a record NGN330bn ($1.1bn) fine for failing to disconnect 5.1m unregistered subscribers. Nigeria contributes a third of sales and profit for the Africa’s biggest phone company, which is listed in Johannesburg with market capitalization of ZAR212.8bn ($15.3bn) in early October.
Listings and capital-raising momentum has been maintained on the Nairobi Securities Exchange. Deacons Kenya is the first listed fashion retailer, after joining the Alternative Investment Market Segment (AIMS) of the NSE on 2 August. CEO Muchiri Wahome said the extra funds were to fund expansion into towns with “a vibrant middle class” across Kenya, spurred Kenya’s rapid and ambitious devolution and setting up 47 counties under its 2010 Constitution. Deacons is also eyeing opportunities in neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda. It will also help existing shareholders who want to sell. The retailer listed about 123m shares at an opening price of KES15 ($0.15) each, but by early October the price had slumped to KES8.55.

 

Nairobi centre (credit www.kenya-advisor.com)

Nairobi centre (credit www.kenya-advisor.com)

In June, leather and shoe retailer Nairobi Business Ventures, which operates the brand KShoe, had become the fifth listing on the NSE’s Growth and Enterprise Market Segment aimed at smaller businesses. It was listed through introduction and valued at KES118m ($1.2m). Previous 2016 share issues included Longhorn Publishers in May. In June power generator Kengen succeeded in the Kenyan bourse’s largest rights issue, raising KES26.4bn ($262.1m) by offering 4.4bn new shares at KES6.55 each, with a 92% subscription rate. Kengen has projects to generate another 700MW of power, of which 605MW is geothermal.
However, Fusion Capital had to cancel its IPO despite extending twice after only getting 38% uptake and four investors for its KES2.3bn offering and failing to meet the minimum threshold.
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange had its second private equity listing. Universal Partners raised R1.3bn ($93.7m) in an IPO which was only open for 4-5 August and started trading on the Alt-X market on 11 August. The company was registered in Mauritius in April and also listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius. Its mandate is to invest in properties across Europe, at £10m-£30m ($12m-$37m) each and it aims to start investing within six months. The IPO was for 72m shares at R18.07 each. Several companies aiming to raise capital for African and international investments have dual-listing on the Mauritius and Johannesburg exchanges.
Liberty Holdings is likely to follow up its Kenyan IPO success with a South African Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) called Liberty Two Degrees in December. This will include some ZAR6bn of its existing portfolio, including iconic malls around Gauteng, and ZAR4bn of new money. As in Kenya, the property investments are managed by Stanlib.
West Africa’s integrated regional stock exchange, Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres (BRVM), based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, plans to build a platform for listing mining shares and raising capital locally. The exchange is talking with Canada’s Toronto Stock Exchange (TMX Group), a favourite bourse for early-stage mining entrepreneurs. BRVM General Manager Edoh Kossi Amenounve says it could open by 2018 and will be for companies exploring or operating mines in the region. There is likely to be a waiver to the usual requirement for 2 years of trading history. The BRVM links eight West African countries, including gold exporters Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire, and fourth-largest uranium producer, Niger.
Egypt’s Minister of Investment Dalia Korshid says the Government aims to raise up to $10bn over the next three to five years with IPOs of government-owned companies in the oil sector but will start with restructuring state-owned electricity companies.

Building African Financial Markets seminar

The 5th Building African Financial Markets (BAFM) capacity-building seminar is coming to the Nigerian Stock Exchange Event Centre in Lagos on 28-29 April. This is the top seminar for professionals and strategic leaders from capital markets all over the continent, including securities exchanges, clearing and settlement, stockbrokers, investors, government officials and any organisations which are part of capital markets system. It is organized by the NSE and the African Securities Exchanges Association.

The seminar includes a market closing/opening ceremony and focused learning interactive sessions on key topics around driving liquidity in African capital markets. Topics are very relevant, including securities lending, strengthening equity market structures, derivatives and CCP, optimal price mechanism, global reporting standards, information security, and capital markets integration.

Its suitable for seniors from capital and financial markets in product development, regulation and policy, information technology, investor relations, trading, clearing and settlement.

BAFM-III (1)

  • Role of securities lending in boosting liquidity in African capital markets
  • Strengthening equity market structures in Africa to better address low liquidity
  • Instituting an optimal price mechanism on African stock exchanges
  • Capital market integration – a catalyst for boosting liquidity on African stock exchanges
  • Liquidity enabling regulation
  • Role and importance of CCP in a derivatives market
  • Trading derivatives products – how the products work?
  • Rules governing CCP
  • Adhering to best global reporting standards
  • Information security – protecting your market’s digital assets.

According to the organizers: “As African economies reposition themselves following the significant impact of global headwinds that have challenged the continent’s growth prospects, African capital markets are instrumental in financing the continent’s infrastructure and capital requirements.”

Cost is NGN70,000 plus VAT/$350. For more go to NSE website.

Will Interswitch be Africa’s first $1bn tech “unicorn”?

Nigeria’s digital payments and payment card giant Interswitch Ltd could become Africa’s first tech “unicorn” or technology company valued at over $1 billion. Private equity firm Helios Investment Partners (majority owner) is preparing to sell and Citigroup Inc are hired to handle the sale, which could involve an initial public offer (IPO) and listing on the London and Lagos stock exchanges.
Website TechCrunch reported that Interswitch has 32 million customers for its “Verve” chip-and-PIN cards and its Quickteller digital payment app processed $2.4 billion in transactions. It processes most of Nigeria’s electronic bank, government and corporate transactions.
A subsequent report from Bloomberg says Helios paid $92 million for a 52% stake in 2010.
Techcrunch contributor Jake Bright (Twitter @JakeRBright, co-author of The Next Africa: An Emerging Continent Becomes a Global Powerhouse) reports that Interswitch CEO and founder Mitchell Elegbe told him no final decision has yet been made and they are also mulling the option of a trade sale.

Mitchell Elegbe CEO Interswitch (from www.naij.com)

Mitchell Elegbe CEO Interswitch (from www.naij.com)


Bright’s Techcrunch report also cites Eghosa Omoigui, Managing Partner of EchoVC, a Silicon Valley fund investing in African start-ups: “They’ve already selected the ibankers and will likely go public sometime between Q2 to Q4 at (or close to) a $1 billion dollar valuation–roughly two times revenues,”.
Bright points out that there are strong tech opportunities for ventures focused on digital commerce and payments, and cites research by Crunchbase that VC investors put $400m into African consumer goods, digital content and fintech-oriented startups. Helios and Adlevo Capital back ventures such as MallforAfrica (e-commerce) and Paga (payments).
Although Kenya has the spotlight still, because of the runaway success of Safaricom’s M-PESA product, which has 13m customers and generated $300m in revenues for Safaricom in 2014, consumers in Nigeria are projected to generate $75bn in e-commerce revenue by 2020. See this McKinsey report on future consumer spending trends in a youth-driven market.
Interswitch – motto “bills aren’t fun but payments solutions can be” – is still building digital finance market share in Nigeria and in 2014 bought Kenya’s Paynet and also has operations in Uganda, Tanzania and Gambia. The IPO could support plans to expand into more countries – Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana were mentioned in an earlier Bloomberg article.
Elegbe, age 43 years, founded Interswitch in 2002.
Bloomberg reports that if this goes ahead, it will be one of the few private equity exits at a valuation of over $1 billion. It also cites Bain Capital’s $1.2bn exit from South African retailer Edcon’s private label store cars in 2012, sold to Barclays Absa unit. It says increasing use of e-commerce worldwide makes payments-processing industry a “structural growth market”.
The London Stock Exchange has more than 120 African listings.
In its 2010 press release, Helios described the company: InterSwitch provides shared, integrated message broker solutions for financial transactions, eCommerce, telecoms value-added services, eBilling, payment collections, 2 and also administers Verve, the leading card scheme in Nigeria. The Verve card, which is currently issued by 16 out of the 24 banks in Nigeria, is the first and only chip-and-pin card accepted across multiple payment channels including Automated Teller Machine (“ATMs”), Point of Sale (“POS”) terminals, online, mobile and at banks. InterSwitch has been at the forefront of the development and growth of the epayment sector in Nigeria which is evidenced by its unique position of being the only switching and processing company connected to all banks in the country as well as over 10,000 ATMs and 11,000 POS terminals. In addition, InterSwitch is the leading processor for Mastercard and the market leader in merchant acquiring/POS, a segment which is still emerging and has potential for tremendous growth in Nigeria. Babatunde Soyoye, Managing Partner and Co-founder of Helios added: “InterSwitch is a Nigerian success story having been led by a superb management team and benefiting from the foresight, innovation and support of its founding shareholders, and a supportive regulator in the Central Bank Nigeria.”

Soaring trading on Nigeria’s FMDQ market for fixed income and fx

Nigeria’s booming fixed interest and currency securities exchange FMDQ OTC Plc (“over-the-counter” market) recorded market turnover of NGN93.9 trillion ($471.7 billion) for the 8 months to 31 August. This includes all products traded on the FMDQ secondary market as well as trade executed between dealing members, dealing members & clients, and dealing members & the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

According to a recent report in Vanguard newspaper, treasury bills transactions accounted for NGN31.7trn (34%) of the total trading; repurchase agreement/buy backs were NGN21.354trn (23%) turnover; and foreign exchange (forex) NGN19.84trn (21%). The top 10 dealing members accounted for NGN67trn, 71% of the turnover; 3 dealing members accounted for NGN27.9trn (42%) of the broker trading.

Photo: FMDQ OTC

Photo: FMDQ OTC


Major listings in July included NGN26bn ($130m) FCMB Financing SPV PLC series 1, 7-year 14.25% fixed-rate unsecured bond under a ₦100trn debt issuance programme. This came after the listings of NGN4.8trn of bonds issued by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and quotation of NGN2.8trn of treasury bills. Other key listings have included a NGN30.5bn bond by UBA and a NGN15.54bn bond by Stanbic IBTC.

Other instruments traded in the 8 months to August:

  • Unsecured placements – NGN9.2trn
  • FGN Bonds – NGN6.1trn
  • FX Derivatives – NGN5.5trn
  • Money-market derivatives – NGN101bn
  • Eurobonds – NGN33bn
  • Other bonds – NGN18bn.

The figures exclude primary-market auctions in T-Bills, Bonds and FX.

According to CEO Bola Onadele Koko, revenue in 2014 was NGN1.75bn, compared to NGN155.65m in 2013, based on transaction income only for one month, December 2013. The bourse aims “to be No. 1 in Africa in the fixed income and currency markets by 2019”.

The FMDQ concept was promoted by the Financial Markets Dealers Association (FMDA) in 2009 and sponsored in 2010 by the Bankers’ Committee, chaired by the CBN with the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and all the banks and discount houses operating in Nigeria as its members. The committee resolved to set up a self-regulated organization licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to operate all the over-the-counter inter-bank market activities in fixed income and currencies.

FMDQ was incorporated on January 6, 2011 with a NGN100m contribution by the CBN and equal contribution of NGN15m by each of the 25 banks and 5 discount houses to the company’s initial capital. On 6 Nov 2012, SEC registered FMDQ as an OTC securities exchange and self-regulatory organisation. It started operations a year later, 7 November, 2013.

By 31 Dec 2014 there were 26 FMDQ-licensed dealing members made up of banks and discount houses licensed to make markets in debt securities, money-market instruments and currencies on FMDQ. It was due to add specialist dealing members to deal in treasury bills and FGN Bonds. There were 13 licensed associate members, including SEC-registered inter-dealer brokers and brokers, as well as clients including institutional investors/asset managers, pension fund administrators and corporate treasurers.

From 2014 annual report

From 2014 annual report

fmdq_bannerad

IMF cuts African growth forecast

Africa’s growth is slowing dramatically, says the International Monetary Fund, and it could get worse if the global economy does not grow. The IMF says economic growth for 2015 is likely to be 3.75% and 4.25% next year, the lowest level in 6 years and down from last year’s 5% average growth.

In its October 2015 report African Economic Outlook: Dealing with the Gathering Clouds, the IMF writes: “The strong growth momentum evident in the region in recent years has dissipated. With the possibility that the external environment might turn even less favourable, risks to this outlook remain on the downside.”

There are many that are flourishing, including Cote d’Ivoire, forecast to grow at 9% this year because of an investment boom that followed the end of a brief civil war in 2012. It just had a very peaceful election and President Alassane Ouattara, a former IMF official, is widely expected to win.

In real growth terms (page 81) Ethiopia is Africa’s fastest-growing economy this year with 8.7% growth, followed by Democratic Republic of Congo (8.4%) and Cote d’Ivoire (8.2%). Ethiopia is second fastest next year with 8.1% forecast, just after Mozambique (8.2%).

The fund blames a slump in commodity prices and cheap dollars returning to the US and out of African credit markets for the lower overall growth. Hardest hit are the 8 countries that export oil from sub-Saharan Africa, where the prices are far lower. Top producers Nigeria and Angola will see revenues falling fast, while . weak minerals prices, power shortages and difficult financing conditions are slowing growth in countries such as Ghana, Zambia and South Africa. It said commodities revenues are forecast to remain depressed for several years.

According to a report by Reuters, Antoinette Sayeh, head of the IMF’s Africa department, said governments should work quickly to diversify revenue sources by improving domestic tax collection: “Mobilizing more revenues is an urgent matter – as is being more exacting in choosing expenditure. It’s a difficult patch, but we definitely think that countries can move out of the very difficult terrain and grow more robustly.”

The fund urges governments to increase productivity: “To sustain rapid growth the region will need to diversify away from commodities, increase export sophistication, and integrate into global value chains.”

Low interest rates, especially by issuing Eurobonds on international fixed income markets since 2007, has meant African governments have borrowed and public debt levels have risen. Sayeh warned governments to be “very careful” in how they managed dollar financing to ensure it is invested wisely. Some governments, such as Ghana, have been accused of frittering away Eurobond revenues on state salaries. Sayeh said Accra was doing “reasonably well” in its efforts to curb public spending under a $918 million IMF programme agreed in April.

She says that Zambia has not yet asked IMF for financial help. It is also struggling with the rising cost of servicing USD debt after the value of its currency fell 50% this year.

The Fund also notes that Sub-Saharan Africa has among the highest levels of inequality—both income and gender—in the world, even after accounting for the lower levels of per capita income in the region. There is growing international evidence that such inequality can impede macroeconomic stability and growth

Highlights from the report
In most low-income countries, growth is holding up, as ongoing infrastructure investment efforts continue and private consumption remains strong. The likes of Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Tanzania are projected to register growth of 7% or more this year and next. But even within this group, some countries are feeling the pinch from lower prices for their main export commodities, even as lower oil prices ease their energy import bill. On average, activity for this group is now projected to expand by 6% in 2015, some three-quarters of a percentage point lower than foreseen a year ago.

• The region’s 8 oil-exporting countries, conversely, are being hit hard by the continued weakness in oil prices. Falling export incomes and resulting sharp fiscal adjustments are taking their toll on activity, now expected to expand by 3½% this year, down from the 7% expected before oil prices started falling. Headwinds are particularly strong in Angola and Nigeria, but also among oil exporters in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC).

• Several middle-income countries are also facing unfavourable conditions. A combination of supply shocks (for example, curtailed electricity production in Ghana, South Africa, and Zambia), more difficult financing conditions in a context of large domestic imbalances (Ghana and Zambia), and weaker commodity prices (Botswana, South Africa, Zambia) are set to lower growth.

Moreover, there is a risk of still lower growth if the external environment continues to weaken. Existing vulnerabilities, especially on the fiscal front, could also come to a head if the external environment were to turn even less favorable, via further declines in commodity prices, stronger growth deceleration in China, or a disorderly global asset reallocation.

Debt crunch
With gross external financing needs in excess of 10% of GDP in many of the larger economies (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania), it might at best become increasingly difficult and expensive to cover these needs, and at worst, impossible to do so, forcing an abrupt adjustment.

Where fiscal deficits are particularly large and external costs have already risen substantially, recourse to domestic markets is also becoming increasingly difficult, as in Ghana and Zambia. This has pushed domestic borrowing costs up— crowding out the private sector in the process and restraining the emergence of new, more diverse, domestic sources of growth.

inflation is now inching up in some of the largest sub-Saharan African economies, in contrast with the trend of recent years. Average inflation in the region is expected to reach 7% this year and 7¼% next year. In some countries, specific factors such as electricity tariff hikes (South Africa), the elimination of fuel subsidies (Angola), and rising food prices (Ethiopia, Tanzania) have also pushed inflation up. However, inflation in most other countries remains contained, particularly in the CFA franc zones, where it ranges from 1 to 3%.
some central banks have intervened in the market to contain exchange rate volatility, and others, most notably oil exporters, have drawn on their external buffers to smooth the adjustment to lower commodity prices (Figure 1.12). Some countries, including Angola and Nigeria, have also introduced administrative measures to stem the demand for foreign currency, significantly hampering the conduct of private sector activities in the process.

Banks could well see a worsening of the quality of their assets. Recent analysis suggests that financial stability indicators in natural-resource-rich countries, such as bank profitability or nonperforming loans, tend to deteriorate and the probability of systemic banking crises tends to increase in the wake of negative commodity price shocks

Power block
Infrastructure bottlenecks have long been an impediment to attracting new activities and fostering trade integration.8 These bottlenecks have come to the forefront even more acutely recently for a wide range of countries. Load shedding and electricity shortages, triggered by delays in upgrading aging power plants and filling the power generation gaps, have become a regular occurrence in Ghana and South Africa, with particularly acute effects in the manufacturing sector. Worsening conditions in electricity supply have also been severely hampering activity in a few other countries (Comoros, Madagascar, Nigeria, and Zambia).

These difficulties are in stark contrast with encouraging progress made elsewhere in the region, as past investment is now bearing fruit. In Kenya, the doubling of geothermal generation capacity in the second half of 2014 led to a 20% increase in overall capacity and a 25% decline of electricity cost (IMF 2015b). The coming onstream of new hydropower plants in Ethiopia is contributing to a further increase in electricity availability for the entire east African region, and will do so even more in the next few years—supporting the emergence of new activities. In west Africa, a new dam put in service in Guinea in the summer of 2015 will also allow electricity exports to neighbouring countries.

Cross-exchange trading between Ghana and Nigeria stock exchanges

A trade in July was one of the first examples of cross-border trading, where a broker in Ghana was able to buy shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange through links with a Nigerian broker. It points the way for closer capital market integration in West Africa, where economic links are already strong.

According to this story on Bloomberg, the trade was executed by Ghana’s CAL Brokers Ltd and Nigeria’s United Capital Securities Ltd. CAL Brokers bought 100 Dangote Cement and 6,000 Guaranty Trust Bank shares from United Capital Securities. It bought the shares for its own portfolio to sell later, paying commission and money transfer costs.

“Investors can now tap into bigger pool of funds,” Geoffrey Maison, a research analyst at CAL, told Bloomberg in an interview. “Investors from Ghana can look out for opportunities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange or BRVM if they can’t get stocks to buy here.”

Wole Shonibare, Deputy Group CEO/ Managing Director, Investment Banking at United Capital PLC wrote: With signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) (recognized by each regulator in the two jurisdictions) in place, Ghana and Nigerian dealing members (broker-dealers) were able to trade among themselves via Sponsored Access. The first trade which was completed on 15 July 2015 was facilitated by the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), in conjunction with the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) with the actual trade conducted by United Capital Securities. This first trade has successfully developed the framework for subsequent trades in the market.

More than 180 securities are listed on the Nigerian bourse, while Ghana Stock Exchange has 35 equities and the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières SA or BRVM, a regional stock exchange bringing together eight countries from a base in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, has 39 deals. Ghana and BRVM have been seeing lower trading volumes.

Four West African exchanges including the Sierra Leone stock exchange are busy with a staged integration process under the West African Capital Markets Integration Council (WACMIC), set up in January 2013 to harmonize the regulatory environment for issuing and trading securities and to develop a common platform for cross-border listing and trading. WACMIC is made up of Chief Executives of the regulators (securities commissions) and of the securities exchanges. Adu Anane Antwi, director general of Ghana’s Securities and Exchange Commission told Bloomberg the council had been working on rules and technicalities of cross market trade since 2012.

The current phase is.known as “sponsored access”. Maison said broker can ask a dealer in another country to execute trades on its behalf, Maison said. Previously, an investor wanting to buy equities in another country would have to go through an audit before opening an account with a broker.

Antwi said: “Even at this first stage if you’re interested in a Nigerian stock you don’t have to go to Nigeria to find a broker,” Antwi said. “You can buy the stock by talking to a broker here.”

Next step will be “direct access”. Traders will be able to execute transactions in other markets. The final is a common board to display prices across the 4 markets. This is facilitated as the exchanges have automatic trading and allow direct market access (DMA)

According to United Capital’s Shonibare: This landmark transaction is important and beneficial to West Africa and the African financial markets in many ways. Liberalizing capital transactions across any region is the first step for integrated capital markets. Over the years, African financial markets have been left vulnerable to volatility resulting from massive portfolio inflows from countries that share little economic similarities with the region, causing a significant bout of macroeconomic instability in the domestic financial markets. The Ghana-Nigeria deal is expected to be a precursor to greater capital flows within a sub-region that already operates a liberalized trade environment.

In the near term, market operators intending to participate in this laudable initiative would need to scale up their IT support for trading securities as transactions can only be done electronically while orders would require an order management system that is synchronized with the local Stock Exchange. There is need to provide information about investment opportunities across markets within the region as this will help boost inter-market dealings by investors and assist market operators increase their revenues. Stronger Settlement system is also important. Additionally, there is need for a more robust banking system across markets such that investors can make payments in local currencies where orders are originated irrespective of the market they are trading into as this will help increase the volume/value of trades. Finally, there is urgent need to pass the enabling laws that would allow electronic trading and direct market access to take place in the various exchanges within the region.

AfDB $400,000 seed equity to central depositories link Africlear Global

The central depositories of Kenya and Nigeria, two of the most dynamic in Africa, have formed a joint venture with Altree Financial Group. The African Development provided $400,000 in seed equity capital to the new Africlear Global venture, which aims to boost the efficiency of African capital markets by supporting modernizing the infrastructure of the central securities depositories.

The partners are Kenya’s Central Depository and Settlement Corporation (CDSC), Nigeria’s Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) and Altree. However, several more African central depositories are interested in joining.

Africlear will help the depositories to pool their resources and boost buying power on equipment. They will work together to identify, acquire and maintain critical systems and technology, for instance for corporate actions, recording shareholder votes and other investor support services. The depositories will also share information and expertise.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) invested $400,000 in seed capital through the Fund for Africa Private Sector Assistance in an agreement signed 5 March in Abidjan. This may inspire more investors to join in building the company.

Africlear will use the money to improve the infrastructure used for post-trading processes such as settlements after a sale is done. According to AfDB press release: “The goal of the investment is to enhance the efficiency of capital markets by supporting the modernisation of central securities depository infrastructure in African securities markets.” Solomon Asamoah, AfDB Vice-President, Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, and Anthony Fischli, Director, Africlear Global, signed the Shareholder and Subscription agreements on behalf of the Bank and Africlear Global, respectively.

Rose Mambo, CEO of CDSC, is the chairperson of Africlear. She was reported in Standard news in Kenya saying: “Africlear members will be able to realise significant cost savings via collective bargaining with industry participants and technology vendors. Africlear will also allow its members to offer more services ranging from corporate actions processing and collateral management to clearing and settlement.”

Kyari Bukar of CSCS said Africlear will accelerate process standardization and promote system integration across the borders. “By employing industry best practices, Africlear will facilitate improved levels of transparency and corporate governance within the African capital markets. This will enable local market practitioners to effectively compete for domestic and international capital.”

The board of Africlear held its first meeting in Nairobi on 24 April 2015. The members also include Altree Financial Group chairman Anthony Fischli and a representative from the AfDB to be named. Fischli said: “Africlear supports an open marketplace where scale and connectivity serve as the company’s competitive strengths” Benefits for investors should include improved access to securities services, collaboration between countries and cost-effective pricing of infrastructure.

Fischli told AfricanCapitalMarketsNews on 11 May that Africlear could also help the different countries’ and exchanges’ central depositories in future if they want to establish links. Fischli said in a press release “The AfDB investment in Africlear Global supports the improvement of securities market infrastructure through promotion of industry-leading technologies designed to enhance the underlying efficiency and overall functioning of the African capital markets.”

Kenya’s Business Daily reports that CDSC expects to gain revenue from its investment in Africlear by being able to charge for corporate actions such as reconciling investors on share splits, dividend declaration and payments. Revenues are particularly expected from international investors who mostly make the bulk of the traders on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

Central Depository and Settlement Corporation (CDSC) Kenya is approved by the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya as provider of clearing and settlement services to the Kenyan capital markets. Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Nigeria is licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria and serves as the clearing and settlement house for the Nigerian capital markets and The Nigerian Stock Exchange. Altree Financial Group is an integrated financial-services company licensed to conduct Investment Business by the Bermuda Monetary Authority.

The AfDB’s FAPA fund is a multi-donor thematic trust fund that provides grant funding for capacity building, seed capital and advisory services to support implementation of the Bank’s Private Sector Development Strategy. AfDB and the Governments of Japan and Austria have contributed to the fund, which to date has provided over $60m to 56 projects in 38 countries across Africa. The portfolio includes regional and national projects aimed at improving the business environment, strengthening financial systems, building private-sector infrastructure, promotion of trade and development of micro, small and medium enterprises

COMMENT – African nations seem keen on having national exchanges and central depositories under domestic regulation. However, they are working hard on harmonizing regulations, including to global standards, particularly within regional associations of regulators.

Africa is also looking for ways to increase links between the exchanges, eventually pushing to the point where a broker in one country can route orders to other exchanges, meaning that investors all over Africa have access to different exchanges, boosting liquidity and achieving more cross-border communications, trading, cross listings and remote memberships.

Africlear can be a key part of this. Getting post-trade “plumbing” for payments, clearing and settlement is key to ensuring African exchanges. Africlear is set to be an important step forward.

Nigeria’s SEC asks for comments on exchange demutualization

CEO Oscar Onyema shows top managers of NASDAQ OMX the NSE trading floor. (Credit: businessdayonline)

CEO Oscar Onyema shows top managers of NASDAQ OMX the NSE trading floor. (Credit: businessdayonline)

Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission has published rules on demutualization of securities exchanges on 20 February and this week is the end of the 2-week deadline for comments from stakeholders in the capital markets.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has decided to demutualize, by agreement of the Council and members. However, it had not been able to go ahead because there were no SEC rules on demutualization. According to this press report in This Day newspaper, the announcement comes 3 years after an SEC committee had submitted its report.
Demutualization is a process in which a member-owned exchange, sometimes a company limited by guarantee, is turned into a normal company with shareholders and investors. Usually it is a for-profit company and it can even list on its own exchange, with good examples set by the Johannesburg and Nairobi securities exchanges.
The proposed draft rules and regulations suggest “no single entity/person or related entities/persons should be permitted to own, directly or indirectly, more than 5% of the equity and/or voting rights in the demutualized securities exchange. The aggregate equity interests of members of any specific stakeholder group (for example, brokers and broker/dealers) in the demutualized securities exchange should not exceed 40%.”
Trading participants who are shareholders need to reduce their cumulative holding in the exchange to not more than 10% within 5 years of demutualization.
“Strategic investors” can get equity if they provide evidence of technical expertise through managing other exchanges. “The aggregate number of shares to be offered to the Strategic Investors shall not be more than 30% of issued and fully paid up capital of the securities exchange. However, if the exchange is in dire need of funds, it could issue a higher number of shares subject to approval of the Commission.”
The Board of Directors of the demutualized exchange should be up to 13 members with at least a third are independent, non-executive directors and all board and executive management appointments must be approved by the SEC. The exchange must comply in all other respects with the SEC Code of Corporate Governance for public companies.

IPOs soar as Africa’s capital markets raise $11bn

• US$11bn IPO and FO proceeds raised in 2014 in African equity markets
• US$37.4bn proceeds raised from 2010 to 2014
• 24 African IPO companies listed in 2014

African markets excelled in terms of capital raising for business in 2014 with a total of $11 billion raised through a total of 24 initial public offers (IPOs) and also through further offers (FOs). According to the inaugural publication IPO Watch Africa 2014, released by PwC on 1 Feb, a significant portion of the 2014 capital raising came from outside South Africa, compared to previous years.

The PwC study covers the 5 years 2010-2014 and shows that the total money raised in 2014 was equivalent to the combined total for 2012 and 2013. The sum from IPOs alone was $1.7bn in 2014, up from $0.8bn in 2013. Listings on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange accounted for 32% of total IPO capital in 2013 and 44% in 2014.

Source: IPO Watch Africa 2014 by PwC

Source: IPO Watch Africa 2014 by PwC


Nicholas Ganz, PwC Africa Capital Markets Leader, said in a press release: “The performance of African markets was strong in 2014, with an increase in equity capital market activity of 40% in terms of volume of offers and 100% in terms of capital raised when compared with prior year activity.”

However South Africa accounted for 87% of the capital raised through FOs offers with a 50% increase in the number of transactions and doubled in terms of capital raised to $9.3bn, from $4.6bn in 2013.

Coenraad Richardson, PwC South Africa Capital Markets Partner, said of South Africa’s share of the market for further offers: “This is a reflection of the depth and stability of the South African listed company and investor base, underpinned by a securities exchange regulatory framework ranked number one in the world by the World Economic Forum’s 2014-2015 Global Competitiveness Report.”

The excellent report can be downloaded here and includes lists of the top 10 IPOs in 2014 and 2015, performance by exchange, share performance from the IPO to 31 Dec (the Egyptian Exchange’s Arabian Cement Co raised $109m and then soared 88%) and much other useful information.

Source IPO Watch Africa 2014 by PwC

Source IPO Watch Africa 2014 by PwC

The financial services sector (including real estate) was 57% of the combined IPO and FO volume, followed by industrial products & services, and consumer products. Growth in these sectors reflects Africa’s shifting economic and social demographics, including increasing urbanization and an emergent middle class. The resources sectors were a smaller proportion of 2014 activity.

The trend also shows “increasing global integration of businesses in Africa and the interest of international investors in opportunities in Africa” according to the report. Several top 10 IPOs in 2013 and 2014 had an international component, either foreign companies raising capital directly on African exchanges, or African companies marketing shares to international investors through dual listings or sales to qualified institutional buyers abroad.

During 2010-2014, African companies raised a total of $31.1bn through FOs on African exchanges plus another $1.2bn of FO capital raised by African companies on international exchanges. This included companies expanding their investor base via a secondary listing, as with the 2011 listing of Elemental Minerals on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the 2013 listing of MiX Telematics on the New York Stock Exchange under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, as well as those raising further funds from existing international listings. Resources transactions are more prominent in “outbound” FOs compared to the African IPOs and FOs over the period 2010-2014.

Good prospects for 2015

The report notes: Further liberalization of exchange regulations in some key territories, such as Tanzania, as well as harmonisation of regional exchanges bodes well for continued growth of ECM activity in 2015. Other positive factors include expectations for continued exits by private equity investors, reforms to certain capital markets legislation, and growing investor confidence in and familiarity with African markets.

Darrell McGraw, PwC Nigeria Capital Markets Partner, warns that commodities prices and currency depreciation could lead to some “headwinds that may affect the momentum of the capital markets in Nigeria and other territories heavily involved in resources.” However, Nigeria already had an IPO in Jan 2015 and “has a strong pipeline of listings likely to be brought to market later this year.”

Source IPO Watch Africa 2014 by PwC

Source IPO Watch Africa 2014 by PwC

4 priorities from new head of African stock exchanges

Nairobi Securities Exchange (credit: Diana Ngila, Nation Media Group)

Nairobi Securities Exchange (credit: Diana Ngila, Nation Media Group)

The new President of the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) put forward 4 strategic objectives for the member bourses. Oscar Onyema, CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, was elected President after outstanding leadership by Sunil Benimadhu, Chief Executive of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius.
According to a news report in Nigeria’s This Day, Onyema said the vision is to support the effective mobilization of capital for economic development. The new executive committee to lead African securities exchanges will focus on
• Strengthen ASEA’s governance, financial and reporting framework
• Promote the sustainable development of African capital markets
• Facilitate an increase in market access at the regional level, and promote cross-listing among African exchanges
• Align the goals of African capital markets with those of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Onyema said: “I am honoured to be elected president of ASEA which is the largest platform for Africa’s stock, futures and options exchanges. I would like to thank the outgoing Executive Committee led by Mr. Benimadhu for their stewardship of the Association over the last two years, and I look forward to working with ASEA members, our global counterparts and regulators to contribute to the association’s rich legacy, as well as to promoting our markets in a broad range of areas”.
He was elected this week at the Executive Committee meeting of ASEA after its 18th annual general meeting held in Diani, Kenya.

Exchanges and regional integration
According to this press release from Nairobi Securities Exchange, William Ruto Deputy President of Kenya opened the ASEA flagship conference: “Well-established capital markets can help African countries lessen vulnerability of their economies to external shocks, by locally marshalling funds through instruments such as bonds and reducing currency and duration mismatches.
“The exchanges have continued to foster regional integration by allowing cross-border capital raising initiatives such as public offers, bond issues and cross-listing of stocks”. He encouraged Kenyans to keep saving and to do this using the capital markets.
Benimadhu, the out-going ASEA president, welcomed the new president and committee members: “We look forward to ASEA’s continuing progress as it seeks to enhance the global competitiveness of member exchanges”.

Open up, urges investor
Allan Thomson, managing director of Dreadnought Capital, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, was reported in Kenya’s Daily Nation that opening up the markets to foreign investors would bring in much needed capital and training for the local markets: “I have respect for regulators in Africa and what they are trying to do. But it is worrying. African capital markets suffer from too much protectionism and stringent rules. The fact is that protected and inaccessible markets remain small.”
He added that membership at most capital markets was expensive, which kept away potential investors: “I once approached a securities exchange in Africa and was told to pay $1 million to become a member yet they were only five. I suggest a zero membership fee because investors bring in skills and capital,” he added.

Diani, Kenya (credit www.planetwindsurfholidays.com)

Diani, Kenya (credit www.planetwindsurfholidays.com)