Archive for the 'Transport' Category

Rwanda Stock Exchange expects 3 share offers (IPOs)

Rwanda Stock Exchange

Rwanda Stock Exchange, credit New Times.

Rwanda Stock Exchange, credit New Times.


The Rwanda Stock Exchange is expecting 3 initial public offers IPOs of shares in the coming months, which will bring the total number of equities listed for trading to 10. No details were disclosed, but the East African newspaper reports the 3 are among the most profitable in their sectors. Pierre Celestin Rwabukumba, bourse CEO, told Bloomberg: “We expect three initial public offerings this year. Due to disclosure restrictions I cannot tell you which ones.”
The East African’s Kabona Esiara wrote: “They are a bank where a principal investor is liquidating interests in order to venture into other businesses and a transport company that is seeking to fund acquisition of a modern fleet. A third company involved in logistics is looking for expansion capital. The latter two are classified as small and medium enterprises (SMEs).” The IPOs are said to be at an advanced stage, with the prospectuses going through Capital Markets Authority checks before roadshows in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda begin.”
Davis Gatharaa, managing director at Baraka Capital was reported saying: “2016 should witness increased market capitalisation, liquidity and turnover largely driven by new listings. We believe the Rwanda Stock Exchange offers a bargain hunting ground for foreign investors helped by a very strong dollar.”
IPOs on the RSE previously were Crystal Telecom (owns 20% of MTN Rwandacell) in July 2015, Bank of Kigali in 2014 and beverages firm (brewer) Bralirwa in 2011, launching the equity market. I&M Bank had issued a corporate bond in 2008. RSE statistics showed RWF34 billion ($45.5 million) in trading from January to November 2015. Market capitalization was RWF2.82 trillion ($3.75bn).
The market saw declines with the Rwanda Share Index down 21% but the All Share Index was down 3.9%. and the paper reports that analysts do not expect strong performance this year. Robert Mathu, CEO of the Capital Market Authority regulator, was reported saying: “Weak global commodity prices weakened the economic outlook for most of sub-Saharan Africa. Coupled with the currency bleeding that was experienced by most of these African countries, this led investors to adopt a wait-and-see approach on African stockmarket prices.”
When the bourse was launched the Capital Market Advisory Council said in 2011 that government planned to offer shares in 6 companies on the domestic exchange, including Commercial Bank of Rwanda, now known as I&M Bank Rwanda, and Sonarwa Insurance. The New Times newspaper reported in April 2015 the government is planning an initial public offering of its 19.8% stake in the Rwandan unit of Nairobi-based I&M Holdings Ltd.
In a report on AFKInsider Rwakumba said the bourse is targeting new retail investors: “ We are focusing a lot on the demand side with specific attention on retail investors. We are increasingly getting more and more new investors; in 2015 we had a surge of new investors of 19.2%. We are to keep building on this momentum to entice new investment so that we don’t face challenges in supply and demand sides.”

Ethiopia’s $865m rail finance part of $15bn rail projects

China rolling stock for Ethiopia (photo from: www.tigraionline.com)

China rolling stock for Ethiopia (photo from: www.tigraionline.com)

The Ethiopian Government recently closed a $865 million financing package to fund part of the development of the country’s giant new railway infrastructure. One banker on the deal was reported by Reuters as saying: “This is a huge financing for Ethiopia, it is the first commercial deal of this size we have seen. Banks have a growing appetite for the Ethiopian market and we expect to see more deals like this.”

ERC is busy with 8 railway routes stretching 5,060 km, at a cost of $2m-$3m per kilometre. This includes rebuilding the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway and lines heading north and south-west. A 36.5km mass transit railway is also being built in the capital, Addis Abeba.

The latest financing is split between a $450m commercial loan for 7 years, which includes a syndicate of lenders from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the US, and pays 375 basis points over Libor. There is also a $415m 13-year loan backed by the Swedish Export Credit Guarantee Board (EKN) with Eksport Kredit Fonden (EKF) and Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV) export-credit agencies also included. The financing will be used to build the Awash-Weldia/Hara Gebeya Railway Project, one of the key railway corridors that will form part of the national railway network and connect northern and central parts of Ethiopia.

Turkey’s global rail company

Parastatal Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) is undertaking the project construction, which will be built in the next 3 years. Turkey’s Yapi Merkezi Insaat ve Sanayi AS is the appointed contractor on the project and will design and construct the 389km railway line starting north east of Awash and going north through Kombolcha to Weldia under a 3-year $1.7bn project signed with ERC in Dec 2012. It will connect with the Addis Abeba-Djibouti line being built and with the Woldia/Hara Gebeya-Semera-Dicheto-Elidar project which will connect northern Ethiopia with Tajourah port in Djibouti, according to this report.

Credit Suisse acted as co-ordinating commercial facility arranger and export credit agency facility lead arranger. Some of the loans have already been disbursed. In addition, Deutsche Bank was the mandated lead arrangers for the EKF financing ($181m), ING Bank for the EKN financing ($83m) and KfW IPEX-Bank for SERV backed facilities ($151m).

In addition, Turk Eximbank provided a parallel financing of $300 million for the Turkish goods and services under the same project. Yapi Merkezi is a leading transportation infrastructure company and built the Dubai Metro Project, Casablanca tramline and Ankara-Konya high-speed rail line.

The financing has also been arranged under the OECD Common Approaches for Officially-Supported Export Credits and Environmental and Social Due Diligence which commit OECD countries to taking environmental and social impacts into account when granting officially supported export credits.

China’s $3bn finance to reach Djibouti

Export-Import Bank of China has pledged loans totalling $3bn to support Chinese railway construction companies on the 756km line from Addis to Djibouti, according to this in-depth overview of Ethiopian and Chinese relations. It runs parallel to the abandoned Imperial Railway Company of Ethiopia track built between 1894 and 1917. China will also provide most of the rolling stock, including locomotives worth millions, according to this story in Financial Times.

India to add $300m

In June 2013, India’s Exim Bank approved a $300m loan at 1.75% interest to finance a link from Asaita (670km from Addis) to Djibouti’s planned port at Tajourah. Debo Tunka, deputy CEO and head of infrastructure development at ERC reportedly said: “The new line will be very important for Ethiopia because it will give us an access to a second port and boost economic activities in the country,” The credit will be released once feasibility studies are done and contractors are still to be appointed. Tajourah will have a dedicated terminal for shipments from Allana Potash which is developing a $642m potash in northeast Ethiopia, according to Bloomberg.

Tanzania’s $10bn China-funded port will start in 2015

China is to build a huge new port and special economic zone in Tanzania worth at least $10 billion. Construction is due to start on 1 July 2015 as the country bids to rival Kenya’s Mombasa as transport hub for East Africa and is also investing in road, railways and major developments in commercial capital Dar es Salaam, 60 kilometres south.

Last Sunday, 26 Oct, the construction agreement for the port and associated 22,000 acres zone was signed in Shenzhen, southern China, with Tanzanian President as witness. According to a statement from the Office of the President, reported on Reuters: “The Tanzanian Government signed a memorandum of understanding with two major international institutions … to develop the Bagamoyo economic zone”.

It was signed with
• China Merchant Holding International (CMHI, based in Hong Kong) which claims to be “the largest public port operator in China and… leading… in the global port industry”. and
• State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) of Oman, the sultanate’s biggest sovereign wealth fund.

An earlier report on website Aid Data said the agreements also covered CMHI building railway infrastructure leading up to the port and the economic zone. Initial financing was $500m in 2013, supplied by Export-Import Bank of China.

Dar es Salaam harbour. Photo: Tom Minney

Dar es Salaam harbour. Photo: Tom Minney

A framework agreement between Tanzania and the Chinese port operator had been signed when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Tanzania in March 2013, the first country on his African tour soon after his inauguration.

An official said it had taken time to set a start date for building work because of other negotiations about infrastructure to link the port to national transport networks. Li Jianhong, executive chairman of CMHI, asked Tanzania’s Government at the signing of the contract to remove obstacles that have delayed implementation. President Kikwete said in the statement: “We will do everything possible to ensure that this project takes off because it will bring enormous economic benefits to the entire country,” according to Reuters.

Separately, Tanzania and China on 24 Oct signed deals with Chinese firms worth more than $1.7 bn, including one to build a satellite city to ease congestion in Dar es Salaam, deepening Beijing’s ties with east Africa. China is financing a $1.2 bn natural-gas pipeline that will run 532 km and in 2011 China’s Sichuan Hongda Co Ltd signed a $3bn deal with Tanzania to mine coal and iron ore. The new port is expected to handle 20 times more cargo than the existing port at Dar es Salaam, according to Aid Data website. It will act as a hub for raw materials coming in and out neighbouring landlocked countries, as well as bringing Chinese manufactured goods into the region, according to this earlier investigative report.

The report also said there were questions after the new port was pushed through Parliament by the ruling party with little debate. Apparently Dar es Salaam port is underused and with enough capacity until 2016-2020 depending on traffic. Other ports such as Tanga in the North and Mtwara in the South are dormant. Bagamoyo is a historic town.

The Bagamoyo agreements include large container and vehicle facilities, combined with smaller scale dry bulk and multi-purpose terminals at Mwambani Bay. It plans to handle more than 20m containers per year and also includes construction of a standard-gauge railway link to the central corridor railway at Ruvu Station and an extended link with the TAZARA railway. A highway to link the port to the Uhuru Highway that goes to Zambia will also be built.

China will have control of the port for 40 years. It provides access to 8 countries as Tanzania borders Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, DR Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, with cargo uptake as far as South Sudan, The Comoro islands, Madagascar and the Seychelles. Journalist Shermax Ngahemera writes: “For China, the leading exporter in the world, it is an ideal site… China is widely involved in extraction industry in central Africa, especially in Zambia, the DR Congo and Angola. Cargo to and from those countries can therefore easily be diverted to Bagamoyo. In 2013 trade between Africa and China reached more than $200bn.”

He dismisses claims that it could have military significance, quoting a senior retired Navy General pointing out that at 14metres it could not berth a submarine. He also quoted the African Development Bank which says transporting supplies in East Africa is more expensive than in any other region, due to inefficient operations at ports in the region, road checkpoints and border controls. Shipping to Tanzania is 25% more than shipping to the larger and more efficient ports in Southern Africa.

China built the TAZARA railway linking Tanzania and Zambia in the 1960s and 1970s.

There are more details on this blog.

Ethiopia lures manufacturing with cheap power and labour costs a tenth of China’s

Low-cost manufacturing is shifting from China to Ethiopia, lured by cheap electricity and labour costs that are a tenth of China’s. Ethiopia is building a name for producing clothes, shoes and other basic goods, while also tackling transport bottlenecks. Trade and Industry minister Tadesse Haile says he wants Ethiopia to export $1.5 billion of textiles a year in 5 years, from $100 million now.
Bureaucracy and slow and poor transport links means that costs are not as low as they should be, according to an excellent report by Reuters (see “Garment-making finds new low-cost home in Ethiopia”). Ongoing power cuts and sometimes poor telecommunications, both still state monopolies, could be added to the list.

Credit: Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency (ERTA)

Credit: Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency (ERTA)

Credit: China Daily

Credit: China Daily

Reuters journalist Aaron Maasho points to Government and foreign investors building factory zones. Companies from China, India, Turkey and the Gulf are setting up manufacturing. He quotes Nara Zhou, spokeswoman for Huajian Group, a Chinese company that makes over 300,000 pairs of boots and sandals a month for retailers such as Guess from a factory near the capital: “We have to move because of manufacturing’s development in China, due to the high increase in wages and in raw materials.. Ethiopia enjoys stability, the Government is eager to industrialize and there is also the low labour cost here – a tenth compared to China.”
Ethiopia is one of Africa’s – and the world’s – fastest-growing economies. Despite the government’s socialist roots, there is no minimum wage, letting firms such as Huajian pay salaries of $50-$70 a month – still higher than the average per capita income. Desta, one of 7,500 employees at Ayka Addis Textile and Investment Group, a Turkish-owned factory 20 kilometres west of Addis Abeba, told Maasho:”Almost every young person in this locality now works here…We all struggled to make ends meet beforehand. We can now afford proper healthcare or sending a child to school.”
Ethiopia’s electricity grid offers electricity at US$0.05 per kilowatt hour, compared with $0.24 cents in neighbouring Kenya and the country is investing heavily in hydropower generation. According to Minister Tadesse: “The availability of power and the cost is cheaper than any other country in the world. We are providing power, land and labour all very cheaply.” Kenya and Uganda are also chasing investment into textiles but cannot compete on input costs against Ethiopia, where wages are 60% lower than the regional average, according to Jaswinder Bedi, Kenya-based chairman of the 27-nation African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation: “Ethiopia is a new player…They are growing and they are growing rapidly.”
The Government projects gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 11% a year, and even the 8.5% forecast for the current year 2014/5 by the International Monetary Fund is impressive. The Government is keen to attract labour-intensive investment and jobs for the 90m Ethiopians – Africa’s second biggest population – with another 2-3m born every year and population growth forecast to continue over 2% a year until 2030.
The Government says it has introduced incentives such as tax holidays and subsidized loans to investors with interest rates as low as 8%. Cheap loans are attractive as inflation is often considerably higher (it has been up to 60%), and the currency has seen steady and managed devaluation, boosting exporters and manufacturers who substitute imports.
Transport remains a bottleneck, it takes on average 44 days to import or export a container, compared to 26 for Rwanda. Amare Teklemariam, chief executive of Ayka Addis, told Reuters: “Our logistics costs are second to inputs. It affects the competitiveness of the company”. Ethiopia is 141 on a 2013 World Bank trade logistics index.
The Government says it investing an amount equivalent to two thirds of GDP into new infrastructure every year, expanding the road network to 136,000 km by next year, from just 50,000 km in 2010 and it is already working on grand plans to build 5,000 km of railway lines by 2020 from less than 800 km at the moment.
For more background see the excellent Reuters report here.

Churchill Avenue, Addis Abeba (www.tourismethiopia.gov.et)

Churchill Avenue, Addis Abeba (www.tourismethiopia.gov.et)

Kenya pledges lower domestic rates after $8.8bn bids for its $2bn Eurobonds

Nairobi National Park (credit: Kenya Tourism Board, www.magicalkenya.com)

Nairobi National Park (credit: Kenya Tourism Board, www.magicalkenya.com)

Global investors offered a record $8.8 billion in bids for Kenya’s 5- and 10-year Eurobonds this month. The country issued $0.5bn in the 5-year bond at 5.875% and $1.5bn in the 10-year at 6.875%. The resounding success is likely to encourage more African governments to speed up plans to come to international markets for credit while cheap global rates continue and appetite is high for frontier markets debt.

This is Africa’s biggest Eurobond issue to date. According to the BBC, investors from the US took about 67% of the issue and UK investors about 25%. Bond rates on Kenya’s 10-year debt in issue came down since the new issue was first announced on 16 June to 6.41% which is 381 basis points over the similarly dated US treasuries, according to Bloomberg.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was reported on Reuters telling a news conference: “By accessing these external funds, we will reduce government borrowing from the domestic markets, thereby helping drive down interest rates which should boost investment, spur economic growth, provide more employment opportunities to our people.” He described the sale as “a vote of confidence”. At a state of the economy address on 25 June he said the funds would be used prudently to fund infrastructure including transport and energy and to fund agriculture.

Cabinet secretary for the National Treasury (equivalent to Finance Minister) Henry Rotich said: “Investors were impressed with the management of our economy and perceived it to be very strong.” He said it would diversify government’s financing for development programmes. He also said the Government would come back to the markets in the next fiscal year (starting 1 July) but may consider a sukuk bond (see here for UK’s £200 million sukuk bond success) or a diaspora bond. The sovereign is also set to be a benchmark for Kenyan firms issuing corporate bonds on international markets, similar to the success of Nigeria’s sovereign issue.

Rotich said that from 8 July the Central Bank of Kenya would start setting a new reference rate for banks, the Kenya Banks Reference Rate. Banks would have to use this, although they would still be able to add risk premiums according to the creditworthiness of borrowers. This is also expected to lower interest costs and the rate would be set according to the average of the CBK’s main lending rate and the average yield on benchmark 91-day Treasury Bills every 6 months.

The Government announced its 2014/15 budget this month and forecast a budget deficit of 7.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) and local borrowing of KES190.8bn ($2.18bn) or 4.1% of GDP, according to Reuters. Macro-economist Rotich was a colleague when Kenyatta was Finance Minister and the two are working together to speed up Kenya’s economic growth to over 10%. According to a story in the Financial Times blog Beyond Brics, Rotich says Kenya will grow at 5.8% this year and 6.4% next year, however the World Bank has just cut its forecast from an earlier 5.3% forecast for this year and forecasts 4.7% for both years.

The blog cites the World Bank report: “The new projections reflect the effects of the drought, the deteriorating security situation, the low level of budget execution, and tighter global credit as the US Federal Reserve winds down its expansive monetary policy.”

The World Bank says drought has cost Kenya $12bn over the last 10 years and that foreign direct investment (FDI) is only 1% of GDP. The blog reports: “The World Bank is also increasingly preoccupied by the impact of inequality on growth and stability.” The World Bank is optimistic and is backing Kenya with a $4bn programme, double the Eurobond.

Kenya plans $43bn of infrastructure by 2017, but there are questions as to whether they get value for money in a $3.7bn deal with Chinese for new rail and rolling stock. Kenya is likely to become a middle-income country by September after re-basing because of statistical revisions.

Citadel Capital’s Rift Valley Railway opens Uganda-S Sudan trade after 20 years

Rift Valley Railways (RVR) has repaired 500 kilometers of track between Tororo in eastern Uganda and Gulu in the north. This opens north and northwest Uganda to rail services after 20 years of disuse and inefficiency and provides businesses targeting South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo with cheaper transport, including for bulk items.
RVR is a “platform company” for Citadel Capital (citadelcapital.com, CCAP.CA on the Egyptian Exchange), which controls investments worth $9.5 billion and is a leading investment company in Africa and Middle East focusing on energy, transport, agrifoods, mining, and cement and able to tackle large and long-term projects. It operates freight rail services in Kenya and Uganda on an exclusive basis with a mandate to operate railway services on 2,352 km of track linking the port of Mombasa with the interiors of Kenya and Uganda, including Kampala.
Uganda’s President, HE Yoweri Museveni, attended the relaunch of the Tororo-Gulu-Packwach link with Citadel Capital Chairman and Founder Ahmed Heikal, TransCentury Director/Chairman RVR Ngugi Kiuna and BOMI Holdings Chairman Charles Mbire, as well as local government officials and key executives from Citadel Capital and RVR.
According to the press release Dr Heikal said: “Rift Valley Railways is the investment that first brought Citadel Capital to East Africa, a region many of us at the firm now view as our second home on this great continent that we share. Intra-regional trade currently accounts for just 9% of Africa’s total commerce, and we believe this new line is an important milestone that will further complement ongoing Ugandan Government initiatives aimed at facilitating trade on the continent.
“RVR is an excellent example of what can be achieved in Uganda and the continent in the future. It is truly a global financing effort — with shareholders like Bomi in Uganda, our partners Transcentury in Kenya, and Citadel Capital from Egypt.” According to the press release, he said that funding comes from OPIC (US Government arm which finances private sector), sovereign and quasi-sovereign wealth funds from the UAE and Norway, the International Finance Corporation, and the German, French and Dutch governments. RVR’s lenders also include the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), KfW Entwicklungsbank (The German Development Bank, KfW), FMO (the Dutch development bank), Kenya’s Equity Bank, the ICF Debt Pool, and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO). Africa Railways, Citadel Capital’s platform for investment in the African rail transport sector, counts among its equity investors the IFC African, Latin American and Caribbean Fund LP (ALAC, the private equity fund managed by the IFC Asset Management Company LLC); FMO; German development finance institution DEG; FISEA, a vehicle dedicated to investment in Sub-Saharan Africa owned by France’s Agence Française de Développement and managed by its subsidiary PROPARCO; and the International Finance Corporation. Technical partners are global experts from America Latina Logistica in Brazil.
RVR Group Chief Executive Officer, Darlan de David said that RVR will expand in Gulu and eventually transform the town into a logistical hub for its operations in northern Uganda and the surrounding regions.
Citadel Capital Managing Director Karim Sadek noted: “This new service will play a vital role in promoting regional integration and trade by providing access to areas that were once closed to rail transportation. Working with logistics partners and our own logistics subsidiary, East Africa Rail and Handling, we will provide end-to-end transport and delivery solutions for customers in this important part of East Africa.”
The financing of RVR was previously covered on this blog in 2011.

Hana Mining could speed trans-Kalahari railway

The dual-listing of Hana Mining Ltd last week on the Foreign Venture Capital Board of the Botswana Stock Exchange (www.bse.co.bw) could bring a giant new cross-Africa railway closer. Hana is also listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange venture board and the Frankfurt exchange. It plans a copper-silver mine near Ghanzi.

The company’s shares started trading on the BSE on 23 May, according to an announcement. On 14 May the company released its most recent (NI 43-101 compliant) preliminary economic assessment which calls for US$285.5 million initial capital expenditure to create a 10,000 tonne per day open-pit mining and milling operation. This is expected to produce approximately 66.4m pounds of copper and 878,000 ounces of silver annually over a minimum 13-year mine life. It says the Ghanzi property is one of Africa’s premier future copper-silver resources.

Hana Mining’s CEO and Chairman, Marek Kreczmer, was quoted as saying: “The listing of the company’s shares on the BSE is an important step in enhancing the relationship of the Company with the government of Botswana in that it allows the people of Botswana to invest directly in the company and gives the company access to some of the largest investment funds in Africa. Also, by establishing a listing in Botswana, we are aligning the goals of the Company with the people of Botswana.”

The Ghanzi Project covers 2,149 square kilometres in the centre of the Kalahari Copper Belt in northwestern Botswana. Favourable geology extends over an estimated strike length of 600 kilometres. The closest existing railhead to port is at Gobabis, in Namibia, approximately 550 km away. A feasibility study has been carried out with funding from the World Bank and the governments of Botswana and Namibia on completion of a rail link to connect Botswana with the Namibian port of Walvis Bay, on the Atlantic coast. More mining projects will make the railway more likely.

Construction is well advanced on a 600MW expansion of the government-owned Moropule Power Plant, which secured US$825m project funding in May 2009. The Trans-Kalahari highway passes within 15 km of the Ghanzi property, which is also near local population centres and workforce.

Precision Air IPO launches tomorrow in Tanzania

The Initial Public Offering (IPO) of 58,841,750 shares at TSh 475 (US$ 28 cents) each in Tanzania’s Precision Air Services is set to start on 7 October and continue to 28 October. The results are to be announced on 11 November and the company expects to list and start trading on the Dar Es Salaam Stock Exchange www.dse.co.tz from 8 December. The minimum application is for 200 shares.
The airline aims to raise TSh27.9 billion (US$16.7m) to finance expansion, with most dedicated to capital spending and 6.5% for working capital. The IPO represents 30% of the company’s shares. Chairman Michael Shirima was quoted in local newspaper, The Citizen, as saying the offer price was discounted by 11% from the expert valuation.
The company prospectus was to be available on the Precision Air website (www.precisionairtz.com) from 4 October, although we cannot find it, and printed copies are also to be available from all stock brokers by today, 6 October.
At a press briefing, Shirima invited the government, individuals and public institutions to contact registered stock brokers and some banks for the application forms, noting that people might buy the shares in any CRDB Bank branch or Stanbic Bank branches across the country. He told: “It should not be surprising if the government buys shares and has partial ownership of the company. Precision Air is a Tanzanian airline and 51% of the shares should be owned by the locals.”
Kenya Airways currently owns 49% of the company. Precision Air is looking at new routes to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola. During the briefing, Precision Air CEO Alfonse Kioko said talks with Angolan authorities were in final stages and they may start the route early in 2012: “The fleet expansion plan includes the increase of the number of aircraft and launching of new routes.” The airline was launched in 1993.