Archive for the 'Zambia' Category
May 13th, 2013 by Tom Minney
African countries (apart from South Africa) are set to place $7 billion of debt this year, buoyed by low interest rates and a huge global appetite. According to this article in Bloomberg Businessweek by Roben Farzad, this year’s debt issues will be more than the previous 5 years combined and African capital markets are feeling the boom.
No wonder international investors who are “grabbing for yield and growth” (according to Farzad) are looking to Africa which the International Monetary Fund forecasts will grow at 5.6% this year against 1.2% in developed countries. But Africa’s terrible infrastructure, including electricity, bridges, roads and wastewater treatment, is costing African sat least 2 percentage points of growth. Some of the new bond proceeds are likely to go on infrastructure, which needs investments of up to $93 billion a year.
The article cites research from JP Morgan Chase that average yields on African debt fell 88 basis points in the past 12 months, to 4.35%. “Nigeria, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Namibia, the Congo, Senegal, and the Seychelles have all seen their borrowing costs fall this year.”
“It’s a hugely exciting story,” Jim O’Neill, the chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management who plans to retire this year, said in an April 23 interview with Bloomberg Television in London, writes Bloomberg reporter Chris Kay: “The only thing one has to be a little bit careful of are many of those markets are still very undeveloped and suddenly there’s a lot of people around the world regarding Africa to be sort of fashionable and trendy.”
Farzad wonders how easy it will be to “service so much easy-money debt when the credit cycle turns, or if commodities and political stability decline. At least for now, though, you get the impression that sub-Saharan Africa has turned a corner in global capital markets.” And journalist Chris Kay quotes Charles Robertson, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital: “For governments, great, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I still don’t believe investors are getting risk-adjusted returns in the dollar-bond space.”
According to Kay, debt-forgiveness programmes have helped 45 African nations cut debt to about 42% of gross domestic product this year from an average 120% in 2000, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and IMF estimates. South Africa’s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says debt will peak at 40% of GDP in 2016, compared with more than 100% for the U.S. and an average 93% in the eurozone.
Another reason why Africa offers lower risk is that taxpayers have no expectations of massive social and other spending in nearly all countries. Meanwhile global appetites are shown by the $20 trillion reportedly invested in debt at less than 1% yield.
Some potential issues
Nigeria planning to offer $1bn in Eurobonds and a $500m Diaspora bond, according to Minister of State for Finance Yerima Ngama. It was recently included in JP Morgan and Barclays local bond indices. Yields on the existing $500m Eurobond, due 2021, were down to 4.05% by 3 May, from a peak of 7.30% in October 2011.
Kenya really boosted investor confidence in Africa with its peaceful outcome after elections on 4 March and the Finance Minister Robinson Githae said on 11 March they could be in line to issue up to $1bn by September.
Ghana fuelled by an oil boom, has seen its debt yields on the 10-year bonds down 3.43 percentage points to 4.82% since their issue in October 2007, said Bloomberg.
Zambia successfully raised $750m last year at 5.625% and is thinking to return for another $1bn. Yields were up 20 basis points to 5.66% by 3 May.
Tanzania has asked Citigroup to help it get a credit rating before issuing a maiden Eurobond of at least $500m. Finance Minister William Mgimwa said a total of $2.5bn was bid for a private offering of $600m of Government debt in March. According to this story on Reuters that bond’s pricing and structure at the time had shocked markets and appeared to benefit investors: “The cheaply priced US$600m seven-year private placement was described as a “disaster” by one banker. And certainly the immediate secondary market performance looked terrible. The bonds jumped 2.75 points on their first day of trading.. That works out at a cost to the government of US$4m a year in coupon payments, assuming that the bonds could have priced at the tighter level.”
Angola did a private sale of $1bn in debt in 2012 and will go for $2 billion this year, according to Andrey Kostin Chairman of VTB Bank OJSC, who helped arrange the first issuance, last October.
Mozambique and Uganda may also issue foreign currency bonds of $500m each, according to Moody’s last October.
Gabon’s $1bn of dollar bonds are down 4.78 percentage points to 3.13% since they were issued in December 2007.
October 5th, 2012 by Tom Minney
Leading African private equity group Actis has won the title for “Best Developer in Africa” in the 8th annual global Euromoney Real Estate Survey run by finance magazine Euromoney. To collect data for the award, Euromoney was canvassing the opinions of senior real-estate bankers, developers, investment managers, corporate end-users and advisory firms in over 70 countries since March. It was the biggest Euromoney real estate poll with over 1,900 responses. Actis invests mainly in retail and office developments in high-growth markets such as Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia. It launched its first real estate fund in 2006 and concentrates on institutional quality investments. It is sub-Saharan Africa’s most experienced private equity real estate investor and developer, according to a press release.
Current Actis developments include Ghana’s first green-certified building One Airport Square in Accra; East Africa’s biggest retail centre Garden City in Nairobi, and Ikeja City Mall in Lagos which welcomed 45,000 people on its first day of trading in December 2011. Past investments include Accra Mall in Accra and The Junction in Nairobi.
According to the press release, David Morley, Head of Real Estate at Actis, said: “Sub-Saharan Africa has a population of 800 million people and is the fastest urbanising region in the world; an increasingly sophisticated consumer class seek places to live, eat, shop and relax in the face of chronic undersupply. There is tremendous opportunity for those who take up the challenge and we are very proud to see our work recognised in this way.” Euromoney Editor Clive Horwood said, “The winners of this year’s Euromoney survey are those that exhibited the ability to innovate and make best use of the inherent strengths of their organisation. In Africa, in particular, there are great opportunities for those companies best equipped to operate in challenging markets. Through the Euromoney real estate survey, the market has recognised Actis as the leader in this field.”
Nairobi’s Garden City
In July Actis confirmed its investment in Nairobi’s Garden City, a 32-acre mixed use development on the recently expanded 8-lane Thika Highway. This will be a 50,000 sqm retail mall, with commercial premises, 500 new homes and a 4-acre central park, offering family friendly leisure space for Kenyans and visitors to the city. The park will also house an outdoor events arena for the staging of concerts and shows. Groundbreaking is due in December 2012 and completion targeted for May 2014, according to a press release.
Actis is working with leading retailers, including a flagship store for South Africa’s Game, their first in Kenya. Letting is underway with specialist agents Knight Frank Kenya and Broll in South Africa. There are detailed discussions with other foreign retailers looking to enter the rapidly-expanding Kenyan market, such as South African fashion group, Foschini. There is a strong focus on environmental features and the aim is to achieve the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for a retail mall in East Africa. This brings down operating costs for tenants by reducing electricity and water consumption.
Accra Mall sold
In May Actis confirmed that it had sold its 85% shareholding in Ghana’s Accra Mall to South Africa’s commercial and retail property developer Atterbury and financial services group Sanlam. Actis managed the development process, invested the equity and raised the debt to finance the project, working in partnership with renowned Ghanaian entrepreneurs, the Owusu-Akyaw family. The mall opened its doors in July 2008 fully let, and attracts 135,000 shoppers each week, according to a press release.
Accra Mall is Ghana’s first A-grade shopping and leisure centre, home to international brands such as Shoprite and Game, as well as Ghanaian brands including Kiki Clothing and Nallem. The trade sale demonstrates an increasing interest in Ghana by foreign investors and also reflects the acute demand for high quality real estate assets in sub-Saharan Africa.
Actis 100% owned
Also in May, Actis said it had bought the UK Government’s remaining 40% shareholding in the company. In the deal announced on 1 May, the government will receive a cash payment of US$13m (£8m) and will participate in future profits as Actis’s investments are realised over the next decade. To date, Actis has invested £1.7bn on behalf of the UK government’s direct finance institution CDC and has returned £3.1bn to CDC and by extension the British taxpayer.
Paul Fletcher, Senior Partner at Actis, said: “When Actis opened for business in 2004 our purpose was to attract private capital to countries that were dependent on aid and to legitimise them as investment destinations. Over the last eight years our work in Africa, Asia and Latin America, investing in over 70 companies employing 113,000 people, has shown what is possible. Successive governments have shown real vision backing a private sector model like Actis. We are pleased that HMG has realised the value of their decision to support Actis from the start. We look forward to continuing our work, investing in high quality companies in high growth countries and delivering strong returns for our investors.”
September 14th, 2012 by Tom Minney
“There is a great appetite for Africa credit and a lack of supply,” is the comment from Standard Bank group analyst Yvette Babb interviewed by Bloomberg as Zambia went to the global market yesterday (13 September) with a USD750 million 10-year bond priced at a final coupon of 5.625%. It is Zambia’s first international bond and will be used to fund its budget and invest in infrastructure.
Reuters reports that the bond has “come 25bp tighter than initial guidance after generating an order book in excess of USD11bn”. Barclays and Deutsche Bank are the leads for the bond issue, although a roadshow reportedly planned for August was delayed.
Bloomberg also quotes Sashi Kumi, a trader at Nedbank Capital “Demand looks very good. The Africa story, in general, is carrying favor with investors. People see great growth on the continent.” The story noted that yields on Ghana’s eurobonds maturing 2017 have dropped 170 basis points, or 1.7 percentage points, this year to 4.85%.
Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s have both rated the bond B+. Fitch says that this matched the southern African nation’s sovereign rating, which has negative outlook. It is 4 levels below investment grade. Fitch comments: “Zambia’s ‘B+’ rating is supported by its political stability, combined with a decade of growth above 6%, buoyed by macroeconomic stability, policy reforms as well as the emergence of a vibrant copper mining sector. Added to this, the country has a track record of fiscal discipline under IMF surveillance, with gross public debt of 22% of GDP, below the ‘B’ category median. External finances are a key strength, with the IMF/World Bank Debt Sustainability Assessment putting the risk of debt distress at low. External debt ratios are below ‘B’ and ‘BB’ peer group medians.
“The prospects for growth beyond 2012 are less certain. Growth in mining production could be constrained by weaker growth in China, Zambia’s main export destination, as well as persistent capacity constraints. The revision of Zambia’s Outlook to Negative on 1st March 2012 reflected concerns about the direction of economic policy since the change of government in 2011. Concerns centred around the reversal of a privatisation deal without as yet compensating the investing parties, which could undermine property rights, while proposed reforms of the mining and banking sectors could risk unintended consequences in terms of their potential impact on investment, and consequently on the growth outlook and macro-economic stability.”
S&P also highlighted the strong growth story – Bloomberg says it will grow by 7.7% in 2012, S&P says real per capita GDP will increase by slightly more than 5%. However, it also highlights policy issues: “We estimate GDP per capita at $1,510 in 2012. In addition, the balance of payments is vulnerable to swings in copper prices (copper accounts for about 80% of exports) and the government’s economic policy direction since the October 2011 elections remains uncertain. The ratings are supported by promising investment and economic growth trends, a fairly strong external balance sheet, and moderate general government debt, which has benefited from debt relief and nominal GDP growth.
“We believe some cabinet members’ apparently uncoordinated and sometimes contradictory views have added to economic policy uncertainty. This relates in particular to windfall tax, export tracking, and the government’s participation in the mining sector. We view positively the government’s objective to promote good governance and transparency. However, its reversals of several privatizations on the grounds of a lack of transparency and flawed processes may be perceived as politically motivated.”
A report by Carol Dean of the Wall Street Journal highlights the fundamentals: “It is looking to borrow money more cheaply than Portugal and only slightly more expensive than Spain. But rather than raise money to support a collapsing economy, Zambia’s money is going to be used for real economic development and growth. That is something rare in the old developed world. The proceeds are to be invested in developing energy, railways, roads and other infrastructure projects. In stark contrast to the euro-zone’s sluggish growth at best, Zambia’s economy has grown from 6.4% to 7.7% over the 2009 to 2012 period and enjoyed falling inflation, low debt and a stable balance of payments.
“And despite the pitfalls of possible mining reforms and nationalizations, the rare opportunity to invest in a sovereign growth story plus the ever present hunt for yield, is likely to make this deal fly.”
July 6th, 2012 by Tom Minney
The 10 stock exchanges of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are working together to increase the effectiveness of their markets. The Committee of SADC Stock Exchanges (CoSSE) has agreed to concentrate on 6 priority areas in support of regional moves to more efficient capital markets.
The stock exchanges will explore ways to use technology to link their trading and order systems and work together to ensure clearing and settlement systems align with global standards adopted in April. They are working closely with SADC institutions to support development of regional systems, including payment and will boost visibility of trading data and enhance their joint website (www.cossesadc.org), launched in April by the JSE and I-Net Bridge. The bourses will also pool resources to accelerate training and skills development for capital markets staff.
CoSSE members are Botswana Stock Exchange, Malawi Stock Exchange, Stock Exchange of Mauritius, Bolsa de Valores de Moçambique, Namibian Stock Exchange, South Africa’s JSE Ltd, Swaziland Stock Exchange, Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange of Tanzania, Zambia’s Lusaka Stock Exchange, and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. They met on 25 June in Gaborone, Botswana in a meeting convened by CoSSE with support from SADC Secretariat.
“Stock exchanges have their roles cut out in each of our economies to augment our governments’ efforts to grow national economies for the greater good and as part of the SADC region’s struggle for growth to escape poverty,” says Mrs Beatrice Nkanza, Chairperson of CoSSE and CEO of the Lusaka Stock Exchange. “They are the channel for long-term risk capital, which is urgently needed for the region’s businesses, infrastructure providers and even governments. They also encourage saving and investment. CoSSE members are working closely together to support SADC initiatives and to make individual markets even more effective”.
CoSSE was set up in 1997 as a collective body of the stock exchanges in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). It promotes co-operation and collaboration between member stock exchanges and is resourced by a Secretariat, supported by the JSE. SADC defines CoSSE’s role in the Finance and Investment Protocol and other policy documents and CoSSE has links to ministerial and senior treasury bodies and also works closely with the Committee of Insurance, Securities and Non-Banking Financial Authorities (CISNA) and the Committee of Central Bank Governors (CCBG).
CoSSE had set up three working committees to implement six business plans, prioritized from the initiatives identified in its Strategic Plan 2011-2016. These are:
1. Legal and Secretariat working committee – chaired by Geoff Rothschild of the JSE. This is responsible for formalizing and resourcing the Secretariat, and for continuing and improving liaison with CISNA and other SADC organs.
2. Market Development working committee – chaired by Vipin Mahabirsingh of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius. CoSSE has been developing models for inter-connectivity between automated trading systems at some or all member exchanges. The working committee will help member exchanges ensure their clearing and settlement systems comply with new global standards and support regional initiatives.
3. Capacity-Building and Visibility working committee – chaired by Anabela Chambuca Pinho of the Bolsa de Valores de Moçambique. This will liaise with member exchanges, regulators, stockbrokers, investors and others to develop and coordinate training courses. It will also enhance the new CoSSE website, help members to upgrade their own websites and to ensure their trading data and company news are disseminated internationally.
Progress will be guided by an Executive Committee, consisting of CoSSE Chairperson Mrs Nkanza, CoSSE Vice-Chairperson Gabriel Kitua (CEO of the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange in Tanzania) and the three working committee chairpersons. The strategic plan was developed with assistance from FinMark Trust.
For more information contact
• Beatrice Nkanza, CEO Lusaka Stock Exchange, tel +260 (1) 228391 or email nkanzab [at] luse.co.zm
• Gabriel Kitua, CEO Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange, tel +255 22 2135779 or email gabriel.kitua [at] dse.co.tz.
• Pearl Moatshe of CoSSE Secretariat, tel +27 11 5207118 or email pearlm [at] jse.co.za
April 24th, 2012 by Tom Minney
A new securities exchange in Lusaka (Zambia) is installing tried-and-tested bond and derivative trading software and says it will be ready to launch operations next month, May 2012. BaDEx has trading platforms that include spot and derivative trading in bonds, currency, commodities (such as derivatives on metals and silo certificates on the spot market) and a variety of other derivatives including agricultural commodities, precious metals, equity and energy.
There is also a central scrip depository system (CSD) with a separate core management, risk solution, surveillance and settlement systems and platforms. The CSD will apparently link to CSDs in South Africa, Europe and the US and with the central Bank of Zambia’s real-time gross settlement system.
BaDEx, also known as Bond and Derivatives Exchange, reports that it was licensed by Zambia’s Securities and Exchange Commission on 1 January 2012 and the licence covers all securities under the Securities Act – bonds, equity, derivatives and commodities. It has signed a contract effective 12 March with South Africa’s STT (www.sttsoftware.co.za, which has also provided the JSE’s bond trading software for many years), for STT to immediately deploy trading, clearing, settlement and surveillance systems, and systems for auctioning government securities that will be suitable for the central bank, among others.
Dominic Kabanje, CEO of BaDEx, told AfricanCapitalMarketsNews that the exchange is a public-liability company owned by “banks, pension funds and private companies including the major securities dealers in Zambia”. He says they started with 6 local stockbroking members (approach stockbrokers Madison Asset, Integral Initiatives, Intermarket Securities, Laurence Paul Investment Services, Pangaea Renaissance, African Alliance Securities for more information) but are also looking for remote members, working with a South African merchant bank.
Mr Kabanje said they are now doing primary listings. BaDEx will start secondary trading using an online, Internet-based platform when the systems go live and are also seeking to partner with an international clearing house. In a press release he said they had been excited for 18 months: “We are glad to have finally concluded and signed the contract with our software systems vendors. STT applications have been tried and tested in the South African financial markets at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), who have used this software for the past 18 years.
“We are currently setting up a network of domestic and foreign-based settlement banks, local and remote foreign members and dealers, institutional underwriters, a clearing house as well as primary panels of domestic, regional and international investors. We plan to link up all willing domestic and regional banks, institutional investors, pension funds, treasury departments, the local central bank, the government debt management office and the local member brokers to our system by providing interfaces and online access to our platforms.
“We will also shortly join the international community of CSDs in South Africa, Europe and the United States initially to facilitate faster and smoother clearing of international securities transactions. The applications from STT and others will enable us to do this and in addition will allow us to compete internationally for bond and derivatives business”.
“I do not see any obstacles from the Zambian side for companies wishing to list. Even SA companies can list on BaDEx. We want Zambian companies to dual list on JSE and BaDEx. At BaDEx we are implementing SADC protocols on the free-trade area as well as enhancing intra-regional trade. An exchange is one such conduit for regional trade. We will, however, have to deal with the problem of exchange controls in SA.”
Michelle Janke, STT’s Managing Director, said the company was happy to reach further into SADC: “We have worked closely with the executives of BaDEx for more than a year, and the closely formed relationship will stand us in good stead over the coming months whilst we deliver all the software applications and prepare the new securities market in Zambia to go live. We hope that in due course through an ongoing cooperation between BaDEx and regional merchant banks we can assist in transforming Lusaka into a key financial hub within the SADC region. We will be there to make this happen operationally.”
Products to be traded include: corporate bonds, municipal bonds, currency futures and options, interest-rate derivatives (including swaps), equity derivatives and commodity derivatives on underlying copper, cobalt, gold, oil, wheat, soya and maize spot markets, bond derivatives market, spot bond market, spot and currency derivatives market, commodities derivatives (including metals) and the commodities spot markets (with silo certificates), agricultural derivatives market, spot equity and equity derivatives markets, precious metals derivatives market and energy derivatives market.
November 16th, 2011 by Tom Minney
2012 could be an active year for African bonds and particularly eurobonds, judging by the 5.5 times oversubscription for the “Namibia 21″, the country’s debut $500 million, 10-year Eurobond. According to a recent story on Reuters, Florian von Hartig, head of debt capital markets at Standard Bank which was one of the lead arrangers,said it demonstrated the appetite for liquid African paper. He added that 2012 was likely to be active if the markets bear up: “I think Namibia is just another sign of how much African credits are in demand. The economy in Africa has been doing very well at times when the so-called developed world (has experienced) zero growth or even recession. Naturally, investors want to get exposure to an area where growth is steady so it ticks all the boxes.”
Zambia is among countries also considering a 10-year $500m Eurobond. Reuters quotes Stuart Culverhouse, chief economist at London-based broker Exotix as saying finding the best moment in turbulent markets will be key: “The external environment is driving a lot of considerations at the moment and therefore finding a window of opportunity in the market so the issuer can get the best possible terms will be a crucial factor.” He added that Zambia’s strong fundamentals, including increasing copper production, single-digit inflation and relatively low debt, made it an attractive issuer. “I think the underlying strengths are there to elicit investor interest, but the new government has to build on that and consolidate on that rather than reverse direction,” he said.
Kevin Daly, emerging market debt portfolio manager at Aberdeen Asset Management, which bought the Namibian Eurobond, said it depends on the terms of the issue: “There’s enough African names in the market to use as a pricing reference. When you look at current yields on Senegal 10-year bond it’s around 8.3/8.4%, so that’s a good starting point for them.”
Namibia’s Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, said in an interview yesterday (15 Nov) on ABN digital; “We think that this does not only enable us to raise the funding that we need to finance our deficit, but it has enabled us also to realize the objective of providing a benchmark for future raising of funds by Namibia’s private sector, which is very important for the Namibian economy going forward.”
March 3rd, 2011 by Tom Minney
Fitch Ratings agency (www.fitchratings.com) has given Zambia a “B+” rating on long-term foreign and local currency, with a stable outlook. Fitch has also assigned a Short-term rating of ‘B’ and a Country Ceiling of ‘BB-’. This could pave the way for a $500 million Eurobond, according to Standard Bank, but the country has plenty of local deposits seeking homes as local interest rates are attractive and the currency that looks strong against the US dollar.
Veronica Kalema, Director in Fitch’s Sovereign Group, says in a statement: “The ratings reflect the marked improvement in Zambia’s economic performance since 2003 driven by improved macroeconomic stability, economic liberalisation, rising private investment and production in the mining sector, and more recently, a strong agricultural performance.
“The rating is also supported by Zambia’s resilience to the global financial crisis, with growth accelerating in 2009 and 2010, and comfortable external and public debt ratios, which deteriorated only slightly in 2009 before recovering in 2010. After spiking in 2008 and 2009, inflation fell to high single digits in 2010 and the currency has been stronger and more stable since H2 2009.”
Fitch notes real GDP growth has averaged 6.3% since 2006 and accelerated to 7.1% in 2010. Copper production reached a record high of 820,000 metric tonnes (MT) in 2010, ahead of targets, and the Government expects it to reach 1m MT in 2012. Standard Bank, in a research note today (3 March) notes that the price of copper is up from $2,800/tonne in Dec 08 and passed $10,000/tonne during Feb 11. Zambia also grew more maize than it could consume locally last year and exported some. The harvest is looking even better this year.
“Predictably, the country’s trade balance has improved to record a large surplus during 2010, roughly 20% of GDP,” writes Standard Bank analyst Phumelele Mbiyo. Fitch also gives B+ ratings to Angola, Ghana, Kenya. Nigeria and Gabon (BB-) are more highly rated, Mozambique and Rwanda (B) are lower.
The Government is planning extensive infrastructure investment, chiefly on energy and roads. in 2008 it has postponed plans for a $1 billion bond due to the global financial crisis. In 2010 it has raised funds separately to extend the Kariba North Bank power station and build the Kafue Gorge Lower power plant. This would cut the size of any potential Eurobond.
October 17th, 2010 by Tom Minney
The African bond market continues to expand, with many countries raising money on world capital markets. They are taking advantage of low global interest rates and many investors turning to African debt, partly fuelled by better economic management in Africa. Yields are near zero in Europe, the U.S. and Japan, and investors are looking to new frontiers.
Africa has massive capital needs to fuel its anticipated long growth run. The temptations to rack up debt again remain. The World Bank estimates that Africa needs to spend $93 billion a year on power, transport and water projects over the next decade to lift growth in the world’s poorest continent.
Bloomberg news agency reports that Nigeria appointed Barclays Capital in October as an adviser for its planned $500 million Eurobond. Zambia plans to raise $1 billion on the back of a planned sovereign credit rating this year.
Other African nations are dusting off plans to sell Eurobonds – bonds issued in an international currency, not the local one – to international investors. Many plans had been shelved in the global financial crisis in late 2008.
Bloomberg quotes Tanzania’s Deputy Finance Minister Omar Yusuf Mzee as saying that Tanzania is returning to work on its bond plan after postponing a sale of $500 million of the securities in 2008.
Angola has been talking for some time about raising $1 billion – $2 bln through international bonds this year. It received a B+ credit rating from Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings in May.
Kenya plans to wait on its planned $500 million sovereign bond as the global recovery is “still uncertain,” according to Geoffrey Mwau, economic secretary in the Finance Ministry reportedly in August.
Sudan is next year to seek investors from the Persian Gulf region for $300 million of Islamic bonds because U.S. economic sanctions have denied the country access to other international markets, central bank Governor Sabir Hassan told the agency in an interview in Khartoum on 6 Sept.
Economic growth for Africa is expected to be more than 5% a year, says Bloomberg, fuelled partly by investment from China and India and partly by its own growing consumer spending. Infrastructure to be upgraded includes obsolete road and rail networks and power generation, where may countries face more power shortages – Bloomberg says that a continent of 1 billion people that has electricity capacity equivalent to Spain.
Bloomberg cites Samir Gadio, an emerging- markets strategist in London at Standard Bank Group Ltd: “The timing is perfect. Global yields are extremely low and that’s pushed a lot of countries to tap international markets. We’ll see good demand for these bonds. There’s just so much excess liquidity across the globe.”
South Africa’s $2 billion bond maturing in March 2020, yielded 3.69% recently (on 11 October), 138 basis points lower than when the securities were sold in June, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The yield on Ghana’s 8.5% dollar-denominated bonds, due October 2017, has fallen 239 basis points to 5.78% during 2010.
According to the report, David Damiba, managing director in London for Renaissance Asset Managers,says: “It’s a fantastic idea to diversify their sources of funding. It’s important that these countries would want a benchmark bond” so that other assets can be priced appropriately by investors.
Another proponent is Stuart Culverhouse, chief economist of London-based Exotix Ltd., which advises clients on investments in illiquid markets. “Africa is relatively new to investors. After the last 20 to 30 years of really bad news, the past 5 to 6 years have been generally positive. There’s a cash pile just waiting to be invested. African Eurobonds will definitely be well-received.”
Some economic fundamentals have improved in Ghana, Zambia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. Most of their foreign debt, totaling about $33 billion, was canceled by lenders such as the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. starting in 2000.
Nigeria’s sovereign debt was 15% of gross domestic product in 2009, according to data from the IMF. That compares with 115% in Greece, 77% in Portugal and 116% in Italy. The report cites the IMF’s April 2010 Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa. as saying in 2009 government debt was 26% of GDP in Zambia, 37% in Tanzania and 60% in Ghana.
Eurobond sellers will have to rein in fiscal deficits and limit any shortfall in their current accounts, to show that they can repay the money.
“It puts the countries on their toes,” said Kofi Wampah, first deputy governor of the central bank of Ghana, which is considering selling its second security in international markets, speaking to Bloomberg in an interview from his office in Accra on 7 Oct: “You have to ensure that your fundamentals are always right.”
July 31st, 2010 by Tom Minney
Zambia’s Lusaka Stock Exchange (LUSE – www.luse.co.zm) will host the 14th African Stock Exchange Association (ASEA) conference from 10 -12 November. The theme this year is “Integration of African Capital Markets through Technology” which occupies a few sessions are dedicated to this (see the list below and the conference pages on the website).
The meeting will be in the tourist capital, Livingstone, which has international flights, but in quiet moments you can still hear the impressive Victoria Falls. LUSE Chief Executive Officer, Beatrice Nkanza.says the stock exchange has been preparing for the conference since 2008, when it was agreed Zambia would host this year’s event. Previously LUSE successfully hosted the 5th conference in September 1998.
The agenda includes: capital markets and economic growth in Africa, the role of financial systems in capital market developments, a road map for the future of African stock exchanges, regulation, investor protection and corporate governance, credit rating, IT solutions & the role of technology, valuation, research, asset management, bond market development strategies, regional Integration, cross-border securities settlement and
private equity vs. public-private partnerships.
ASEA is a not-for-profit association of 20 stock exchanges drawn from 27 African countries. It was founded in Kenya in 1993 for systematic mutual co-operation and exchange of information among its members. It seeks to increase the visibility of African stock exchanges as the preferred frontier markets for investments including attracting foreign direct investments (FDI).
Speakers and panellists from Africa and elsewhere could include World Bank Zambia representative from Washingston, Dr. Sam Maimbo; Bank of Zambia Governor Dr. Caleb Fundanga; CEO of Johannesburg Stock Exchange Russell Loubser; FSB South Africa Director Markets Supervision Anna Manganyi and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Director General Mr. S. N. Ngwenya..
Topics & Speakers:
Capital markets and economic growth in Africa – the link and way forward: Dr. Kapil Kapoor- World Bank country representative Zambia
The role of financial systems in capital market developments: Dr. Caleb Fundanga- Bank of Zambia Governor
African Stock Exchanges – a road map for the future: Russell Loubser, CEO Johannesburg Stock Exchange
Regulation of Stock Markets – Current trends & issues: Panel discussion Anna Manganyi – FSB South Africa, Michael Liweleya – Director Markets Supervision, SEC Zambia
Investor protection and corporate governance in African capital markets: Panel discussion Dr. Joshua Okumbe – CEO, Centre for Corporate Governance (Kenya), Mr. Mumba Kapumba – President Institute of Directors Zambia
Credit rating – is it still relevant? Panel discussion Dr. Denny Kalyalya – Deputy Governor Operation Bank of Zambia; Mr. Konrad Reuss – Managing Director, Standard & Poor’s sub–Saharan Africa; Mr. Michael Mwaanga – Debt Management Department, Ministry of Finance and National Planning, Zambia
IT solutions & the role of technology in African capital markets: Millennium IT- Malabe, Sri Lanka.
Private Equity vs PPP in Africa – trends and way forward: JP Fourier – Executive Director, Southern Africa Venture Capital Association
Valuation and Research on African Markets: Panel discussion, Hubert Danso – Managing Director, Africa Investor – South Africa
Asset Management in African emerging markets – fund manager’s perspective: John Legat- Managing Director IMARA Asset Management; Jonathan Auerbach – co-founder & Managing Director, Auerbach Grayson & Co., New York.
Bond Market development strategies: Panel discussion Mr. Peter Banda – Director Financial Markets, Bank of Zambia; Dr. Graham Smale – Head of Fixed-Income Securities JSE; Almet Keshkilner – Turkish Treasury; Nigeria Stock Exchange
Regional Integration: What are the opportunities & challenges? Mr. S. N Ngwenya – Director General, COMESA
Cross-Border Securities Settlement: Panel discussion Vipin Y. S Mahabirsingh – Managing Director CSD Mauritius; Rose Mambo – CEO, CSDS Kenya; Steve Everettee – Strate, South Africa.
May 31st, 2010 by Tom Minney
Interest in African sovereign debt has been climbing again in recent months. Angola has stil not issued a $1 billion – $2 billion benchmark bond due in May. However, Kenya, Nigeria and Mauritius and many other countries have flourishing debt markets and international interest is good in high-yielding hard-currency bonds such as those issued by the Republic of Congo and Cote d’Ivoire.
In April top bond broker Exotix (www.exotix.co.uk) gave a “buy” recommendation on the REPCON 2.5% bond, redeemable in 2029. Then it was trading at 57.0 and offered a yield of 10.8% and was the highest-performing African sovereign bond.
Trading in $2.4 billion of Cote d’Ivoire debt in US dollars trading under New York law (2.5%, redeemable in 2032) began in mid-April, after the country exchanged it for Brady bonds it had defaulted on nearly a decade ago. Exotix only rates it a “hold” at 64.2 in mid-April, when it yielded 9.6%. The bond was expected to make up 0.75% of the $400bn Emerging Market Bond Index (EMBI), according to a recent article in The Banker, and many were expected to buy it for this reason. Exotix commentary on the bond included detailed assessment of politics and economic developments including current account surpluses and International Monetary Fund assessments.
Governments in some countries are seeking to create longer-term yield curves for domestic investors, in order to provide a framework for longer-term finance and investment. For instance Barclays Kenya is offering 20-year mortgages, compared to a few years ago when the limit was 5 years. Bonds are also being moved into electronic trading and being handled by central depositories.
According to a report on 19 May on Bloomberg, Angola was awarded credit ratings of B+ by Standard &Poors and Fitch, 4 levels below investment grade, and Moody’s assigned an equivalent ranking of B1, putting Angola on par with Nigeria, Lebanon, Belarus and Ghana. The country plans to issue $1billion – $2 billion in bonds this year.
Other high-yield bonds, including in local currencies, can be found in Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana and Kenya. Economic commentators are encouraged, as debt can be a more cost effective way to fuel long-term economic growth than equity.
Better economic management and good investor interest in government debt has paved the way for more corporate bonds, including for power and telecommunications infrastructure. This site has already reported how Kengen and Nampower have issued bonds to fund urgently needed power expansion. Telecommunications giant Safaricom has also been successful.
The successes are tribute to the increasing quality of economic and fiscal management by African governments.