Archive for the 'Zimbabwe' Category

Mobile phone app for trading on Zimbabwe securities exchanges

Investors can check their portfolios and send orders to their stockbrokers on their smartphones in Zimbabwe with an app called C-Trade from today (4 July). C-Trade is an online and mobile trading platform for shares on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) and the second licensed exchange, the Financial Securities Exchange (FINSEC).

According to an article in the Herald newspaper, C-Trade is for financial inclusion in Africa: “The platform will enable investors, both local and foreign to purchase securities from anywhere in the world anytime, using mobile devices. The initiative is being led by capital markets regulator, Securities Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (SECZ), and seeks to promote financial inclusion by encouraging participation by the smallest retail investor.”

The Herald newspaper reported SECZ chief executive Tafadzwa Chinamo saying that President Emmerson Mnangagwa had agreed to launch the programme. “After that what you will be seeing more of is our campaign as SECZ to educate the public on what investing on the capital markets is about.”

“We have taken the issue of deepening and broadening the capital markets very seriously, to the extent that we added a new committee to our board of investor education.” In July 2017 Chinamo said SECZ had committed $300,000 to a campaign to get more people engaged in the capital market.

Escrow Systems headquartered in Zimbabwe has created the C-Trade programme to trade bonds and shares, using the same technology as Kenya’s world-first M-Akiba mobile Government bond sold on mobile phones to small investors in Kenya, from minimum denomination of $30. Here is our post on M-Akiba from October 2015 and a Reuters story on the eventual M-Akiba launch in March 2017.

According to a report in Newsday, Escrow Group chief executive officer Collen Tapfumaneyi said: “C-Trade is a mobile trading platform and is combination of a number of systems that enable investors to access the securities market or capital markets popularly known as the stock to enable people buy shares and all that. It comes in three forms, USSD application which can be utilised by mobile network subscribers. We have Econet and Telecel, but we are about to finalise with NetOne as well so within a few days all three will be on board,” It is not restricted to local mobile operators to enable foreign investors, including those in Diaspora.

Trading is still through a stockbroker, as before, says Chinamo of SECZ: ”This application is essentially sold to a stock broker to give the brokers clients access to the market. Rules of the exchange are still valid. For your trade to go through, it needs the authenticity of your broker so the broker is still liable for your trade, settlement, clearing and feed.”

The platform allows easier access for smart-phone users to manage their portfolios when they are away from a desktop/laptop.

Escrow is offering it on revenue-sharing basis to users with “minimal or no costs to market participants” according to an older news story in Financial Gazette.

According to an article today in Newsday, there are 13 licensed stock-broking firms in Zimbabwe, of which 3 signed up to use C-Trade. Escrow’s Tapfumaneyi said they were still talking about sharing fees: “C-Trade acts as an agent for the broker. The broker will still earn his full revenue according to the fee charged. However, the brokers pay a fee to use the platform which is negotiable.

“What we are basically doing is get business for them and they keep their traditional business. But, if we get people registering online and placing orders online, all that traffic is being channelled through to the brokers which then gets channelled to the exchange. So we are basically an extension of the brokers,” he said.

“These orders, when they come to the brokers, is also the issue of evaluation and trading is not just picking an order from a client and sending it through. You have got to analyse the market and advise the client what the pricing should be and all that. So we still have that interface.”

The target for C_Trade is about 20,000 individual participants by year-end and an ultimate goal of 2 million people.

Meet FINSEC, Zimbabwe’s second securities exchange

Zimbabweans have a second option for trading securities, with an emphasis on financial inclusion and economic empowerment through capital markets. Financial Securities Exchange (Private) Limited (FINSEC) is licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe as a securities exchange (alternative trading platform).

It was launched in December 2016 and is part of Escrow Group, which has interests in financial services and technology. According to Escrow website, it has offices in Kenya and Zambia. The group includes Corpserve Registrars, which is a share registrars company set up in 1997, with operations in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania.

According to the website: “FINSEC is a pioneer in the provision of alternative trading solutions aimed at automating activities of previously sidelined OTC (over-the-counter) markets. It offers a complete suite comprising Order Management, Matching Engine, Clearing, Settlement and Delivery. FINSEC is transforming markets with activities so far in Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe.”

FINSEC Zimbabwe reported record turnover of $1.2 million in November 2017, with total equity turnover of $3.1m from launch to early December 2017. Listings include bonds issued by Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ), and class B shares of Old Mutual Group. CEO Collen Tapfumaneyi forecast that bringing in mobile technology would boost volumes.

Microfinance company Untu Capital Ltd has raised $5m in medium-term notes on the platform, which it will use to finance micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Zimbabwe. According to a story in Herald newspaper. It started with a $1m issue, followed with $2m and again with $2m in May-June 2018, which listed on FINSEC on 11 June 2018, paying a fixed coupon of 10% a year. The bonds are a financial inclusion tool, called “U-Gain” and partnered with Telecash and EcoCash to offer a minimum $50 issue, maturity date 10 June 2021, paying interest every 6 months. Untu was set up in 2009 and provides finance to MSMEs, including working capital, capital and investment and value added services.

According to a story on the Daily News website, the class B shares were created in 2011 when Old Mutual surrendered 25% of its issues shares to indigenous investors as part of the indigenization laws, including 11% to employees, 8% to pensioners and 3.5% to strategic investors and 2.5% to a special youth fund. On 25 June FINSEC announced that the shares were liberalized and could be bought and sold by investors who were not indigenous Zimbabweans, including foreign investors and all capital market participants.

FINSEC does electronic trading of different types of securities, and the FINSEC website reads: “..(it) integrates all market participants in real time via a robust and state-of-the-art web based technology. The market participants include but are not limited to securities dealers, custodians, asset managers, issuers, settlement banks, market makers, transfer secretaries and regulators.

“FINSEC offers an integrated market-place solution covering; order management; order routing; order matching; clearing and settlement; securities delivery; trade risk management; data analysis; surveillance; mobile trading; online trading and full reporting.” FINSEC manages the full cycle from investor creation to trade settlement with the involvement of custodians and settlement banks.

According to the FINSEC website, it hopes to focus primarily on retail investors. It says its alternative trading platform “emphasises that all investors make informed investment decisions based on thorough research, which includes evaluating a company’s disclosures and financial reports as well as the prices and market for the company’s securities”.

Trading is through stockbrokers and investor accounts have to be opened through stockbrokers and custodians. The only mentioned custodian is Three Anchor Investments, trading as Old Mutual Custodial Services and the only mentioned bank is CABS, a financial institution and subsidiary of Old Mutual.

FINSEC says it also has an investor relations portal where individuals can monitor their portfolios, update know your client (KYC) information and check inquiries. It provides online and mobile access.

Victoria Falls

Innovative African IPO and listing successes show strong demand

Here is a round-up of recent initial public offers (IPOs) and other listings of shares on African Stock Exchanges, many of them over-subscribed. Namibia has scored its first listing of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), while Mauritius is the home for an innovative listing of Afreximbank GDRs and of 2 primary listings on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Namibia: Nimbus Infrastructure Limited is first SPAC vehicle
Nimbus Infrastructure Limited listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) via private placement and started trading on 6 October. It raised more than N$100 million ($7m) from local investment institutions and retail investors. It aims to invest into information, computer and telecommunications (ICT) projects and institutions in sub-Saharan Africa.

It is Namibia’s first listed capital pool company (CPC). This is a type of company, also known as a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), is most popular in the USA or Canada and South Africa’s Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has listed several SPACs.

The company has no commercial operations or assets, except cash. It uses its cash to evaluate promising investments and once it has invested in a viable business, usually within a set timeframe, it continues to operate as a conventional listed company. The funds are kept in an escrow account and are released on approval by shareholders or in line with a pre-approved spending budget, according to the company website. It must also comply with the Corporate Governance Code for Namibia (NamCode).

The private placement was open from 15-29 September. The listing of Nimbus was a joint initiative between Cirrus Capital, Paratus Namibia and Cronje and Company.

According to the company, it “is currently looking at a number of potential transactions and as per the stock exchange rules, aims to take these transactions forward for shareholder approval before the end of the year.” Nimbuas has signed a management agreement with Paratus.

According to an NSX statement, reported in Namibian Economist: “The Nimbus listing boasts exciting opportunities for Namibia, as not only does it focus on the fast-growing ICT sector across the continent, but in so doing, it offers a strong diversification opportunity for the funds of institutions and individuals alike, allowing diversified jurisdiction, currency and sector returns for investors. Further to this, as Namibia’s first CPC, Nimbus represents an opportunity to prove a new concept that will likely form a critical part of the future development of the Namibian real and financial sectors”.

Côte d’Ivoire: Ecobank Cote d’Ivoire
Ecobank Cote d’Ivoire launched a share offer on 27 September and closed it the same day as it was already twice oversubscribed. The IPO was to sell 20.44% of the bank’s shareholding in the form of 2,250,000 shares at XOF20,000 per share, raising XOF45bn (USD79.5m).

The bank is set to list on the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM) in December, where it will join parent company Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), a leading share on the BRVM, the Nigerian Stock Exchang and the Ghana Stock Exchanghe.

The offer, organized by stockbrokers EDC Investment Corporation and Hudson & Cie had been scheduled to run from 22 September to 11 October. It was 2.2x oversubscribed on the first day.

According to Enko Capital “Ecobank Cote d’Ivoire was created in 1989 following the acquisition of Chase Manhattan Bank. The bank has since expanded to become the third largest lender in Ivory Coast with a market share of 10.5% in terms of loans and 11.7% in terms of deposits and employs 648 people across 53 branches holding 274,018 accounts.

“Prior to the IPO, ETI held a 94.26% stake in Ecobank Cote d’Ivoire and this will reduce to 75% post listing. ETI was founded in Togo in 1985 and currently has a presence in 36 African countries. The banking group is listed on three exchanges in Africa.. Its stock is owned by more than 600,000 shareholders and the group employs over 17,000 people across 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank Cote d’Ivoire is the third largest contributor to ETI’s group revenue after Ecobank Nigeria and Ecobank Ghana.”

Namibia: Letshego Holdings
Letshego Holdings Namibia had to extend its IPO by 4 days to 26 September and drop its offer price from NAD4.70 to NAD3.80 per share, according to Enko Capital: “The main purpose of the IPO was to satisfy the Bank of Namibia’s conditions for granting a banking license to Letshego Bank Namibia in 2016 which require a minimum 45% local ownership within a four year period.”

Letshego listed on 28 September on the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX)with a market capitlaization of NAD1.9 billion, according to a report in New Era and a press release.

Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein did not have a warm view of capital markets as he celebrated the listing: “’With this listing Letshego has taken a dive into the shark pool, but this is a well-prepared dive that you were truly prepared for”.

Over 3,600 qualifying applications were received during the 4-week offer, with individuals and non-institutional investors making up NAD40m of the total NAD180m raised.

NSX CEO Tiaan Bazuin said: “I am extremely pleased with the successful listing of Letshego. There has been a lot of talk about localization in the Namibian market and this listing shows the best way, in my mind, to achieve this goal.”

Letshego Namibia is an offshoot of Letshego Holdings Limited, listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, which has reduced its holding from 85% to 79%. Letshego Bank Namibia has had a full licence since July 2016, and is a 100% subsidiary of Letshego Holdings Namibia. Its origin in 2002 was as Edu Loan Namibia, making salary loans, and in 2008 Letshego bought majority shareholding.

Mauritius – Afeximbank global depositary receipts
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), headquartered in Egypt, raised more than its $100m minimum target after selling global depositary receipts (GDRs) backed by its Class D shares. The GDRs listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius was on 4 October. The minimum investment for the offer was $30,000 and it closed on 22 September.

Afreximbank is a supranational trade finance bank established in October 1993. Class A shareholders consist of African States, African central banks and African public institutions; Class B shareholders are African financial institutions and African private investors; Class C shareholders are non-African investors, such as international banks and export credit agencies; while Class D shareholders can be any investors.

South Africa: African Rainbow Capital Investments
This newly formed company listed on the main board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on 7 September, the 12th listing to date in 2017. It raised ZAR4.0bn ($282m) and brought the total capital raised on the JSE in the year to date to ZAR76bn ($54bn), according to this JSE press release.

ARC Investments is a capital raising and investment entity incorporated in Mauritius which will offer shareholders the opportunity to invest in a permanently broad-based black controlled investment entity holding a diversified portfolio of investments. The initial investment portfolio held by ARC Investments will be seeded by African Rainbow Capital Proprietary Limited (ARC), which will remain the majority shareholder in ARC Investments.

Shareholders invest alongside ARC in the initial portfolio of 16 investments in financial services including: Alexander Forbes Limited, Alexander Forbes Group Limited, Indwe Broker Holdings, Senayo Securities and Santam and and 17 non-financial services including investments in agriculture and food production, building and construction, energy, information technology and telecommunications, investment holding companies and real estate businesses. Its most significant investment is a 20% interest in Multisource Telecoms Proprietary Limited, currently trading as Rain. According to Reuters, ARC Investments is valued at ZAR8.5bn, and has 3 cornerstone investors including Singapore’s GIC Pte Ltd, the Public Investment Corporation and Sanlam Private Wealth.

ARC is a majority black-owned investment holding company which seeks to utilize its empowerment credentials, strong balance sheet and the track record of its leadership and brand to invest in financial services distribution businesses. ARC is wholly owned by Ubuntu-Botho Investments (UBI), which was created in 2003.

Patrice Motsepe, Chairman of both Ubuntu Botho Investments and ARC, said: “the listing of ARC Investments on the JSE is a major step towards realising one of the key objectives of ARC, namely to build a world class broad- based black – controlled investment entity for all South Africans.”

Nemer says the JSE is equally proud to help ARC Investments facilitate its goal of providing investment exposure for the public to B-BBEE assets, which are often only held privately.

South Africa – Steinhoff Africa Retail (STAR)

Holding company Steinhoff Africa Retail (STAR) successfully raised ZAR15.38bn (USD1.08bn) after placing 750,000,000 shares at ZAR20.50 each between 4 and 14 September. It listed on the JSE on 20 September.

It brings public shareholding to 21.7% of STAR, which was formed as part of the restructuring of the Steinhoff Group, and Steinhoff International holds 78.3%. The group has 4,808 stores in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Brands operating under the STAR group include Pep, Ackermans, Poco, Russells, Flash, Bradlows, Rochester, Buco, Timbercity, The Tile House, Incredible Connection, HiFi Corp, Dunns, John Craig, Refinery, Shoe City, Tekkie Town and Sleepmasters.

According to Enko capital, the offer was 4.8x over-subscribed.

South Africa: Brainworks
Mauritius-registered investment holding company Brainworks, with an investment base focused on hospitality, real estate, financial serice and logistics in Zimbabwe, listed on the JSE on 13 October, after an IPO from 28 September to 11 October. It is the first Zimbabwean company with a proimary listing on the JSE and the 16th listing for the year to date, according to a JSE press release, where it sought to raise ZAR316.5m (USD22.3m) through the sale of 27,523,951 shares at ZAR11.50 per share.

Brainworks was established in 2011 and holds investments including controlling stakes in 2 listed hospitality companies, African Sun and Dawn Properties, which are listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. It also has investments in GetBucks, GetCash, GetSure, MyBucks, Skyclear and FML Logistics and says approximately 38% of revenue is generated in hard currency.

Donna Nemer, Director: Capital Markets at the JSE, says the exchange is proud to welcome Brainworks to the South African market. “As Africa’s largest stock exchange, the JSE believes we can make an important contribution to the growth and the development of our continent. We do this through offering foreign investors a secure and transparent entry point into Africa and providing the companies who do business here with a liquid platform to raise further capital to fund their expansion.”

Nemer says the JSE also favours dual- or cross-listings, wherein debt or equity is listed simultaneously on the JSE and on a local market. “This assists companies from other African countries to gain access to a much larger capital pool and trade in a more liquid environment, while still allowing local market participation.”

Thanks to research contribution by Enko Capital, which invests in African opportunities.

Runaway gains continue as Zimbabwe Stock Exchange soars

Zimbabwe Stock exchange continues to soar, with gains of 9.3% yesterday (14 September) in its industrial index which closed at 379.95, after climbing 10.3% on 13 September, its biggest one-day gain according to the Herald newspaper. Market capitalization by close of 14 September was US$10.7bn.

The industrial index opened the year at 144.53, so it has more than doubled with 163% gain. The mining index has climbed from 58.51 to close 14 September at 84.65, up 45%. Most of the gain in the industrial index comes in the last 3 months, as shown on African Markets website.

Turnover was $5.2m on 14 September, with foreigners buying $1.5m and selling $4.3m in 162 trades, according to the excellent ZSE website . Meanwhile the Herald newspaper reported turnover on 13 September at $9.0m was one of the highest for the year with foreigners selling $3.5m worth of shares and buying just above $104,000.

Biggest volume on 14 September was in Delta Corporation, which traded $2.0m worth of shares as the price climbed 44 cents (19.9%) to $2.6656 after hitting a year high of $2.6675. On 13 September it had climbed 13% in $2.37m worth of trading, according to the Herald. Barclays Bank traded $1.1m with a price gain of 0.52 cents to close at $0.0852, up 6.5%. Other strong gains were brickmaker Willdale, up 27% in the day to 1 cent ($0.0100) after climbing 58% on 13 September. CBZ Holdings, First Mutual Properties and Nampak Zimbabwe which each scored 20% gain, while Old Mutual was up 19.9%.

Starafricacorproation climbed 14% to close at 2.5 cents ($0.0250) after a reported 67% gain on 13 September, Other top risers on 13 September, according to the Herald, were agribusiness Ariston up 52%, Zimre Property Investment up 37% and hotelier African Sun up 20%.

Seed Co is reportedly seeking to raise $30m and list on a regional exchange. Fast foods retailer Simbisa brands continues to trade under cautionary that it plans to list on the London Stock Exchange AIM board.

A week ago the rally was already in full swing as the ZSE market capitalization reached $8bn and the industrial index hit 286.63. The Herald reported on 11 September “Local investors have been buying into the equity market as a hedge against currency uncertainties and shortages. Most cash-rich Zimbabwean companies and individuals have been failing to access their cash locked in banks due to foreign currency shortages. Business, especially manufacturers and mines, have also been struggling to make foreign payments since the foreign currency shortages intensified at the beginning of 2016. This is the cash that is now being deployed into the stock market, considered a safe haven by many.”

The newspaper reported one investor worried that cash holdings at the banks, even in foreign currency, would not represent fair value “Investors are thus looking at hedging against this loss of value by buying into stocks.”

This web report on Charles Rukuni’s Insider Zim also worries that it is a rerun of 2007: “A stock market running on fumes and not any real fundamentals, a currency crisis and signs of inflation? We have seen this all before. In 2007, just like today, the ZSE became the world’s best performing market. Shares were up close to 600% by mid-year in 2007. Year-on-year, by April 2007, the stock market had risen a massive 12,000%. We now know it was all a deception; it was only going up because investors had nowhere else to put their Zimbabwe dollars, whose worth was evaporating fast. Then, as now, it did not matter that a company was performing badly.”

Update 2 – Zimbabwe Stock Exchange automation successful

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) started successfully trading on its new automated trading system (ATS) on Monday 6 July and volumes were picking up during the week. This is a long-awaited change as the stock exchange moved away from call over and paper-based systems.
ZSE CEO Alban Chirume and a couple of Zimbabwean stockbrokers confirmed to AfricanCapitalMarketsNews that was working well. Monday had started slowly, as expected, but once orders were being matched successfully and there were no problems, volumes seemed to up on Tuesday and today (8 July). Chirume described it as a “major transformation” for the ZSE, founded in 1896. Stockbrokers were upbeat, saying their clients local and international had been waiting for this.
There was a false start on 3 July, originally announced as the launch day, when the “close coupling” linkage between the ATS and the settlement system gave some teething problems. This was resolved by Monday and the settlement system seemed to be working well after that.
The news comes as a relief to brokers and dealers, who can now trade from their own offices and do not need to spend time travelling to the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange building. Earlier this year the ZSE had moved out of its city-centre office and into its own premises.
Chirume said the ZSE staff were cheering as the first trade went through.
The ATS is supplied by InfoTech Middle East LLC and the settlement is run by Chengetedzai Depository Company Ltd, which is using Depo/X system supplied by CMA Small Systems from Sweden to run the central securities depository (CSD). The only securities which can now be traded are those which have been dematerialized, which means that paper share certificates have been replaced by dematerialized entries on the CSD computer. However, all the ZSE shares are now dematerialized apart from Border, which is under judicial management.

UPDATE – Zimbabwe Stock Exchange delays automated trading

According to an announcement today, 3 July, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange says it did not launch electronic trading today as planned and the launch has been delayed indefinitely. The ZSE says: “Erring on the side of caution, it was decided to resolve a technical issue to ensure a seamless completion of the settlement processes. Further updates on ‘go live’ will be issued by the ZSE in due course.”
The ZSE has been trading securities using “callover” sessions since 1896 and had announced yesterday it was ready to launch online trading today through a new automated trading system (“ATS”) installed by InfoTech. It says it had opted for a close coupling model between the ATS as the front end of the trading cycle and the central securities depository (“CSD”), which has a mandate for settlement of both scrip and cash.

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange launches electronic trading 3 July

Electronic share trading is due to go live today, 3 July, at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) with new trading hours for the exchange. According to an announcement yesterday all registered stockbrokers meet the requirements and will be able to provide uninterrupted services and the new platform trades only the securities that are dematerialized at the central securities depository (CSD) Chengetedzai Depository Company.

The new automated trading system (ATS) has been supplied by InfoTech, an IT firm headquartered in Singapore with offices in Pakistan, United Arab Emirates and Ghana. It replaces the call-over through which stockbrokers traded shares in Zimbabwe since the bourse was established in 1896 including stockbrokers gathering in a room once or twice a day to discuss trades on a list of securities.

According to the ZSE announcement: “The new electronic platform enables participants to conduct their business from various locations by accessing the ZSE through the Internet. The ATS operates on agreed rules which are in-built in the system and therefore guarantees adherence to price and time priority principles in the interest of market fairness and transparency”.
zimbabwese50502_tradingboard
Newsletter ATS Watch published on 2 July says the ATS hardware was installed in May 2015 including servers and disaster recovery servers. It has “close coupling” links to the CSD: “Given the need to ensure real time exchange of information, the ZSE opted for close coupling and the vendors of both the CSD and the ATS worked for at least six months to ensure that the interface for close coupling was provided.”

Training ran from 8-26 June, led by Ejaz Anwar (Project Leader), Dilshard Ahmad and Muhammad Asghar from InfoTech. Martin Matanda, Operations Executive of the ZSE, is also the project manager leading a team of consultants and IT staff. Training was given to staff of ZSE, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe and the CSD and there was separate training for all other market participants, mainly stockbrokers. Trainees learned how to enter orders and generate reports. Participants also talked to the system vendors and this led to refinements being made to the system to ensure that it is fully customized to the Zimbabwe capital market. Mock trading has also been held.

Other key changes in trading include:
1. New trading times (local time): Monday to Friday (except public holidays)
Continuous Session – 10:00 am to 12:30pm; Market closes – 12:30pm
2. Continuous trading during open sessions, which means multiple prices could be established and traders will have more flexibility
3. The ATS can only trade dematerialized securities that are loaded at the CSD via Chnegtedzai’s Depo/X facilities
4. Algorithms will discover the prices, so that an order can be filled at different prices depending on the book
5. Circuit breakers on price with lower and upper price limits (percentage) for each counter on the ATS, based on the previous closing price. These limits can be set for all counters or for each counter
6. Real-time data throughout the “open” phase, accessible to market participants and other stakeholders for a fee

New listing
Manufacturing and construction Masimba Holdings on 8 June separately listed its plastics manufacturing subsidiary, Proplastics, on the ZSE through a dividend-in-specie, according to a news report. It is the second listing on the ZSE in 5 years after Padenga Holdings which also listed through a dividend-in-specie following its unbundling from Innscor Africa in 2010. The last initial public offering (IPO) of shares was Zeco Holdings in 2007.

The latest listing of 60,000 shares at 3c follows a successful restructuring exercise by listed Masimba that resulted in the group unbundling the plastics manufacturing from the construction business. The aim is for both entities to attract capital and strategically position themselves in line with their core business, to unlock shareholder value and Proplastics focus on it business.

Woes of Zimbabwe Stock Exchange

($ refers to USD)

The value of shares traded on the recently demutualized Zimbabwe Stock Exchange fell by 22.2% in the first quarter of 2015, compared to the same quarter last year. A story from The Herald newspaper said that turnover to 31 March was $70 million, down from $90 million in the first quarter of 2014. However, the volume of shares traded was up to 586 million from last year’s 306 million for the period.
Trading in January was $16m (down from $63m in 2014), in February $35m ($26m) and in March $19m ($27m). The share bought by foreigners was down to $41m ($64m) over the quarter.

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange liquidity to 30 April (source ZSE website)

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange liquidity to 30 April (source ZSE website)

Meanwhile the exchange seems to be hit by a series of controversies and several companies have delisted, or removed their shares from trading.
The exchange in March was reported in the Herald newspaper that “go-live” date would be 19 June for its new automated trading system, Capizar ATS trading software from Infotech Middle East FZ, part of Infotech Group of Pakistan. This was in terms of a contract signed in March 2014, as reported here last September. However there has been little news of progress and the project missed previous deadlines, including for February.
There has also been criticism of the ZSE’s relocation to Ballantyne Park, a suburb 8.5km from the central business district effective 1 April before the automated trading system was ready. The new office has a smaller trading area. The Herald newspaper reported that parliamentarians and lobby groups had protested and Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance David Chapfika said that relocating the exchange to Ballantyne Park will mean that small players will be excluded. ZSE interim chairperson Mrs Eve Gadzikwa said the move was necessary because of high rentals.

SECZ investigates ZSE CEO
In February the Herald newspaper reported that the Securities and Exchanges Commission of Zimbabwe (SECZ) was investigating ZSE CEO Alban Chirume after complaints over the suspension of Meikles (see below). He is said to have acted unprocedurally when he suspended Meikles and then unprofessionally when the decision was reversed. There were also complaints after he placed a notice in a newspaper urging investors to exercise caution when dealing with the shares.
If SECZ finds against him, he could be suspended or fired, according to the Herald report. Past CEO Emmanuel Munyukwi, who had been in post for many years, was suspended after an SECZ investigation and subsequently left the ZSE “on mutual agreement”.
According to the Herald: “Away from the Meikles issue, Mr Chirume has faced criticism over the purchase of a residential building in Ballantyne Park, the overshooting of the budget in the purchase of a vehicle and the numerous instances he has undermined the ZSE board and stockbrokers.”
An amendment in 2013 to Zimbabwe’s Securities Act gives the SECZ the power to dissolve the board of a registered securities exchange or dismiss one or more of its members, but only on certain grounds, and subject to appeal. If it dissolves a whole board it can appoint someone to run the exchange but only until a new board is elected in accordance with the articles of association, which should be within 3 months.

Delistings
Paint and chemical products manufacturer, Astra Industries, was the latest to leave at the close of business on 30 April after majority shareholders Kansai Plascon Africa (listed in Tokyo) and Hermistar investment vehicle for Astra management and staff increased their combined holding to 80.2%, breaching the rule of 30% free float, and applied to the ZSE to leave. Regional manufacturer ART Corporation may follow after buying out minorities.
Other recent delistings include TA Holdings and ABC Holdings in February. According to an article in Financial Gazette, 16 companies have delisted since 2007 when the hard currency (USD) economy was adopted – 8 of these chose to delist, and 8 were insolvent. Such is the turmoil in the Zimbabwe economy that many other companies are probably insolvent but it has not been announced yet as local manufacturers with high hard-currency costs and ancient machines cannot compete with imported goods. Meanwhile, another 4 companies are suspended: PG Industries, Cottco (formerly AICO Holdings), Phoenix and Celsy.
The article warns that more delistings are due this year, including Meikles (see below), Dawn Properties, African Sun. It says that companies do not see the benefit in being listed (see bottom of article). They cannot raise money successfully on the bourse due to the liquidity squeeze and shares being listed at a small fraction of their true value, unless money comes from foreign investors, who usually prefer to buy out minorities and delist. The peak had been over 80 listings.
The only new listing was in 2010 when Innscor Africa’s unbundled Padenga Securities and listed it through dividend in specie. The ZSE did particularly better than most parts of the economy during the years of hyperinflation as desperate investors turned to properties, equities or foreign currencies. It slowed dramatically after allowing trading in foreign currencies.
Creating a second-tier exchange for small companies is unlikely to have an overall positive effect on liquidity or the market.

Meikles row
A leading hotel group, Meikles Limited, is suing the ZSE for $50m in damages and is also warning that it may not remain listed. According to a Reuters report in March, Meikles filed papers on 26 February at the High Court, after its shares were suspended from trading for a week in February and then allowed again from 23 February. Meikles said its share price had fallen and its reputation suffered and it is seeking compensation for “potentially irreparable” consequences of its suspension. The ZSE also issued a warning that people should use caution when trading the shares.
Meikles also operates retail including supermarket chain TM Supermarkets (South Africa’s Pick’n’Pay has 49%), Tanganda Tea, the Victoria Falls Hotel and has a stake in Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town.

New governance?

Meanwhile ZSE governance could change dramatically after the demutualization was completed recently, as reported last week. Some market participants were said to be surprised when stockbrokers ended up with a 68% majority of the company, after Government took 32%. There had been some suggestions of ownership wrangles.
This could mean that stockbrokers can hold a General Meeting and replace directors or otherwise take action on how the company is managed.

Why the stockmarket does not help business
(quoted from Financial Gazette)
Horticultural concern, Interfresh, which delisted on the last day of trading in 2013, highlighted the problems with being listed.
Chief executive officer, Lishon Chipango, said: “At the moment for us there is not too much (gains from listing). If you look at the contextual framework of the stock market, one of the benefits of being listed is to raise capital, but if you raise capital when the shares are so depressed, you are not going to raise that much. So the issue of benefiting if listed maybe down the road. (I) would not be surprised if others followed (us by delisting).
“The other aspect is there is no money in Zimbabwe. All the capital being raised is external. For us, it is not attractive,” Chipango said.
He then mourned over the discounted rate at which the company’s shares were trading.
“The rights issue to raise the US three million dollars (in 2012) caused a dilution of 75 percent because we used stock market valuations. Now if at that time we had raised money using Net Asset Value instead of stock market valuation, the dilution would have been 15 percent. You see why we are running away from the stock market? We are running away from the stock market valuation,” said Chipango.

zimbabwese50502_tradingboard

Zimbabwe central depository brings shares on board

Chengetedzai Depository Company Ltd, Zimbabwe’s central securities depository (CSD), was reported that the last securities had been brought on board in March 2015, according to a report in Zimbabwe Mail. Old Mutual announced that its shares were also dematerialized with effect from 30 March.
CDCL announced last year that it had received due approvals to start operations and it went live in September 2014 with 3 securities onboard, and had extended that to 43 counters by January 2015.
CDCL had been publishing announcements as new shares are brought on board, and latest additions were Mashonaland Holdings, Old Mutual, Dawn Properties and others. There are some delays in the automation of Zimbabwe Stock Exchange trading system which is supposed to link to the CSD.
A CSD keeps a computerized register of securities ownership and also registers transfers after shares have been bought, sold or otherwise transferred. It replaces paper share certificates for most shareholders, in a process known as “dematerialization”. It links to systems for payment and clearance of trades.
The previous system saw clearing and settlement done between the stockbrokers on a T+7 schedule, Chengetedzai says it reduces settlement this to T+5.
Apparently local retail customers initially found it hard to understand that they must address settlement queries to a custodian, not to their stockbrokers as previously. Campbell Musiwa, Chengetedzai Depository Company chief executive said that CBZ Custodial Services had been set up as an “affordable” custodian for retail customers.
NewsDay reported in January that investors and stockbrokers were still breaking regulations by selling shares before dematerialization is complete. It added that only 1,557 accounts had been opened at Chengetedzai, of which 61% are for foreigners who work through global custodians (usually banks) who then relate to local custodians. Chengetedzai has been criticized for not doing enough to educate local shareholders to switch although it has worked with media and produced pamphlets.
Musiwa said there had been some delays in trade settlements if investors had traded before meeting the requirements but also: “There has been a marked improvement which resulted from continuous lobbying with market players to observe the rules,” he said
In April 2014 Chengetedzai Depository Company Ltd was reported by Standard Newspaper saying it was still waiting for licensing and for the award of a CSD levy by SECZ. Chengetedzai Depository Company won the tender to introduce the CSD in 2009 as reported on AfricanCapitalMarketsNews. After a shareholding dispute, it installed core software for operations that were planned for September 2013 but was held up while waiting for the licence.
In 2013, Chengetedzai raised nearly $2.5m through share issues, according to its annual report, including a successful $1.5m rights issue to finance the roll out of the CSD. The ZSE has invested $643,000 including $287,000 in the rights issue, according to its 2013 annual report, and holds a 15% stake after scaling up from 12.93% in January 2014. Chengetedzai’s 2013 annual report says that “quasi-government financial institutions” owned 56% and private investors 44%. Main shareholders were Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe, First Transfer Secretaries and ZB Financial Holdings with 15% each and the National Social Security Authority with 13% at 31 Dec 2013.
The software is Depo/X system supplied by CMA Small Systems ab of Sweden.

Zimbabwe SE aims to issue 50% shares following demutualization

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange completed its demutualization last month (March) and is now a fully fledged private company. It plans to issue up to 50% of its shares to new shareholders, according to reports.
Company registration was completed earlier in the month and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa issued share certificates at a ceremony on 26 March. According to a report by Xinhua news, the Minister said demutualization transformed the bourse from a statutory body into a viable public company: “The main crux of demutualization is separating ownership of the exchange from management in line with internationally accepted code of corporate governance. The process will see the exchange being transformed from its current not for profit status to a profit making organization.” Demutualization progress is not mentioned on the ZSE website.

Previous trading floor at the Zimbabwe SE (photo from www.4vf.net)

Previous trading floor at the Zimbabwe SE (photo from www.4vf.net)


The shareholding is now 32% Government and 68% stockbrokers, split equally among the holders of proprietary rights. According to an earlier report in The Herald, ZSE has 48 stockbroker members.
A planned future step is to raise new capital so that the exchange would ultimately be owned 16% by Government, 34% by stockbrokers and 50% by new shareholders.
Demutualization is the process through which an exchange converts from a non-profit mutual association, often a company limited by guarantee, into a for-profit company which follows the usual structure of shareholder ownership. It is meant to result in separation of trading rights, ownership and management. The shareholders are expected to convene a meeting to appoint a board of directors. In terms of usual corporate governance, the ZSE CEO would report to the Board of Directors in terms of performance and meeting objectives. The exchange can also list on its own trading boards and become a public company.
According to The Herald, corporatization is also needed for the ZSE to register as a stock exchange with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as required by the Securities and Exchanges Act.
The demutualization process began last year and in July 2014 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and the Stockbrokers, according to a notice issued last year by SECZim.
Market capitalization was $4.07 billion with 59 companies listed and 37 trades during the course of yesterday (28 April).

History since 1896
The first stock exchange in Zimbabwe opened in Bulawayo in 1896 but only lasted 6 years and other exchanges were set up in Gweru and Mutare, according to the ZSE website. Dealing started again in a new exchange in Bulawayo in 1946 and a second floor was opened in Harare (then Salisbury) in 1951. The ZSE was formed as mutual society by a group of stockbrokers who put capital in return for shares of the exchange (proprietary rights). The exchange was funded through the issue of these proprietary rights. SECZim added last year “and over time non-member institutions also funded the exchange, including the Government which also contributed indirectly by way of corporate tax exemptions”.
The present exchange was created in terms of the ZSE Act which was passed in January 1974, although trading was not interrupted and the change was legal only. A Securities Act of 2004 replaced the ZSE Act and became operational in September 2008. The Securities Commission of Zimbabwe became operational in October 2008 and is regulator, governed by commissioners appointed by the Minister of Finance.
According to the SEC: “The major benefit of demutualization is that it leads to the separation of the ownership, trading rights and management of ZSE, which eliminates the conflict of interest between exchange and broker members. If successfully implemented, demutualization should indeed lead to sustainable governance of the exchange premised on transparent, independent and efficient decision making for the benefit of all stakeholders, particularly investors.”