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SEC Nigeria leads FSD Africa programme to boost capital markets regulators

Left to right: Reginald Karawusa (Director, Legal and Enforcement, SEC), Laure Beufils (Deputy High Commissioner), Mary Uduk (ag Director General, SEC), Evans Osano (Director Financial Markets, FSD Africa), Richard Sandall (Senior Advisor, DFID Nigeria).

Funding organization FSD Africa is launching a 3-year programme to improve skills of Africa’s capital market regulators. The Securities and Exchange Commission SEC Nigeria is the first capital-market regulator after signing an agreement worth £450,000 ($585,200) on 28 September.
The programme will also be rolled out in Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. FSD Africa is a non-profit funded by UK Aid, which is Department for International Development (DFID) and the British Government.
FSD Africa will provide funding over 3 years to build the capacity of regulators, providing technical assistance, encouraging closer collaboration among regulators and conducting research to support the development of new policies and regulations.
Evans Osano, Director Financial Markets at FSD Africa, says (emailed press release): “This partnership will unlock capital by improving investor and issuer confidence, reducing transaction costs and reducing the complexity and approval times for capital issuance. The programme will also support greater collaboration and knowledge sharing with other African capital market regulators.”
FSDA Director Mark Napier says: “Well-functioning capital markets can play a vital role in support of inclusive economic growth by channelling long term finance into infrastructure and other large-scale projects that create jobs and improve access to markets. Strengthening regulatory capacity in capital markets is an essential pre-condition for building investor confidence.”
Mary Uduk, Acting Director General of SEC Nigeria, says the collaboration will facilitate access to capital for private and public issuers and enhance the competitiveness of the Nigerian capital market as a global investment destination. SEC Nigeria is contributing £22,000.
According to a report in the local news Independent the project will promote regulation of financial technology; fund an audit of institutional capacity and implementing the recommendations; and back collaboration and knowledge sharing between regulators.
Laure Beaufils, Deputy High Commissioner, British Deputy High Commission Lagos, commenting on the programme, added that capital markets have an essential role to play to help unlock capital that can be invested in the real economy and that can contribute to job creation and inclusive growth.

Do Africa’s $372bn pension fund assets facilitate inclusive growth and social stability?

One of the key challenges pension funds face: identifying enough appropriate, local investment opportunities to invest ever-increasing contributions
• Deregulation of prescription will unlock capital to flow where it is required in Africa

RisCura’s annual Bright Africa 2018 report is a highly recommended read on Africa’s capital markets. Check out the interactive website and download the short report at brightafrica.riscura.com.

Africa’s pension fund assets are now thought to be $372bn, according to leading pension fund consultancy RisCura. Some 90% of these assets are concentrated in Nigeria, South Africa which has $307bn in AUM, or 82%, Namibia and Botswana. Further, a few large funds dominate, including: Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) in South Africa, Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) in Namibia, Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), and a few large funds in Nigeria.

(NOTE, in a comparable story in 2015 we noted that total pension fund assets in 10 African countries were $379 billion in assets under management (AUM),85% or $322bn of this was based in South Africa. The change since 2015 may partly be due to currency decline at the time of compiling the statistics)

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), total pension fund assets in OECD member countries in 2016 totalled $38 trillion, of which $25trn is held in the US, followed by Canada ($2.4trn) and UK ($2.3trn), the three countries making up 78% of the total pension assets.

In OECD countries, pension funds made up 50% of the economy, measured in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, up from 37% in 2006, while in other countries measured (“non-OECD countries”), they rose to 20% of GDP from 12%.

The table below shows pension fund assets in selected different African markets, according to data collected by RisCura. Assets under management (AUM) total $306.7bn in South Africa (pension AUM are 104% of GDP), $16.8bn in Nigeria (lots of space to grow as pensions are 4% of GDP), $10.7bn in Kenya (16% of GDP), $10.5bn in Namibia (99% of GDP), and $7.2bn in Botswana (48% of GDP). There is huge potential for growth in Egypt where pension AUM are estimated at 1% of GDP, Tanzania (10%) and Uganda (7%), Ghana (7%) and even Zambia (3%).

African Pensions statistics collated by RisCura

In OECD and non-OECD countries, pension fund assets are predominantly invested into bonds and equities, with 45% of assets allocated to equities. As capital markets have grown and regulators have advanced, the proportion of African pension funds invested into equities has increased, but in Nigeria and East Africa local currency bonds predominate. Local regulation is a key driver of asset allocation and often does not match the opportunities: “In many countries assets are growing much faster than products are being brought to market, limiting investment opportunities if regulation does not allow for pension fund to invest outside of their own countries” says RisCura.

“African pension funds have a pivotal role to play in facilitating inclusive growth and social stability. Larger pools of capital allow for investment in economic and capital market development,” argues the Bright Africa report. It says there is an urgent need to build resources: “Local institutional investors add credibility and often serve as a catalyst for greater external interest. Local investors also allow global peers to leverage local knowledge and networks.”

RisCura urges other countries to follow the lead of South Africa, Nigeria, Namibia and Botswana (we can also add Kenya to this list) in allowing pension funds to invest into private equity – in Nigeria the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) allows for 5% of assets into private equity as an asset class, which would amount to $842m on 2016 figures, but 75% must be invested in Nigeria and general partners have to be able to invest at least 3% in the fund, limiting the options and size of investment.

The report also highlights a huge role for supporting Africa’s urgently needed infrastructure development (Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic estimates $93bn per year of investment needed). However, it is important that frameworks created are compatible with the mandates and risk and liquidity factors, as well as “mindful of prudential oversight and limits necessary for pension and savings investment” says RisCura.

For these stats and more on the changing dynamics of retirement in Africa, download the excellent Bright Africa report and visit the interactive website. More than half, 52%, of African males over 65 years and 33% of females were “active in the labour market” in 2015, compared to 10% older men and 6% older women in Europe. Pensions in Africa are also seeking to adapt to the fact that many Africans earn and save informally, including Micro Pension Scheme in Nigeria where the informal sector is thought to be 70% of the workforce with 38m potential contributors and the Mbao Pension Plan of Kenya, using M-Pesa or Airtel Money mobile transfer services.

First African fixed income ETF listed in Mauritius, tracking bond index

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Mauritius Commercial Bank Group (MCB) have launched the African Domestic Bond Fund (ADBF). The pioneer exchange-traded fund (ETF) is accessible to investors through its listing on 18 September on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius.

Sunil Benhimadhu, Chief Executive of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius submitted the Certificate of Listing of the African Domestic Bond Fund to Mr Stefan Nalletamby, Director AfDB FInancial Sector Development Department and Mr Rony Lam, CEO of MCB Capital Markets.


The ADBF fund will track the performance of the AfDB/AFMI Bloomberg African Bond Index 25%Capped, an index that comprises African local currency sovereign bonds of 8 African markets: Botswana, Egypt, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Zambia. It is intended that sovereign bonds of other countries will be included in the index in future.

It is the first multi-jurisdictional fixed income exchange-traded fund (ETF) in Africa. The Bank has committed $25 million and is acting as an anchor investor of ADBF. It was listed on Stock Exchange of Mauritius came on 18 September 2018.

Fund Manager is MCB Investment Management (MCBIM), a subsidiary of MCB Capital Markets. MCBIM is a pioneer of the pan-African fixed-income asset class, it launched the MCB Africa Bond Fund, an actively managed mutual fund focused on African fixed income, in 2014. The African Development Bank says the fund has consistently outperformed its benchmark.

The AfDB’s African Financial Markets Initiative (AFMI) aims to strengthen African economies by reducing their dependency on debt denominated in foreign currency (FX), increasing the range of available financing options, and acting as a catalyst for regional market integration.

According to the press release: Pierre-Guy Noel, chief executive officer of MCB Group, said: “We are delighted to partner with the African Development Bank in launching this pioneering fund. This attests to the Bank and MCB’s commitment to help develop the local currency fixed income markets on the continent and to the quality of our investment management capabilities. The fund listing on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius brings to investors the opportunity to access African government bonds conveniently.”

Cédric Achille Mbeng Mezui, Chief African Bond Markets & Coordinator of African Financial Markets Initiative (AFMI), said: “A key milestone has been achieved today with the listing of the first multijurisdictional Sovereign Bond ETF, namely the African Domestic Bond Fund (ADBF) on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius. Next steps: The dual listing on the Nigeria Stock Exchange and increased investment in this Fund.”

Liquidity and cost of trading on Africa’s stock exchanges – Bright Africa 2018

++ LATEST ++ Join webinar with Making Finance Work for Africa @mfw4a as #BrightAfrica principal author and head of #unlistedinvestment services at #RisCura Heleen Goussard shares key insights from the latest research on #PrivateEquity on 20 Sept. Don’t miss out. Register here. ++

RisCura’s annual Bright Africa report is a highly recommended read on Africa’s capital markets. Check out the interactive website and download the short report at brightafrica.riscura.com.

Africa’s equity recovery started in the last quarter of 2016, with an uptick in index returns across the different regions. Growth had stopped in African stock markets from 2014 to mid-2016. RisCura says this was “largely due to decreasing commodity prices and a flight to safety from global investors. In 2015 the region saw the lowest recorded growth rate since 1998.” Bright Africa singles out Kenya as “Africa’s overall winner in terms of listed equity performance”. It is relatively immune to the commodity cycle, has a business-friendly environment and is a beneficiary of continued integration of the East African Union. However, returns only represent a compounded annual return of 10% in US dollar terms.

These key challenges facing investors into African listed equities should top the agenda for capital-markets policy-makers, operators and regulators.

Liquidity
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange turns over a respectable $1.8 billion a day. After that, Africa’s stock exchanges “remain stubbornly illiquid”, according to Bright Africa. The second most liquid is the Egyptian Exchange (the report refers to one of its exchanges, the Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchange CASE) with $72m traded daily. Next are the Casablanca Stock Exchange at $17m a day and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) $15m in turnover for 2018, each less than 1% of the JSE daily trade.

Daily turnover on the NSE soared 71% during 2018, due to a median increase in turnover of 125% across its 10 largest companies, all in the financial sector. The key boost was recovery in world oil prices seen towards the end of 2017, causing improved economic fundamentals and a boosting investor sentiment. Highest average daily turnover value across African exchanges, excluding JSE, and most of the market capitalisation are with the financial sector. Morocco has 30% of the financial sector capital (ex-JSE), followed by Egypt (18%) and Nigeria (15%).

Free float and liquidity
The “free-float” represents the proportion of a listed companies’ shares that are available for active trading and excludes: any directors’ holdings, shares with lock-in periods and those otherwise held without the intention of trading pursuant to a regulatory or commercial purpose. Excluding these shares from the liquidity consideration, we get a truer representation of the liquidity in an exchange. The JSE has an adjusted market capitalisation of $750bn and a free-float of 73%.

On average larger exchanges exhibit higher levels of free-float, as expected, but this is generally low across the exchanges. The free-floats of the Egyptian and Moroccan exchanges average 26% of their market capitalizations. Both exchanges have higher overall market capitalizations than Nigeria, but the NSE has a higher free-float at 46% of market capitalization, and so a higher adjusted market capitalization. The Ghana Stock Exchange tops the African rankings as the highest free-float (ex-JSE) at 66%, followed by Namibia at 61%. The lowest free-float level relates to the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM), free-float of only 2%.

Cost of trading and brokerage commissions
RisCura says: “The cost of trading on African exchanges is substantially higher than developed markets”.

Bright Africa report says it is difficult to obtain cost of trading information. “A significant portion of trading fees is made up of brokerage commissions… The limited pool of licensed brokers in each country results in very low power to investors to switch to a more affordable competitor. However, the low volume of trades on these exchanges means that brokers charge more on each trade to cover their costs. It’s a difficult position to get out of without incentivization for brokers to lower their fees.”

The report’s verdict: “Trading costs of up to 4% makes short-term trading strategies unviable, further reducing the liquidity in these markets. Egypt’s relative high liquidity, in comparison with Nigeria (which has a similar free-float), can at least in part be attributed to the significantly lower cost of trading.”

The cost of trading below represents the cost of a single transaction, but in order to realise profits investors would need to also sell shares resulting in double the costs. The substantial portion of other fees in South Africa, mostly represent Securities Transfer Tax, which is not charged in most developed markets.

Consensys ramps up blockchain rollout in African financial markets with new appointment

Leading #Blockchain innovator #Consensys continues to ramp up its role in shaping the future of financial services and capital markets in Africa with the recruitment of #fintech veteran Ian Bessarabia. He joins the team as Head of South African Operations to support the implementation of enterprise Blockchain solution.
Bessarabia has been working in fintech for 20 years, and has managed operations teams, project implementations and market-driven initiatives in an array of countries and across industry. He is best known in African and global capital markets for his work as Market Development Lead – Fixed Income, Foreign Exchange and Blockchain – Africa at Thomson Reuters and previously as Business Development Manager at SWIFT.

Ian Bessarabia


ConsenSys is a worldwide venture production studio that specialises in building decentralised applications (DApps), enterprise solutions and various developer tools for Blockchain ecosystems, focused primarily on Ethereum. Powered by smart contracts, and secured through encryption, the applications provide the benefits of transparency, auditability, and immutability that are unique to solutions based on blockchain.
In a recent post on LinkedIn Bessarabia wrote: “Blockchain has the power to transform the way businesses share information and deliver services. However, this relatively new technology needs to demonstrate clear value to businesses before it builds enough trust to go mainstream.
In a recent press release Bessarabia adds: “Much time has been spent analysing and challenging the underlying technology, and there is a pressing need to shift the thinking into a tangible business narrative, and pragmatic adoption. Expansion within the local financial sector will see our marketplace becoming Blockchain enabled. The idea is that every asset bought or sold would be on the ledger”.

Monica Singer

Monica Singer, South Africa Lead at ConsenSys, recruited him: “It provides me tremendous pleasure to take someone with the abilities and experience as Ian on board. We are on such an incredibly exciting journey and having Ian provide his input is a real boon for us.”
According to the press release: “(Ian) thrives on mentoring start-ups and early-stage initiatives looking at deploying technology for social good. As an ethical protagonist, he is also a participant of the Ethics and Governance Think Tank, run by The University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science” He is on the South African Financial Blockchain Consortium (SAFBC), a group aimed at educating and bringing the benefits of Blockchain to the industry for the benefit of the entire country.

What is Ethereum?
According to the Ethereum website it’s a way to build “unstoppable applications”:
“Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference.
“These apps run on a custom built blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property.
“This enables developers to create markets, store registries of debts or promises, move funds in accordance with instructions given long in the past (like a will or a futures contract) and many other things that have not been invented yet, all without a middleman or counterparty risk.”

New $60bn US development finance institution arriving soon

The USA is creating a new International Development Finance Corporation with streamlined capacity for investment. It will replace the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and draw together several other US investment initiatives.

The IDFC is supposed to offer one stop for other investment support including technical assistance grants, finance for feasibility studies, development credits, first loss guarantees, debt financing including in local currency which will save currency risks for investors, and political risk insurance.

The bipartisan act was introduced by Senators Bob Corker and Chris Coons, and Congressmen Ted Yoho and Adam Smith. The Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (Build) Act passed the House in early August and the non-partisan policy think-tank Brookings Institution says both the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee strengthened the development aspects xx. “A review of the legislation casts no doubt that the proposed… IDFC.. is first and foremost a development agency.” See the article for more on the structural elements and how it achieves coordination.

The new agency will pull together Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC, the US Government development finance institution), some credit facilities under development agency USAID, US Trade and Development Agency and financing for feasibility studies in emerging markets
According to Aubrey Hruby, writing in the Financial Times: “The proposed IDFC will be OPIC on steroids. It will advance American interests in three critical ways: 1) it will enhance global competitiveness relative to US trading partners; 2) it will support US firms seeking opportunities in frontier markets and 3) it will eliminate institutional inefficiencies.”

Hruby says the new agency double the overall budget from $30 billion to a $60bn cap and will also be able to deploy equity as well as the debt which Opic was allowed to deploy, limiting the range of projects into which it could invest. By comparison, European development finance institutions can deploy contributions of some $10bn a year. In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that funds available for Chinese entities in African markets would double to $60bn. It is estimated that total capital flows from China to Africa were between $70bn and $175bn over the decade 2001-2011.

The new IDFC will enable the US to align commercial and development interests and will provide more opportunities in the emerging economies which account for 80% of global growth since 2008. It will be used to mitigate risk and act as a catalyst.

Connect Africa is OPIC’s $1bn programme (photo credit www.opic.gov)

According to Hruby, projects that OPIC invested into supported more than $80bn in exports and created 280,000 jobs. It supports initiatives such as Connect Africa, an initiative to invest $1bn into telecommunications infrastructure in the next 3 years. Opic was also key to helping Bechtel coordinate and develop the Nairobi-Mombasa Expressway Project in 2016. Analysis by the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation says OPIC invested 27% or $6.28bn of its portfolio in Africa, of which half focused on Ghana, Kenya and South Africa.

Audrey Hruby is co-author of the award winning book The Next Africa, adviser to investors and companies doing business in Africa and a Senior Fellow at the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council.

Recent Africa share listings news

London and South Africa
Old Mutual Limited, an insurance company founded 173 years ago, moved its main listing back to Johannesburg on 26 June and has dual-listings in Namibia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and London, as reported by Bloomberg and Moneyweb. Old Mutual plc terminated its listing on the London Stock Exchange on 25 June, and spun off UK wealth manager Quilter plc which was listed separately on the LSE (and dual listed on the JSE) the same day with a market capitalization of £2.75bn based on a £1.45 share price. It also sold its US asset manager and Latin American units as it believed each unit would be worth more separately. The “home-coming” was marked with a parade in Sandton and events in Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Old Mutual had moved its head office and primary listing to London in 1999, according to Reuters, but now its prominent riverside London head office is being wound down, with staff down from 120 to 40 in 2018.
The stock was listed in Johannesburg at ZAR28.50, valuing the company at some ZAR140bn ($10.7bn). According to Sanlam analyst Renier de Bruyn, quoted by Bloomberg, the share price did not reflect the hoped-for “value unlock” and Old Mutual was at an “attractive” price-earnings ratio of 7.5x, compared to 13x for its biggest South African rival, Sanlam. Bloomberg quotes Brad Preston, chief investment officer at Mergence Investment Managers Ltd: “Old Mutual’s strategy of trying to build a completely global business I think clearly has failed. We’ve seen them reverse that completely.” It bought United Asset Management Corp in USA for $1.4 billion in 2000 and Skandia AB in Sweden for $8bn in 2006. Between mid-1999 and June 2018 Old Mutual’s shares in Johannesburg returned 480% while Sanlam’s returned almost 2,000%. Sanlam had focused on African markets and reached 34 countries, including buying out remaining shares in Morocco’s Saham Finances SA earlier in 2018 for $1.1bn. Old Mutual is only in 13 countries.
Next step will be the unbundling of shares in Nedbank Group by about December 2018. Old Mutual owns 53% since it bought in under apartheid capital controls in 1986 and it is expected to reduce that to 19.9%.

London
Microfinance firm ASA International listed on the London Stock Exchange on 13 July. Its 85% shareholder Catalyst Microfinance Investment had partially sold half its stake by offering 40m shares at GBP2.24 each. ASA International was set up in 2007 and is one of the larges and most profitable international microfinance institutions, with 1.8m clients, particularly low-income and underserved women entrepreneurs. It operates in Asia (7)%) and in Africa (30% of clients, including in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. It has 1,387 branches and employs 9,000 staff.

Mauritius and London
Grit Real Estate Income Group, a pan-African real estate company based in Mauritius and investing in 7 countries Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Ghana and Zambia with plans for Senegal and the Seychelles, raised $132.1m through selling 92.4m shares at $1.43 each, before listing on the London Stock Exchange main board on 31 July. The new funds are for more investments in Mozambique and Ghana. Previously there were 214m shares listed in Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Stock Exchange of Mauritius. Bronwyn Corbett and Sandile Nomvete built the Delta International Property Fund from R2.2bn to R11.8bn. It became Mara Delta Property Holdings and was then rebranded Grit and the company headquarters moved to Mauritius, according to this 2017 interview in Finweek magazine.
Corbett commented in a press release: “”We are delighted to have successfully completed our Listing on London Stock Exchange and we are proud to be the first London listed pan-African real estate group”. Earlier she was quoted saying the African real estate sector “offers some of the best returns in the global property market. We have a proven track record of generating income from our selective and diversified range of assets, built through our close and detailed understanding of the region’s property investment environment. The listing will support our aim to grow our portfolio further and become the leading real estate owner on the African continent outside South Africa.” The share price was set at net asset value and the aim is to yield 12% a year in US dollars.

Nigeria
The Federal Government of Nigeria listed a NGN10.7 billion ($29.5m) FGN Green Bond 2022 on the Nigerian Stock Exchange on 21 July. It offered a coupon of 13.48% and aims to finance initiatives including solar plants and hydropower.

South Africa
Anchor Capital became the 9th listing on the A2X Markets on 19 July through a secondary listing. It was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s AltX platform in September 2016 after raising ZAR60m ($5.4m) through an IPO.

Some African IPOs – August 2018

Uganda – CIPLA-Quality Chemicals IPO closes 24 August
CIPLA-Quality Chemicals Ltd opened its initial public offer (IPO) on 13 August and will close on 24 August, aiming to list on the Uganda Securities Exchange on 24 September. The pharmaceutical company aims to raise $45 million through offering a 18% stake via 657,179,319 shares at UGX256.50 per share, according to Reuters. The company manufactures drugs that include anti-retroviral, anti-malarial and Hepatitis B medicines and its products are sold in Cameroon, Comoros, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
India’s Cipla Limited, Uganda’s Quality Chemicals and the Government of Uganda set up the company as a joint venture in 2005, and TLG Capital and Capitalworks Investment Partners invested in the company in 2009, holding stakes worth 12.50% and 14.40% respectively. Lead transaction advisor was reported to be Renaissance Capital in Kenya and Crested Capital in Uganda is the lead sponsoring broker.
it ends a 6-year listing drought as the previous IPO in Uganda was Umeme in 2012.

CIPLA-Quality Chemicals in Kampala (file photo)

Egypt – Giza Spinning & Weaving probably Q4
The IPO of garment maker Giza Spinning & Weaving is set for the fourth quarter, probably November. According to reports, the aim is to sell a 40% stake to finance investment of EGP250m ($14m) into expanded production of garments and yarn. The company employs around 4,800 and was set up in 1979. It is the biggest garment exporter in Egypt by volume and the sixth largest by dollar value, with 87% of production exported to the USA and Europe in 2017. Beltone Financial will be the global coordinator and book runner and a roadshow will run in October, according to Bloomberg.

Uganda – MTN under pressure to list
MTN Group Ltd, which has 55% of the mobile market in Uganda with about 10.9m subscribers, is seeking to renew its 10-year licence in October. Godfrey Mutabazi, executive director of Uganda’s telecom regulator, says that selling shares on the local bourse isn’t a pre-condition for the granting of a new 10-year contract, but Uganda wants “Ugandans to be part of the company,” according to this Bloomberg report.

MTN Ghana – IPO closed 31 July
The IPO of Scancom PLC, the name of telco MTN in Ghana, closed on 31 July as par of bids for a local licence. It was selling 35% of the company, in line with discussions with the regulator. Details are to be announced soon and trading could begin from 5 September. It is set to be the largest listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange and shares could also be bought using the MoMo Wallet mobile-money platform. MTN has more than 221m customers across 22 markets in Africa and the Middle East. It had agreed with telecom regulators in Ghana and Nigeria to list its local units, and the offer was set to raise GHS3.5bn ($725m).

MTN Nigeria “not yet applied”
MTN had not yet applied for a listing by 9 July, according to a news report which quoted the Securities and Exchange Commission. Previously it had been reported that the listing could go live in August, when Reuters reported on pre-IPO documents in February 2018. It said that MTN planned to list by July and raise at least $400m to cut debt in its Nigeria unit, which was valued at $5.23bn. The Nigerian pledge to list cwas part of a settlemetn whcih also included a $1bn fine in 2016.

Airtel – London or Johannesburg in 2019
Airtel is reported to be aiming to raise up to $1.5bn by listing 25% of the equity in its Africa unit in early 2019, according to this report on Bloomberg, as part of plans to reduce its debt by $4.6bn over three years. Airtel is India’s top wireless operator. It also was reported to be planning to sell part of its stake in a $14.6bn company owning tower infrastructure, formed when Bharti Infratel Ltd merges with Indus Towers Ltd. It is owned by billionaire Sunil Mittal and is hoping to keep its Moody’s credit rating at Baa3. It sold about 8,300 towers in 7 African countries for some $1.7bn in 2015 and in 2016 sold its towers in Tanzania for $179m and sold its Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone units for some $1bn the same year. In 2010 it paid an enterprise valuation of $10.7bn for the African assets of Kuwait Mobile Telecommunications Co, also known as Zain.

Kenya – National Oil Corporation aims at Nairobi and London in 2019
The Government of Kenya plans to raise up to KES103bn ($1bn from a dual listing of shares in state-owned National Oil Corporation in Nairobi and London, according to this news report in Business Daily. NOC needs the money to exercise its rights to buy back shares before production at the Turkana oil field, discovered in 2012.
Petroleum principal secretary Andrew Kamau told the Business Daily that the contract for the concession of oil blocks in the Turkana oil fields to existing operators has a clause allowing the government to exercise a back-in right, which essentially means buying back a percentage of the ownership before production kicks in. “When you sign a contract you have a right to buy back some share, before production. The percentage we can buy back is 15 in one block and 20 in the other. The listing should raise enough money for the purchase,” said Mr Kamau, without indicating whether the State would exercise its rights for the entire stake under the clause. The two blocks are owned by British firm Tullow (50%), Africa Oil (25% and Total (25%). The Government and Tullow was to start small scale crude production of about 2,000 barrels a day in 2018, with full production due from 2021 after building a $2.1bn pipeline to Lamu on the coast, according to Reuters.

London – Intercement delays to 2019
Intercement is to delay its $1.8 billion IPO on the London Stock Exchange from the second half of 2018 to early 2019, according to reports. It makes cement and related products in Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Paraguay, South Africa and Egypt and was founded in 2008.

For fuller analysis of recent and upcoming IPOs across Africa, see the website of the Enko Africa Private Equity Fund, a $63.4m fund focused on pre-IPO opportunities across Africa.

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