Monday, 30 June 2014
Sunday, 29 June 2014
Fastjet Plc, Africa's low-cost airline, has announced that it has signed an agreement to dispose of its holding in Fly 540 Kenya, the loss-making investment it inherited as part of the acquisition from Lonrho Aviation, to Don Smith, a director of Fly 540 Kenya. The agreement wholly removes Fly 540 Kenya from the fastjet group.
All legal and financial ties between the two companies have been dissolved and each group has indemnified one another against any and all liabilities relating to the segregation of the businesses.
"Following a period of complex negotiations, we are delighted to have achieved a successful outcome for all parties. After a thorough and lengthy evaluation of Fly 540 Kenya, we concluded that converting the business into the fastjet low-cost model would not be economically viable,” Ed Winter, Interim Chairman and Chief Executive of fastjet, said.
"Disposing of our investment in Fly 540 Kenya allows us to pursue our priority objective of creating fastjet Kenya as a new entity which will operate to the same low-cost model, international standards of safety, reliability and punctuality as fastjet Tanzania and utilize the same commercial strategy and distribution platforms. Further information on the Company's plans to launch fastjet Kenya will be announced in due course," he said.
Fly 540 Kenya is treated as an investment in the fastjet group accounts as fastjet does not have financial control over it and has not included its losses in the Group consolidated accounts.
Most of the investment has already been written down and the remaining $ 10 million will be written down in the full year 2013 accounts. The disposal, which is for a nominal sum, is a related party transaction under the AIM Rules as it is a disposal to a director of Fly 540 Kenya. The directors of fastjet consider having consulted with WH Ireland, that the terms are fair and reasonable insofar as its shareholders are concerned.
Belgian beer maker Unibra, through its subsidiary Skol Brewery in Rwanda, has introduced two of its brands — Skol and Virunga — to the Uganda market.
Skol has appointed Uganda’s BBM Distributors as its agent to import the malt beers from Rwanda.
Bienfait Biteny, director of Skol Breweries Ltd told The EastAfrican that high beer consumption in Uganda is the key driver for the brewer’s entry.
“Research has shown that Ugandans consumes more beer than any other country in East Africa. We are going to triple our production capacity to 300,000 hectolitres, starting next month, and so the Ugandan market should raise our market share,” said Mr Bitenyo.
According to the recently released WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2014, Uganda and Rwanda lead the East African region in pure alcohol consumption per person at 9.8 litres annually; Burundi follows at 9.3 litres; Tanzania at 7.7 litres and Kenya at 4.3 litres per annum.
Search for new markets
Skol’s search for new markets in the region comes at a time when Rwanda’s revenue from beer exports to DR Congo is expected to tumble following the introduction of new taxes by the latter to protect its local industry.
Skol has invested over $15 million in the brewery, including purchasing equipment and packaging for capacity expansion in a bid to triple its production from the current 100,000 hectolitres. The demand for beer in Rwanda is estimated at 1.2 million hectolitres annually.
Philip Mibenge, the general manager at Skol, said that the firm is hoping to capture two to three per cent of market share in Uganda within its first year, in anticipation of setting up a plant in the country once consumption reaches 30,000 hectolitres per year.
“We are also keenly eyeing the South Sudan and Tanzania markets,” said Mr Mibenge.
Source: The East African
- Mr Naikuni is widely credited for growing the company and guiding it through a series of challenges including a staff unrest, tough business environment and the Duala air crash, which the CEO counts as his lowest moment.
- The incoming CEO takes office at a period that is seen as crucial to the company’s long-term prospects, with his main task being to ensure that the airline gets back into the profit zone and is able to deploy its new planes profitably.
- With the airline facing assaults on multiple fronts, including from Middle Eastern carriers, the negative effects of travel advisories facing the country and multiple security problems across Africa, its main market, Mr Ngunze has his work cut out.
Kenya Airways has appointed Mbuvi Ngunze as its new CEO, replacing long serving Titus Naikuni, who steps down after 11 years at the helm of the national carrier.
In a widely expected move, the board last week announced it had settled on Mr Ngunze, 56, in a move analysts say paints a picture of a company keen on strategic continuity. He takes over on December 1.
Mr Ngunze has been seen as the most obvious successor to Mr Naikuni since his appointment as KQ’s chief operating officer in 2011 from Lafarge, where he held different positions across its global operations, ending his stay as the head of its Tanzania business unit.
“I am still absorbing the news of my appointment… but I will make my plans known in coming days,” said Mr Ngunze.
Mr Naikuni is widely credited for growing the company and guiding it through a series of challenges including a staff unrest, tough business environment and the Duala air crash, which the CEO counts as his lowest moment.
The incoming CEO takes office at a period that is seen as crucial to the company’s long-term prospects, with his main task being to ensure that the airline gets back into the profit zone and is able to deploy its new planes profitably.
Bralirwa, the Rwanda Stock Exchange listed brewer, last week commissioned its $34 million soft drinks plant, which is expected to help boost earnings.
The new plant comes at a time when regional brewers are increasingly facing challenges of higher taxation, growing competition and more financing costs as a result of increased investments. These challenges have seen share prices of the region’s listed alcohol manufacturers drop.
Bralirwa has shed almost half of its value, with the counter now trading at Rwf460 ($0.68) from a peak of Rwf860 ($1.28) at the beginning of the year.
EABL is trading at Ksh280 ($3), having lost four per cent since January. Tanzania Breweries Ltd (TBL) is the best performing counter, having gained 20 per cent since January.
But increased taxation of alcohol by governments across the region is expected to put considerable pressure on margins. For example, EABL says volumes on its Senator beer fell by 80 per cent, following a decision by the government to introduce a 50 per cent excise duty on keg beer.
“The emerging beer market is very price-sensitive. The increased taxes mean that the price of Senator is out of the reach for most in this market and this will affect volumes,” said Kuria Kamau, an analyst at Kestrel Investment bank.
Bralirwa has also suffered from the tough regulatory rules adopted by the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the Rwandan beer maker saying total beer volumes remained flat in the year ending December 2013 at around 1.65 million litres, the same as 2012.
Since the establishment of a brewery just outside Goma in early 2013, DRC has raised the import tariff on beer from $2.9 to $5.74 per crate and introduced a higher charge for quality standard verification, from $0.48 to $0.91 per bottle rack. These increases and the end of Bralirwa’s licence to produce and sell Guinness Foreign Extra Stout last year, have also affected pricing.
Kenya’s private-sector borrowing hit a two-year high in the first quarter of the year, driven by falling interest rates and increased credit appetite from the country’s corporate sector.
According to the latest data from the World Bank, private-sector borrowing expanded by an average of 25 per cent in the first four months of the year, well above the Central Bank target of 20 per cent and clear of the country’s 2013 credit growth target of 17 per cent.
The last time credit expanded by 25 per cent was in March 2012.
The growth saw the country’s banking sector extend loans worth Ksh327 billion ($3.76 billion) in the year to April or nearly 2.5 times the Ksh127 billion ($1.46 billion) that the lenders extended in the same period last year.
Private sector credit grew 23.9 per cent in the 12 months to April 2014, compared with 10.5 per cent in the period to April 2013.
The high credit appetite was fuelled by falling interest rates, which have hit a three-year low, and are expected to go down even further as the government keeps out of the local bond market, having raised $2 billion from the international market through a Eurobond. (See video)
Saturday, 28 June 2014
What is a dark pool?
Banks in the US and Europe created these pseudo exchanges to carry out transactions on behalf of big clients who wanted to conduct huge buy or sell deals without the price moving as the deal was done. The term "dark pool" was coined to sum up the opaque nature of these privately run platforms, which have become one of the main devices banks use to match buyers and sellers away from the main exchanges.
They are computer-driven, and cheaper than sending buy and sell orders through the US's 13 public exchanges. Around 45 dark pools are in operation. The biggest are understood to be run by JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.
There are several selling points. The trades tend to be large slugs of shares that would attract the attention of other large shareholders, either spooking them into selling their shares of encouraging them to buy more. Dark pools only report data after a trade has occurred. At that stage, information about the trade has little influence on the price.
In the past investors who wanted to process a big trade would break it up into a number of smaller transactions – but algorithmic traders used computers to spot these trading patterns and prices were effected as they moved in to buy and sell at the same time.
There was also a promise that high frequency traders – dubbed the great white sharks of the investment business in Michael Lewis's new book Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt – and algorithmic traders would also be prevented from participating and incorporating dark pool trading in their computer-driven dealings.
Lastly, there was the price tag. Banks promised to process trades at cheaper, bulk rates compared with rival big exchanges. This price promise has now attracted many smaller investors in search of a cheap transaction.
THE INDEPENDENT, UK: BARCLAYS AND STANDARD CHARTERED SHARES DIVE IN DOUBLE BLOW FOR UK BANKING SECTOR
Standard Chartered hit by new profit decline, Barclays facing allegations of “fraud and deceit”
The position of Standard Chartered's chief executive, Peter Sands, was under ever greater pressure yesterday as a profit warning sent the FTSE 100 bank's shares to a three-year low.
A source close to one non-executive director said: "This will accelerate next year's succession" – a reference to a desire in some parts of the boardroom for Mr Sands to make an exit at or before next May's annual meeting.
A Standard Chartered spokesman denied any such plan existed. The emerging markets lender said its first-half profits would be 20 per cent down, hitting earnings for the full-year, because of tougher regulations and low market volatility in its trading business.
The suit New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has brought against Barclays, accusing the bank of running its dark pool for the benefit of high-frequency traders, has all Wall Street wondering: What will Barclays do ?
Barclays has 30 days to respond. It has several options, but there is only one likely outcome.
1. Dispute the facts.
2. Make a motion to dismiss, arguing, for example, the complaint does not make out a cause of action. One it would argue even if everything Schneiderman says is true, it doesn't violate New York law.
3. Settle the case. Which is the most likely scenario.
Why? Because Schneiderman has a very blunt, powerful weapon called the Martin Act.
The Martin Act gives the New York State Attorney General broad powers to bring civil and criminal action against almost anyone that has business that affects New York State.
The Martin Act was originally passed in 1921. Hard to believe, but at the time there were no federal laws to protect investors against fraudulent claims by brokers nor investment advisors.Federal laws were not passed until the SEC Act of 1933.
Damning allegations that Barclays cheated and defrauded its customers pushed shares in the besieged bank to their lowest levels in 18 months on Thursday and set back attempts by its boss Antony Jenkins to turn around its troubled reputation.
The shares were the biggest fallers in the FTSE 100, at one point losing 9% before closing 6.5% lower at 215p – wiping £2.4bn off the value of the bank.
The fall was prompted by a lawsuit filed overnight by the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. He accused Barclays of "a systematic pattern of fraud and deceit" over the way it operated its "dark pool" private trading system.
Schneiderman said the dark pool – a means by which traders can remain anonymous until they have completed trades and which was publicised in a recent book on Wall Street by Michael Lewis – was used to favour high-frequency traders, contrary to promises made in marketing literature.
"Barclays grew its dark pool by telling investors they were diving into safe waters. According to the lawsuit, Barclays' dark pool was full of predators – there at Barclays' invitation," Schneiderman said.
High-frequency traders use complex computer systems to buy and sell huge volumes of stocks in milliseconds to profit from tiny movements in share prices.
Barclays' new legal counsel, Bob Hoyt – who worked in George W Bush's White House – was in New York to lead an urgent inquiry into the allegations, which come as Jenkins has been pledging to clean up Barclays. The allegations date from 2011 until the present, so include the time Jenkins has been in charge. He was promoted to running the bank in the wake of the Libor-rigging scandal which forced out Bob Diamond and other top executives.
Emerging markets experts at Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are bearish on investing in Brazil regardless of the World Cup.
"There's no upside for this government, even if everything goes well," Drausio Giacomelli, head of emerging markets research at Deutsche Bank, said Wednesday at the New York Society of Security Analysts Latin American Capital Markets Conference.
"It's not about (if Brazil wins the World Cup), it's about what it exposes: a government that's unable to deliver what they say the people need for education, for transportation, infrastructure in general," he said. "They can give stadiums ... but not what matters."
Brazil plays Saturday against Chile in the first game of the Cup's knockout round.
Giacomelli also criticized Brazil's monetary policy under President Dilma Rousseff.
"Brazil has gotten it wrong since the beginning of the Dilma cycle," he said about the country's recent interest rate hikes. "They put themselves in a situation that is the worst-case scenario for (emerging markets): stagflation-low growth and high inflation."
Queues are forming outside banks including First Investment Bank in Sofia
Bulgaria's central bank has said there has been a systematic attempt to destabilise the country through attacks on the banking system.
It said it would use all powers at its disposal to protect citizens' savings.
Shares in Bulgarian banks fell sharply for the second day in a row.
These is speculation that a run on deposits at the country's fourth-biggest bank, Corporate Commercial Bank, could spread to others.
The central bank took control of Corporate Commercial Bank last week and said its problems were isolated. Economists and Fitch Ratings agency have also played down the risk of contagion, while foreign banks with subsidiaries in Bulgaria insist their operations are safe.
But comments by a deputy from the country's ruling party on Thursday that another bank may suffer a similar fate further hit confidence and left investors rushing to ditch Bulgarian bank stocks.
SOFIA, Bulgaria — A second Bulgarian bank has been hit by a run within the past week, prompting authorities to issue a statement claiming there is no reason for depositors to worry about their money despite reports the financial system is shaky.
First Investment Bank, Bulgaria's third-largest lender, was the target of media rumors on Friday alleging that it was short on liquidity, causing public panic and a run on deposits.
The central bank called the rumors "an attempt to destabilize the state through an organized attack against banks without any reason" and demanded legal action against those spreading "untrue and ill-intentioned rumors." The government said there is "no cause for concern."
Last week, Corpbank was hit by a run, leading the central bank to put it under supervision for three months.
The Royal Bank of Scotland’s headquarters in London.
LONDON — The Royal Bank of Scotland is making a major bet that consumers in the future will do most of their banking on mobile phones or tablets.
On Friday, R.B.S., based in Edinburgh, said it would spend 1 billion pounds, or about $1.7 billion, in its consumer and small-business banking operations through 2017 as part of a more digital-focused strategy.
The bank said it planned to add nearly 100 automated teller machines and transform its branches from locations that are mostly focused on transactions to centers for financial advice and education. It will add 600 additional in-branch teller machines to take cash deposits and checks from consumers.
The bank said it would also upgrade its mobile platforms and roll out wireless service and other new technology, like iPads to log on to its online banking network, at 400 of its branches.
R.B.S. said it expected about half of its customer transactions to come from its mobile applications in the next four years, up from about 40 percent in 2013. Branch transactions are expected to account for only about 5 percent of its business by 2017, compared with 13 percent last year.
Love Hearts sweets wait to be sorted and packaged on the production line at the Swizzels-Matlow factory in New Mills, northern England February 13, 2012. The sweets were first produced in 1954 as novelty gifts in Christmas crackers and now feature over 200 different messages. REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS FOOD SOCIETY)
It started out as mild infatuation, but now it seems bankers have developed a full-blown crush on Amazon.com.
From Citigroup to SunTrust, banking industry executives are gushing over the Internet retailer's use of analytics to figure out what customers want, a model that bankers see as the salvation for an industry being invaded by more nimble retail, tech and telecom competitors.
Just like Amazon, banks collect vast amounts of information about their clients. Your bank knows what you buy, how much you spend and whether you have anything saved. That kind of intel could be used to anticipate whether you need a credit card, car loan or investments.
It's one thing to simply offer a car loan, Thong Nguyen, the head of retail banking at Bank of America, said at a press breakfast in Manhattan Thursday. "It's more interesting to see that you are on month 33 of your car loan payments...and then present you the opportunity to get a cheaper rate,"
Consumers--whether they are buying a Kindle or opening a checking account--want companies to make products relevant to their individual needs, Nguyen said. There is something to be said for getting an email of feminist reading suggestions from Amazon, after you've finished a Bell Hooks book on your Kindle.
The banking industry is betting that the same sort of tailor-made approach could work for mortgages and credit cards too. The trick will be to do it without appearing creepy or intrusive.
Friday, 27 June 2014
The Kenyan economy stands a risk of under-performing owing to deteriorating security and severe drought that has hit the bread basket areas of Rift Valley. East Africa’s largest economy will probably expand an annual 4.7 percent in 2014 and 2015, the World Bank said in a bi-annual economic report
The lender in December forecast expansion of 5.1 percent this year and 5.2 percent next year.
The bank also revealed that the economy performed miserably in the first quarter (January–March) of this year, growing by 2.7 percent compared to 5.7 percent in a similar period last year. “We expect that the economy will grow by 4.7 percent this year (2014),” said John Randa, the Bank’s Senior Economist.
Volatile security Mr. Randa noted that the major downsides to the projected economic growth include the deteriorating security situation in the country, inadequate and erratic rainfall, volatile security situation in the Middle East vis-à-vis oil prices. Others include tightened global monetary conditions, which is feared to create volatility in the forex market and domestic interest rates.
“If these risks persist, then we would not achieve the growth rate we have projected,” he said.
Rainfall was below average in some farming areas during the main wet season from March to May in Kenya, which is the world’s largest exporter of black tea and relies on agriculture to generate more than a fifth of its economic output. The dry weather cut farming yields and led to crop failure in some cases, according to the Kenya Meteorological Department.
Tourism, which is the second-biggest foreign-currency earner after tea shipments, has been damaged by a spate of attacks claimed by Islamist al-Shabaab militants, including a raid on a Nairobi mall in September that left at least 67 people dead.