Business

NSE's bid for new listings pays off as 10 firms express interest

NSE's bid for new listings pays off as 10 firms express interest
  • Chief executive Geoffrey Odundo is urging companies to open up shareholding as a way of endearing products to Kenyans.
  • He said locally incorporated companies also need new thinking from visionary boards that help fend off competition from deep-pocketed foreign firms.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange’s (NSE) efforts to attract new listings and end its decade-old IPO drought has ignited fresh interest with 10 companies expressing interest to list.

Under the ongoing Ibuka incubation programme, family-owned firms say they need fresh ideas to grow their market reach as well as attract new capital to cash in on emerging opportunities.

Chief executive Geoffrey Odundo is pushing NSE’s growth agenda, urging local firms to open up shareholding as a way of endearing their products to Kenyans.

Mr Odundo said locally incorporated companies also need new thinking from visionary boards that help fend off competition from deep-pocketed foreign firms.

“Ibuka is an opportunity to nurture Kenyan firms into becoming investor-ready ahead of listing where they will be advised on the expertise needed in boards to drive their businesses to the next level.

The world is changing and people want companies that respect the people they employ, become community by supporting projects that impact society as well as run clean operations.

“We give you visibility among local and global shareholders keen on buying stakes in Kenyan firms as well as facilitate advisory services on book keeping, creation of boards as well as insistence on strict observance of the people-planet-profit principle that promotes sustainable business practices,” he said.

Homeboyz is the latest entrant in the Ibuka programme after APT Commodities Limited (APTC), Globetrotter Agency Limited, Moad Capital Limited, Bluenile Rolling Mills Limited, Myspace Properties (K) Limited, Vehicle and Equipment Leasing Limited (VAELL), Polygon Logistics Limited, Nile Capital Insurance Brokers EA Limited, and Nyali Capital Limited.

Except Bluenile Rolling Mills of Thika, all the firms are based in Nairobi, raising fears that only a few Kenyans know what the firms do and it would hence be a Herculean task trying to popularise their products or services.

With the bourse reporting up to Sh240 billion in paper wealth losses last year blamed on foreign investors’ flight, NSE must affirm the integrity of its systems and processes to boost confidence among investors. This could best be done by addressing the case where investor funds are locked up indefinitely in suspended Atlas, Deacons and ARM Cement.

Jamii Bora, Vitaform, Bank of Kigali (Rwanda) and Tuskys are among firms that have expressed interest in going public.

Informed decisions

Challenges that shareholders experience when pursuing dividends continue to hurt NSE’s image, with dividend and shares sent to the Unidentified Financial Assets Authority (Ufaa) now standing at 555 million units.

This happens since most share registrars have offices only in Nairobi and most Kenyans do not know their role.

This means that billions of shillings in dividend remain unpaid and are in the hands of registrars tasked with paying out the same to shareholders.

The situation is made worse by the demise of post office boxes use, with only a few shareholders registering to have their dividend paid via mobile money.

Safaricom’s Sh74.9 billion payout to shareholders last month as well as Kenya Re’s bonus share windfall, where each shareholder will earn three shares to every one held, portend good tidings for the bourse.

Pundits say that Kenyans should buy now when the market is low.

Mr Odundo said that their online portal continues to enjoy global traffic as Kenyans in the diaspora and other investors keep tabs on developments at the bourse, enabling them to make informed decisions on counters to watch and which shares to buy.