When you attend a gathering of Kenya’s top honchos from both political and business worlds, you are bound to come across interesting news and facts. And the launch of the British American IPO yesterday at the Nolfolk was such a gathering. Prime Minister Raila Odinga graced the occasion, as did various Chief Executives including Stella Kilonzo, the Chief Executive of the Capital Markets Authority(CMA), Peter Mwangi, the Nairobi Stock Exchange boss, James Mworia, the Centum chief executive among many others.
Also, British American chairman J Nicholas Ashford-Hodges, Dye and Blair chairman Jimnah Mbaru and Equity Bank chairman Peter Munga were some of the attendees.
A remark by Ms Kilonzo, the CMA chief however, got my attention. She alluded to the fact that over the past three years, Kenya’s capital markets have raised Ksh500 billion. Ksh500 billion folks! That is almost half of our total annual budget that Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta read in June. But it was not just the amounts that were staggering. It was the period these amounts were raised. The monies were raised between 2008 and 2011.
For those with a memory span of a goldfish (three seconds!), this was one of the toughest periods since Kenya’s economic renaissance of 2003. Not only was the country emerging from the worst post-election violence since independence, but the world economy was limping. The global financial crisis was at its peak and momentarily, it seemed the only good news was the election of Barrack Obama’s as the first US black president. For our markets to raise such amounts signals the potential Kenya capital markets have.
And it is going to get better. The economy has recovered from the twin effects of the postelection debacle and the financial crisis. I just hope Greece’s and now Italy debt crisis don’t develop into something bigger. Also, there are planned reforms in our capital markets that will attract even more institutions to use Kenya’s capital markets to raise money.
CMA has drafted a Capital Markets Authority Bill and the Securities and Investment Bill 2011. So, you aint seen nothing yet as far as our capital markets are concerned! Back to the British American IPO. It is now on and as Reuters reported yesterday, some prospective investors are selling other counters to participate in the IPO. And it is just the first day of the IPO.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga set the ball rolling by signing on as the first buyer of the IPO yesterday during the launch of the offer. In the IPO form, there are two provisions; the one for those who pay taxes and others who are tax exempt. He ticked on the category of taxpayers. Bravo, bwana PM.