Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Safaricom IPO

The much awaited Safaricom IPO is here at last: the going has been ridden with many challenges - legal as well as investor confidence. But I believe, the Minister for Finance, can at last heave a sigh of relief and say 'It is done man!'

We all accept, including myself, that even now the IPO is not correctly timed; bearing in mind that Nyaga Stockbrokers are under statutory management - but when might have been the correct time to bring this to the market? An ideal time? I don't think that this exists in the investment world: every investment opportunity has its risks which an investor will have to bear before you sink you money into it.

The question right now is: what is going to be the effect of this IPO on the capital markets in Kenya and the whole of the East African Community's economies? As with the Kengen IPO where some Kenyans emerged millionaires, I hope that also come 9th June (when the Safaricom shares start trading at the NSE) some Kenyans and East Africans will laugh all the way to the bank.

I hope that the mood, the confidence and the stability is maintained so that we can rope in more investors to the NSE and to Kenya so that our lives can improve for the better. These are the three pillars on which investors can troop to a country to sink their investment.

But remember in all this, God reigns supreme and there is nothing we can do without His help and assistance: remember to thank Him for the night in the morning and to thank Him in the evening for the day and surely He'll not disappoint you.

See you after 9th June 2008 and see how much you have made.

Happy investing.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Business Environment in Kenya

As most of you might be a ware, Kenya is coming from a scary last two months: lives have been lost and property has been destroyed. But as I requested in the previous post, prayers, I believe have saved Kenya from a catastrophe (or is it near a catastrophe?).

Now, as we wait to see how the power sharing is being implemented, the question on most people's lips is: is Kenya any better to start doing business again now? What is the probability that the deal will be implemented to the letter and that all will agree that all is Ok? I wish that there's somebody out there who can provide candid answers to such pertinent questions: I know that these are some of the questions that are going on in the minds of investors both locally and internationally.

The jittery among the investors is being reflected on the declining prices at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE). Local as well as international investors are quite wary of the way words have started flying around concerning the National Accord And Reconciliation Bill which is about to be debated in parliament soon. Every political divide is interpreting the Accord in a way that suits them and not in the interests of Kenyans and this puts to doubt the probability of them agreeing ultimately. However, all of us are waiting with bated breath till when the bill is enacted into law. We hope that the politicians will rise above their partisan interests and put the welfare of other Kenyans in front and enact this bill, which is what is holding Kenya together.

Some might argue that the declining prices at the bourse are due the much awaited Safaricom IPO but I tend to differ with my little experience at the NSE: some previous IPOs other than Kengen - which romped many investors to the bourse - have had no much effect on the prices at the NSE before.

My prayer still remains that Kenyans - both politicians and Wanjikus - will put aside their personal interests so that this all-important bill is enacted into law so that investors can have once again the confidence Kenya deserves.