Thursday, June 26, 2014

Week 26 of 2014 - Bonds, Loans and Banks

The flavor this week, though many months in the making, is mostly about loans and bonds.

Kenya's first ever Eurobond is a resounding success and raised USD 2bn. And at lower than expected rates. The $500mn, 5-year Bonds offered 5.875% and $1.5bn, 10-year rate offered 6.875%. Good show by Kenya's Treasury, its first ever non-politician Cabinet Secretary and the Central Bank of Kenya. It seems the World Bank has a positive outlook for Kenya with the potential production of crude oil by 2017 by Tullow may have helped. Tullow, like Kenya's Eurobond, is listed in Ireland.

I follow @sang252, an analyst on Kenya's Bond Market, and often use his comments and observations for my blogposts. He notes that local KES interest rates should drop slightly as Treasury doesn't need to tap into the local money market. That said, there is a lot of demand for cash from the private sector as it gears up for expansion.

Home Afrika (listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange) wants to raise debt by issuing a Bond. Click on the link from Business Daily Africa.

This will not be easy since HAFR does not have the track record that Britam or HFCK have. Then add the disappointment with the quality of Financial Reporting and Disclosure by HAFR. HAFR Profit Warning for FY 2013. I doubt they can raise debt at the price & quantity of firms like Britam or HFCK since the risk borne by Bondholders would be much higher.

Athi River Mining (listed on the NSE) is Kenya's fastest growing cement firm but as with growth in capital intensive sectors, it needs cash, cash and more cash. And it plans a KES 25bn bond as part of a plan to raise $300mn [KES 26.2bn]. Read about it here. ARM has also issued Convertible Debt ($50mn) and is confident that the conversion will take place based on the performance of the shares on the NSE.

I expect ARM to manage the process well enough and raise the Funding via multiple Bond Issues or a single Issue but structured into tranches. Kenya is currently over-supplied with cement but ARM has expanded into Tanzania and Rwanda as well as other profitable but associated and opportunistic businesses in South Africa and Mali. If the various projects e.g. LAPSSET, Mombasa Port expansion, new roads, etc can be actualized then I expect a huge jump in consumption.

The ugly truth behind being a guarantor is raising its head in Kenya with the introduction of the Credit Reference Bureau. Have a look at this story of Obadhia Gitonga Micheu who sued Co-op Bank which blacklisted him with the CRB for alleged default on a facility for which he was a guarantor, blocking his access to credit for seven years. The suit raises pertinent questions on the liability of guarantors in the event of default. Kenyans routinely guarantee loans for each other, and sometimes clear arrears or have their assets attached after the borrowers default. OUCH!

It's not just the cement industry but also the food industry expanding at a rapid clip.

Bidco had announced plans to invest $200mn by 2017 then in May 2014 went ahead and announced a $23mn loan by IFC, as well as a syndicated loan of $13.5mn for a $46mn expansion project. The current shareholders of Bidco may raise the $9.5mn using bank or bond financing.

Kevian raised a long term loan of $7.5mn from DEG to expand its production facilities for packaging fruit juices. Recently, it added other products to its range to cater to a growing urban population. I figure it will also need loans for working capital needs and these are likely to be sourced locally.

Now this is an interesting one. One man's soup is another man's poison!
Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) is in the process of refinancing a KES 3.3bn loan, which the County of Nairobi defaulted on, issued by Equity Bank (EQTY) to the County of Nairobi. Good move by EQTY which can write back the NPL as well as suspended interest for a boost to the 3Q 2014 results!

What a difference leadership can make! Alfred Mutua (@DrAlfredMutua) opened a 33km road built in just 3 months! From Capital FM comes this story. I believe Machakos County may be the first county to raise funds using a Municipal Bond if it continues developing its economy and infrastructure in a sensible manner.

"Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has officially opened the newly tarmacked Makutano ma Mwala to Kithimani road, the first road to be constructed by a county government.

The 33-kilometer road was built at a cost of Sh650 million over just three months. The road acts a critical linkage cutting across Machakos county, joining Garissa road to the Machakos-Kitui Road."

Makes one wonder what the other 46 governors are doing!