In the last few IPOs, this matatu syndrome seems to have become the rule of thumb that D&B (how come it goes all the lead broker roles?) applies to IPOs. So where:
- Safarcom would have been a better IPO listed as 2.5bn shares at Ksh20 each; it was listed as a flooding 10bn shares each worth a very cheap-looking Ksh5.
- Co-op could have been listed in a similar manner to Equity at say Ksh30 with fewer shares; it now has 3.2bn shares each worth ksh9.50.
Mathematically it may not make any difference, but there are several problems with this low-rent and myiopic approach:
- Potential shareholders look for two things price appreciation and dividend. Most can forget about a Safaricom dividend.
- Capital raising measures: One of the reasons that companies list is so that should they need to, they can raise capital via the stock market. Can you imagine Safaricom doing a rights issue or Co-op? Both would most likely flop unless offered at a Ksh1 each.
- Administrative cost: Flooding the market shares means you also have to flood it with investors cue admin costs.
Hopefully going forward, IPOs will be done more flexibly and sensitively.