Saturday, November 29, 2008
Centum saw PAT down 17% for its half year to September vs.. prior year, not too bad given NSE was down. If CEO was still the same, it might have been worth buying at around ksh12, but now its worth waiting to see where it goes. Notice the very negative cash position. It bought Longhorn, but also made some disposals. Still, I now understand why the dividend was postponed to January. James Mworia who takes over in two weeks time clearly has his work cut out especially given Mwangi left due to strategic disagreements and we are stuck into sub-4000 levels for 2009 at least.Its a buy for me if below ksh10, though there are probably better prospects in the medium term.
KRA came up tramps to make Total look good ahead of its expected purchase of Caltex .
Chris Mwebesa was appointed CFC FS CEO (I wondered why the share has been tanking-apart from the interesting 9 month results which I haven't seen). Bamburi's CEO has also left . Looks like its that time of the yr.
Macro-view: Water rates go up in the new year, maize (our staple food) prices seems to have broken the gate and are on an upward stampede and oil prices remain sticky. So looks like the only way inflation will go below 20% in the first half of 2009 is if its revised (I sense it already has) and some items are removed from the basket. We are walking into economic problems with our eyes wide open. 4 key words for 2009. Food policy. Policy dynamism.
Food Policy: There is a great opportunity to start on a new blank canvas. Just copy and paste the polciy on milk.
Policy dynamism: We nrks are often accused of westernism, but if gova could just react a bit quicker for example on the budget deficit (rather than stealth rise in interest rates) or inflation (was already high last yr), we won't be in this tight situation.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Before monetarist economists tookover the world in the early 80s, auditors and indeed accountants were generally just that. Peeps who did audit and accounts. The new economic era saw them downgrade these vital functions and effectively become consultants. They sort of figured there was no growth in just doing their core jobs. So what you then got if you employed an auditor to review your accounts and give you the greenlight to publish your accounts was a
- firm sends its trainees to look at the accounts and ask the questions. Most although they have some accounting knowledge would be very irritating. No knowledge of your business, of your accounts, processes etc. So you would get basic questions like why did your income grow from last year? Why do you recognise such revenue? These would be the same questions every year because they would be new pack of trainees!
-you'd then get a senior manager who'd on the basis of the information gathered pass your accounts but propose a series of improvements or audit points that he/she thinks you should make and further that the firm can recommend ways of doing this very cheaply.
-But it'll cost you for the additional time. This is the consultant piece which most (and especially the big 4) make their revenue from.
However, with a recession and one driven by credit drought, auditors and accountants will need to be careful that they don't sign-off accounts only for the said company to collapse the day after as has already happened severally. But qualifying accounts comes with a rider, the firm could lose that auditing contract. Still at least, they will have to start earning their money....
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Stepping back from boring theory, the big practical drivers today in these exchange rates are tourism, remittances and trade (exports and imports) in that order. In fact for tourism and remittances, US and UK rank 1 and 2 respectively in terms of the fx earned or sent into Kenya. A basic look at the financial news today will tell you that both nations are suffering equally from similar issues. Similarly trade patterns with the two won't have changed so fundamentally in a period of 5 months. So what is driving this divergence?
If the other factors are moving tghe same way, this leaves one player I haven't mentioned. The key driver is in my opinion, the fx market-makers and dealers who trade (sorry speculate on) on fx movements.
Further reading on similarly puzzling fx rate movements between Canada and US.
- Is our business community ready? Are they utilising IT to modernise the way they do their business? Where is the increased Kenyan-based business content? Why haven't the number of listed firms with a commercial website increased since 2006?
- Is govt ready? I keep hearing about computerisation project, but why is it still difficult to locate land maps and the like? Will Kibz be able to work the videolink in his office? How about data protection especially as it pertains to publicly-held records?
- And mwananchi? I know sales of computers, laptops and associated paraphernalia going up massively, but are guys learning e-commerce as a subject? Or html and related languages? Are entrepreneurs queuing up to push aside none ecommerce business models?
Monday, November 24, 2008
- You have to be perfect. Quite the contrary.
- You are weak. No. I don't think anybody would say Obama is weak.
- You are a know-it-all. If you are one, I don't think you'd believe in God.
- You have to be religious. Wrong. Believing in God is first and foremost a personal choice i.e. doesn't involve any rules. Being part of a religion can be one way of sharing that personal believe with others and does involve rules.
- You have to give up on those things you love like getting drunk. Nope, its a personal choice based on your believe.
- Its must to believe in God always. God doesn't need you to believe in him.
My believe is simply my way of thanking him for all the many things (good and bad) that he has seen me through.
So if you don't believe in God, what do you believe in?
Saturday, November 22, 2008
- The weight of the budget deficit is now starting to tell and I expect rates to go up slowly if only because CBK is being cautious with t-bill issuance.
- Higher rates mean higher repayments mean higher loan default rate.
- Inflation is not going to come down below 20% before Q1 and only if concerted eforts are made to tackle it. Means reduced investor wallet.
- Oil companies are showing usual sticky pattern in reducing fuel prices which keeps manufacturers and others expensing higher
And ofcourse western markets haven't hit bottom yet. They'll do this when we get quicker action on assets. 2ndly, GM and other US motor companies are now on the cliff edge. Honda is feeling the effects.
Bottomline: I still expect the NSE to touch October bottoms before we close 2008.
PS: From last week, Safcom announced worse than expected results for H1 with previously unexpected hits from loan (gave an fx gain but it could be an fx loss another day). Total finally got some bucks from KRA which helped double H1 profits while Marshalls' went the other way.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Clearly two things need to happen in short order insert get out clauses (after two yrs of underperformance as an example) and secondly to have a more robust oversight system that picks up when things are going wrong. This time we've wasted two yrs.
One worry I have about the use local solution providers, it'll be difficult to get them out. They know how to wine and down the powers that be. 2ndly and relatedly, they'll be unable to take the hard-headed decisions that will allow them to make money e.g. rationalising the employee population because they know how to play the game.
One day, we Kenyans will learn to grab these opportunities to make radical changes.
One positive thing though. That was done quickly...
Ssem seems to have been aware of the green pastures Mwangi was moving to.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
He is probably one of the few politicians in Kenya who understand international PR...
Firstly P/E stands for price earnings ratio and is calculated as
current share price divided by either
the most recent annual earnings per share
forward/estimated earnings per share based on the most recent interim or quarter numbers as per these.
More importantly, a P/E is the premium (fee) you put on a company's earning growth potential. The only other corporate action that should concern you as a shareholder where P/E is concerned would be dilutive moves such as rights issues (which you are unable to participate in) or even the kind of preferred share deals that the likes of Barclays and GS have been doing.
If my average P/E on KCB is 14, it says that I think that all things being equal, I expect KCB's share price to rise to 14 times the price I bought at over my investing horizon. Thinking about that for a minute. It implies that KCB has to in effect double its earnings for 7 years consecutively.
2ndly, P/E also tells you how much goodwill/hype the share has generated from fellow investors in the market. This is an intangible reputational element in the shareprice that can change overnight. And that is why some rank P/E low among their share analysis tools.
I have a couple of ideas about who should replace. One is a very competent NRK who was denied the CMA job for political mathematic reasons.
Its not a difficult job. It’s a plain-vanilla trading book for shares and bonds with not that many deals per day. One can easily monitor positions on a daily basis and be able to give feedback on any funnies the day after. There are not that many brokers, so again doing due diligence on their operations is not back-breaking.
There'd be a lot of very quick wins in terms of changing the bourse workings to bring back investors and especially the all important retail sector.
It'd be an easy job for one to look good in.
You'd have to be very very incompetent to oversee the collapse of 3 brokers in a benign environment.
I am not saying Mwebesa was incompotent but...
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
On the other hand, price will be down all the way.
Poor marketing and IPO process (I had to abandon my application because the easiest I could buy some was to open a nominee account-which as you know work like a dream for brokers), adversely affected the outcome. And all the drama sorrounding Safcom and brokers didn't help.
Malawi Telcom is a contrast...
Since the credit crunch started lenders have pulled back credit lines. This means that among other things, first time-buyers can't find affordable mortgages at current house price. Neither can buy-to-let buyers. These two sectors have fuelled growth in house prices over the last decade. This means that sellers have to cut house prices. They in turn have lower deposits for their next homes, cue more price cuts until we get to negative equity. At negative equity,every mortgage borrower has to find additional capital to get a mortgage. Then? Both first-time buyers and those moving homes have to save more. Which means less spending.
This also has implications for Kenya Estate for Diaspora funds that find their way home into real estate. Real estate in Kenya has since 2002 been funded by 3 sources;
- Diaspora or NRKs (non-resident Kenyans)
- cheaper and accessible loans
- and savings in that order. And possiblly NGOs and foreign real estate funds (funded via savings and real estate equity)...
Monday, November 17, 2008
- 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.
- 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.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Unless you compare with stock-led oil industry i.e. crude oil prices and petrol prices. Everytime crude oil prices go up, petrol prices go up almost straight away. But there is always stickiness when crude oil prices go down. The reason is two-fold. Stocks and secondly, pure profiteering.
In the banking sector, the Central Bank interest rate sets the signal for which way interest rates should go. In a perfect market, a 25% fall in Central Bank interest rates would instantly be reflected in borrowing and saving interest rates. If not the full 25%, then at least 15% with the 10% covering administrative costs...
Following the largest interest rate cut by BoE of 150bps (1.5%), most banks are saying that they can't reduce borrowing rates. Last Thursday's 150bps cut and equivalent fall in LIBOR should have led to a minimum cut of 50bps allowing for pure interest margin and administrative bps. Those that have reduced their rates (basically those needing capital from gova), have also stopped offering BoE rate tracker products to new customers. This despite LIBOR falling by a similar margin.
Banks are unwilling on unable to cut their rates by as much (and some not even at all) because
- Many want to reduce assets. By not offering lower priced lending products, they keep customers away. Also risk-averseness is now the name of the game and lower prices are now associated with growth in assets and risk.
- Cost of funding: Despite BoE best attempts, cost of funding remains high in wholesale funding market and inaccessible for some of these banks. HBOS, the largest mortgage lender with around 20% of the UK market is now seen as a basket case to which wholesale lenders will only lend to after its takeover by Lloyds TSB is completed.
- Broken funding models: In the old days before CDS tookover from sensible banking, most Treasury Divisions in a bank had a rolling hedging strategy that involved profiling of the maturity of its various lending products on offer at any given time (say monthly) and finding funding hedges to match that book through the yield curve. These days, doing such a hedging strategy can't be modelled let alone be used as its flout with difficulties because most banks have erroneously sold off loans whose downside somehow still sits with them.
The situation is not unique to the UK. In the US, banks are similarly pulling back from lending leading to a vicious circle in the housing market that is then negatively infecting the whole economy.
That is why I think that despite the mountainous sums given to banks, the end-game solution to this crisis lies in the housing market.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Interesting piece in the context of politics. But also stock markets. How many of us stock market investors can genuinely confess to not knowing what is going in the market like 50% of the time. Because you see if we did know what was going on even 85% of the time, we'd all be billionaires like WB who does. By this I don't mean that we don't know our fundamentals but there is as I intimated in my simple equation the other day, a lot variables in the market and saying you know how all those players will react to situations or what their strategies are is like saying you know what everybody is thinking. Unlikely...
A cut in interest rates of 1.5% should be seeing many homeowners and prospective ones smiling. But no. While most banks have passed the cut onto any holders of their variable-rate mortgages, they have also withdrawn any BoE trackers thus closing off prospective house buyers. The rest are dragging their feet saying they can't make the margins even wihn Libor falling! Gova's work is really cut out.
Tiomin discovered tatinium in 1995 in Kwale, got a contract to mine it in 2002. Almost 7 years later it still can't get started. Ignoring the idiotic ways of the ex-president and Kibz, can't they just tell Tiomin its not going to happen because we really don't need the jobs. Don't forget there is a ready market for the product (hence the Chinese interest).
In the UK, they have News of the World a scandal-filled tabloid, but I reckon even it won't be able to pull a story like this (so humorously told despite the sad situations that we Kenyans get ourselves into to get makaratasi)... Wakenya aibu ndogo ndogo.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Who between long-term investors and traders profits more over a market (bull, bear, bull) cycle?
Standard is venturing into Radio.
Scangroup completed the sale of a stake to WPP.
Friday, November 07, 2008
After 4 or so yrs break, I am now commuting using the London underground aka the tube and I now realise what I've been missing. Not...
The tube carries 3million+ passengers a day and you feel like most of them are on your journey to and from work. So what joys have I been missing?
- Morning blues: If somebody is going to throw themselves under a train, is it too much ask that they don't do it at 8 in the morning just as rush hour kicks in? Or even better, do what most do when they can't stomach going to work, just call in sick and stay at home...muppet.
- Water-phobia: Some passengers are principally opposed to washing themselves or brushing teeth. Very painful for fellow passengers.
- The plodders: Those that can't work at 50mph shouldn't bother with the tube. Take the bus to work.
- Potato syndrome: Canada a much younger nation than the "Great" Britain, has double decker trains. A good well planned idea for avoiding being packed into trains like potatoes in a sack. Unlikely to happen in London but badly needed otherwise the "oshiya" are the future.
- Free-riders: Its not funny or clever to bump and grind into your fellow passengers so as to avoid paying for a train ticket. The windy-buses is a better option.
- Keep fit regime: You walk up 100+ stairs in one journey. I've lost 5kgs already...
Thursday, November 06, 2008
The NSE like most developing markets has drivers that are "localised" as well as the normal drivers that ones sees in every other market. You can do all your due diligence in terms of evaluating the various shares on offer, but if you don't understand these drivers, you'll be left hanging dry like many have been by the current bear.
The normal drivers are:
- The presence of institutional investors: Specifically NSSF, company pension funds and principal/anchor shareholders who tend to be in the market for the longterm. With the exception of a very few, most principal shareholders are foreign (a key reason for encouraging strong investment clubs). They stablise the market and without their presence the NSE would not attract...
- Fund managers: Who in the main are target performers given this is the onlyway they can mobilise the funds and fees that go with the business.
- Fundamentals: The economy, other LEPEST issues pertaining to the country, the counter's industry, the performance of the counter, the future outlook for the counter, peer review of the counter against industry rivals, counter's swot all fall under this category. The two types of investors above will usually invest on fundamentals. Others will use technical charting.
- Foreign investors: Without proper data from the NSE, its impossible to confirm what proportion these form, but my intuition confirmed by articles such as this as well as the timing of the recent slump is that they play a key directional role especially in the blue chips.
Other drivers that are more common to the NSE and are as important if not more are:
- Brokers: I've said a lot about them, so all that can be added is to understand how the NSE still works, you need to go back to its operations pre-2002 i.e. the New Stanley price setting era. A broker will decide when to execute your buy/sell order (forget about all that jazz about the CDSC queu system-the order has to get into the system first); a broker will decide whether to short-sell or front-run your order. A broker will decide what the allocation in a right issue will be and can also decide when you get your cheque or whether to play with your cash.
- Retail investors: Apart from the other NSE, no other market in Afrika has a higher proportion of investors who are retail. Retail investors mean footfall and therefore broker commission. Furthermore, many operate on rumours and peer reviews or on recommendations from brokers. Others buy in for "divindend".
So to respond to Maishinski, one can do all the analysis, fundamentals and charting, but without being aware of these other drivers, you may need to always go long-term. As an example, I've bought Equity at various prices starting at ksh134 in 2006 and even at ksh300. Even though my average remains low (around ksh126), I was on out of the money last week for reasons unassociated with fundamentals...
So your NSE share capital gains formula maybe summarised as follows:
Cg = F + FI + II + FM + R - B
- Focus: So breakdown the 10% GDP pa target into SMART objectives that everybody can focus on every yr and motivate the people
- Planning: So that resources are directed to the appropriate areas and bringing together different strands of development so for example no increases in energy prices that impact manufacturing industry.
- Compelling leadership: That says this what and why we need to do it, this is how we are going to do it, this who is going to do it.
Can you imagine Kibz, RAO, UK, Ruto, Ababu getting us there?
If not, why not hire PWC or some of other executive search companies to get us a CEO who can do the job for 5 years...
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Congratulations to the US for showing Kenyans that colour, tribe, race should never be a judge of ability.
For every black person who has had the direct hurt of racism inflected upon them
For every black person who has had to be twice as good as their white colleagues to overcome his colour.
Today is your day
For me and my family, whatever sort of President Obama will be (and I am sure he'll be a success), today he has done enough.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
A US president is important not to all not just for what he/she can but how they do it. Willing to listen to weaker parties when you don't have to is ultimate show of strength. Obama will listen to what the world has to say...
Finally we can't away from it. 53 years after Rosa Parks refused to be treated as a 2nd class citizen on a bus because of her being black, Barrack Obama is asking white America these two questions today:
- Do you accept me as your equal in America?
- More important, do you accept that I am equally capable of occupying the White House and leading this great country to a more successful future?
Monday, November 03, 2008
It therefore hurts when you witness the politicians attempts to keep us from forging ahead together. Some of the idiotic stuff from adults on this has been embarrassing. Charity Ngilu should know that you have to take responsibility for your actions no matter who you thought you were doing it for. As for that thug Ephraim, you should know that if I take your eye out because you took mine out, we'll both be blind and in the wrong. Hopefully all 10 will end up in the Hague or pariahs like Mugabe. In 2003, I remember saying to my cousin that ignoring the MoU was the stupidiest thing that Kibz ever did on many levels. I have a nasty feeling that ignoring the Wako report will mean payback later in a similar manner. Implementing it is the easier option...
The economic downturn has had its positives. Oil prices are slowly dipping below £1 per litre and hopefully grocery prices will follow downwards.
Interesting debate on pesticides. The EEC is proposing to ban a lot of pesticides which have been seen to cause cancer and infertility (note for you NEMA). The UK gova for some weird reason is supporting farmers who don't want the ban and have now started the familiar scary tactics (food prices will triple story)...
Barclays is willing to pay more to private investors than give in to gova?
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Results announced in the last week:
KCB- up 69% yoy driven by strong F&C and strong jaw effect between costs and income. Flat vs. Q2.
DTK-up but can't locate its results
KQ-down 63% yoy, but a commendable perfomance in respect of growing revenue in the first half despite everything. It must get its customer service and hedging right to recover. Really needs a new CEO.
ARM-up 15% yoy on similar turnover growth. Cash flow a bit stronger after loan.
Equity- up 277% yoy for the 9 months driven by Safcom IPO and Ksh0.2m higher than my forecasted fall from Q2.
HFCK-up 36%, Equity has a 20% stake and is in my view, unlikely to take a bigger chunk of HFCK for the time being.
Elsewhere, EA Cables appointed James Mworia, a young guy from TC as its new CEO (apparently).