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Eyes on Woods as Ryder Cup kicks off in Paris

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Tiger Woods. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Ryder Cup is finally here! And if you were not excited before, Tiger Woods’ victory at East Lake during the Tour Championship and the behaviour of fans at the 72nd hole hopefully got your fired up.

Golf Digest, the sports’ leading publication, described the scenes on the 18th fairway on Sunday as being “on steroids”. The Golf Channel described the scenes as ‘incredible” and Teryn Gregson, who contributes for the PGA Tour, said the scenes were “nothing anyone had prepared for. We were all silent, none of us could form the words to express what we saw.”

Gregson went on: “Tiger parted the sea of fans, the fans were attracted to him like a magnet, wanting to get as close as they could to greatness.

“It was like a movie and you couldn’t help but realise you were in the middle of the greatest comeback story of all time. Win number 80.” SkySports described Woods’ victory as “spectacular for the game of golf.” Sksports added that the game of golf truly won. “You couldn’t have scripted it any better and you see how much it meant to him.” CBS Sports described the crowds swarming Woods as “absolutely insane!”

Rory McIlroy, who was playing with Woods during that historic final round, ran away ahead of the massive crowd but Woods held his ground, shielded by a handful of guards. Commenting after his victory, Woods said, “I just didn’t want to get run over.”

Golf News Net said Woods doesn’t just move the ‘needle’, he is the needle! The PGA Tour’s TV ratings for the Tour Championship were the highest ever with an audience of 7.8 million viewers, about eight per cent of these streaming the event on mobile or other devices. This numbers were 212 per cent higher than the 2017 numbers.

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Woods’ victory at the Tour Championship was his first in five years; his last victory was the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He has now won this event a record three times and is now ranked 13th on the Official World Golf Ranking, his best rank since September 2014.

Woods has now won an amazing 80 times on the PGA Tour, just two shy of Sam Snead’s all time record.

The various statistics as posted by Woods are simply breathe taking; he has now banked $76.45 million (Sh7.8 billion) in his career, won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational a record eight times each, won 18 World Golf Championships — Dustin Johnson is next on that list with only five wins and Phil Mickelson and Geoff Ogilvy are joint third with three wins each.

Woods was victorious 46 times in his 20s and in 2000 he won the US Open with a 12 stroke margin.

The only record that probably matters to Woods is most wins in men’s professional majors; Woods has 14 victories, just four short of Jack Nicklaus.

Earlier in the year, bookmakers had Woods as a 100-1 long shot to win the 2018 Masters, Oddsmaker projects Woods to open at 3-1 to win a major in 2019.

Tomorrow Woods — playing for Team USA — will tee it up at the Ryder Cup in Paris for the morning fourballs and afternoon foursomes against Team Europe. The cup is named after Englishman Samuel Ryder who donated a gold trophy in 1927 for the biennial men’s golf contest held alternatively between courses in the US and Europe.

The atmosphere in Paris will be extra charged and the first tee is fitted with an amphitheatre grandstand with a capacity of over 7,000 fans.

This large number of charged and noisy fans will fray nerves on that first tee and the presence of players like Woods, Ian Poulter and Patrick Reed will only add to the atmosphere and drama. I am looking forward to watching the Ryder Cup this weekend, and like millions of fans around the world, my eyes will be on Woods and the fans following him around Le Golf National in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Paris, France.



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Kenya listed among Sub-Saharan Africa countries with high potential for Islamic Banking

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NAIROBI, Kenya, May 8 – Kenya has been listed as one of the countries with a high potential for Sharia Finance, an Islamic banking model with several restrictions and principles that do not exist in conventional banking like interest fees.

Middle East, Africa, India, and Jersey Finance Director Faizal Bhana said Sub-Saharan Africa’s share of global Sukuk issuances is only a mere 2 percent, despite an Islamic population of more than 200 million people.

Sukuk are financial products whose terms and structures comply with Islamic law, with the intention of creating returns like those of conventional fixed-income instruments like bonds.

“When you are coming to Africa, the story is very different. Africa is home to 250 million Muslims in Sub-Saharan Africa. At the moment, the penetration for Sharia compliance finance across the continent is 21 countries providing Islamic Finance services,” he said.

Speaking to Capital Business, he revealed that the Islamic Finance industry has a compound annual growth of 11 percent since 2006, with assets worth multi-trillion shillings.

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“We need to look to all forms of financing. And Sharia compliance financing is one form and because of its links like sustainability and ethical, for government, it is an easy win,” he said.

He said there is a need for regulators to provide enabling legislation for Sharia finance services and more so for sovereign and corporate issuance of Sukuk.

The common practices of Islamic finance and banking came into existence along with the foundation of Islam.

However, the establishment of formal Islamic finance occurred only in the 20th century.

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Currently, the Islamic finance sector grows at 15-25 percent per year, while Islamic financial institutions oversee over $2 trillion.

Islamic finance strictly complies with Sharia law. Contemporary Islamic finance is based on a number of prohibitions that are not always illegal in the countries where Islamic financial institutions are operating like paying or charging interest, investing in businesses involved in prohibited activities like gambling.

Due to the number of prohibitions set by Sharia, many conventional investment vehicles such as bonds, options, and derivatives are forbidden in Islamic finance.

The two major investment vehicles in Islamic finance are equities and fixed income instruments.

 

 

 

 

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CMA okays Crown Paints’ rights issue to fund expansion

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Crown Paints head of sales Bhavesh Gandhi and CEO Rakesh Rao during the company’s launch of all-weather paints at the Trademark Hotel, March 1, 2020. [David Gichuru, Standard]

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has given the nod to Crown Paints Kenya Plc to raise Sh711.80 million from shareholders via purchase of additional shares.

The regulator, in a statement yesterday, said it had approved the firm’s bid to issue and list 71,181,000 new ordinary shares on the Nairobi Security Exchange (NSE).

“The rights will be issued on the basis of one new ordinary share for every one existing share,” noted CMA.

The additional funds raised will boost the company’s financial flexibility to navigate through a tough business environment brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It would also boost the firm’s growth strategy according to the information memorandum.

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“The group’s management plans to use the rights issue funds to facilitate the development of new products, retiring of current facilities and funding regional expansion,” CMA said in a statement.

Wyckliffe Shamiah, the CMA chief executive observed that the disclosures made on the rights issue comply with the capital markets regulations and will enable investors to make an informed decision.

Mr Shamiah noted that the regulator had reviewed the application for exemptions from complying with Regulation 4 of the Capital Markets (Take Over and Mergers) Regulations, 2002 concerning the intention of the company’s major shareholders, who have undertaken to take up their full rights entitlements.

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“They are also willing to take more than their initial entitlements subject to availability during the rights issue,” said Shamiah.

Crown Paints is expected to make bi-annual updates to CMA on the use of the proceeds of the rights issue.

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Branch buys local micro finance bank

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The deal gives Century Microfinance Bank a much-needed lifeline. [Courtesy]

Branch International Ltd has acquired microfinance lender Century Microfinance Bank in a move that gives the financial technology (fintech) firm a stronger presence in the country’s financial sector.

According to regulatory filings published by the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), Branch has acquired 84.89 per cent of the issued share capital in the microfinance bank.

The deal has been approved by the market regulator.

“The Competition Authority has authorised the proposed transaction as set out herein on condition that the acquirer and the target will each maintain the terms agreed with the borrowers in respect of all loans existing in their loan books at the time of the acquisition,” explained CAK in a notice in the Kenya Gazette.

The deal will further give Century Microfinance Bank a much-needed lifeline, coming in the wake of depressed earnings due to disruption from digital lenders and recently, the Covid-19 pandemic.

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According to Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data, the micro-lender recorded Sh348 million in assets as of the end of December 2019, a 19 per cent drop from Sh431 million in 2018.

The firm also recorded Sh326 million in liabilities for the year ended December 2019 with customer deposits sitting at Sh256 million during the period under review. The lender made Sh82 million in total income in 2019, the majority of it from interest on loans, fees and commissions.

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Brach International, one of the leading fintech players in the Kenyan market has over the years increased its user base across the region to more than three million.

The firm says it has disbursed more than Sh35 billion in loans, the majority of which it lent to users in its African markets in Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania. In 2019, Branch secured Sh17 billion in the new financing and a partnership with Visa to issue virtual pre-paid debit cards to its users.

The acquisition of Century Microfinance Bank will allow the fintech firm to deploy more solutions to grow its digital and physical foothold in the Kenyan market.

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