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Helios Towers prices IPO at low end range : The Standard

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African mobile networks operator Helios Towers has priced its initial public offering at 115 pence per share, giving it a market capitalisation of 1.15 billion pounds (Sh145 billion).
Helios shares will began conditional trading on London Stock Exchange on Tuesday after selling a total of 250 million pounds of shares.
The company priced at the low end of its pricing range, as reported by Reuters on Monday.
Investors will be watching closely to see how Helios fares in early trading as the first post-summer IPO in London, after Kazakh fintech Kaspi.kz postponed its float last week.
Helios operates phone masts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Ghana, South Africa and Tanzania.
It had shelved previous plans for its IPO amid concerns about political risks in DRC and Tanzania.

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Helios has said it will use the proceeds for expanding its services, including possibly into new countries.
Kash Pandya, Chief Executive of Helios, said the float “signifies our commitment to spreading mobile infrastructure across Sub-Saharan Africa”. Among the shareholders of Helios Towers include Helios Investment Partners, which is also the majority owner of Telkom Kenya.
Telkom is currently in plans to merge with Kenya’s unit of Bharti Airtel, which is also listed among the shareholders of Helios Towers.
The company said it made Sh35.6 billion ($356 million) in revenues in the financial year to December 2018, which was three per cent more than Sh34.5 billion ($345 million) in 2017.
It operates towers on a sale-leaseback model, which entails buying towers owned by single operators and providing services utilising the tower infrastructure to the seller and other operators.
The model allows wireless operators to outsource non-core tower-related activities, enabling them to focus their resources on core services.
[Additional reporting Macharia Kamau]

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House seekers self-isolate in townhouses

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House seekers self-isolate in townhouses

Habil Olaka
Kenya Bankers Association CEO Habil Olaka. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Health concerns amid the Covid-19 pandemic could have informed renewed demand for low-density buildings with townhouses dominating the property market to edge out lowly priced apartments.

The quarter one Housing Price Index report by Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) indicates a change of heart among property seekers who sought townhouses unlike in the past when apartments were popular due to proximity to urban centres and price friendliness.

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“While the market remained largely depressed, the marginal easing was supported by the supply-demand interaction with a leaning towards more demand in a relative context,” the KBA-HPI indicates, adding demand shifts in the quarter were based on concluded sales, which rose by 13.95 percent.

This is the second time for the demand for apartments to fall with last quarter 2019 registering an 11 percent fall in demand. 2020 first quarter fell further to 33 percent. Demand for bungalows and maisonettes went down 95.9 percent and 57.1 percent respectively during the quarter.

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Public debt hits Sh6.4 trillion as shilling declines

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Public debt hits Sh6.4 trillion as shilling declines

Ukur Yatani
Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The total public debt has hit Sh6.4 trillion as local borrowing rose and the external portion was pushed up further by the depreciation of the local currency.

The Kenya shilling returned to 107 units to the dollar from last Friday and continues at the same.

The most recently updated figures on domestic debt shows it stood at Sh3.144 trillion as of May 15 while external debt reached Sh3.284 trillion ($30.69 billion on the basis of March 2020 data after depreciation of the local currency — making a total of Sh6.428 trillion. When the shilling exchanged at 101 to the dollar in early March, the external debt stood at a value of Sh3.1 trillion.

Domestic debt escalated from Sh2.9 trillion at the end of last year hitting Sh3 trillion for the first time in January before rising further in the past few months as the Treasury ramped up borrowing from the local market to meet an expanded budget.

The proportion of short-term debt stands at 30.96 per cent as of May 15, the date for the latest disaggregated data.

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The proportion of long-term debt stood at 69.04 percent, which is, however, below the Treasury’s desire to have a higher proportion — preferably 80 percent and above — as compared to the short-term debt.

The overdraft — which the Treasury uses to settle urgent cash requirements — was down in the week to May 15 to stand at Sh56.68 billion compared to the level of Sh58.37 billion as at May 8, signalling that the exchequer emergency cash needs have lessened in the past week compared to the previous week.

Banking institutions continued to hold the bulk of the debt stock at 54.81 percent followed by pension funds at 28.91 percent while a group of other investors held the rest of the liabilities amounting to 16 percent of the total.

The share of external debt is, however, likely to rise further as the State seeks funding from a variety of sources including multilateral and bilateral institutions to finance the extra spending associated with combating the Covid-19 pandemic. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have already given a total of Sh180 billion in the past two weeks.

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Scangroup sees Sh2 billion special dividend this year

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Scangroup sees Sh2 billion special dividend this year

 Bharat Thakrar
Scangroup CEO Bharat Thakrar. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Marketing services firm Scangroup says it plans to pay a special dividend of Sh4.7 per share or an aggregate of Sh2 billion later this year using proceeds from the sale of its 60 percent stake in Kantar Africa.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm issued the guidance in response to a question from a shareholder, Peterson Mutwiri, who asked whether the dividend would be paid this year or in 2021.

“The intent is to pay the special dividend before the end of 2020. This is assuming we deliver to all the conditions precedent and achieving completion of the transaction before the end of June 2020,” Scangroup said in a response published on its website.

The virtual interaction with shareholders was part of the company’s extraordinary general meeting on Wednesday that saw the proposed transaction put to a vote.

The deal is expected to be approved since a simple majority of 50 percent-plus one is required, with the company’s controlling shareholder WPP Plc owning a 56.25 percent stake and supporting the transaction.

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Scangroup said results of the voting could be out from Thursday.

“The results shall be published in the company’s website within 24 hours and also via SMS,” the firm’s shares administrator Image Registrars said in a notice yesterday. Scangroup says net proceeds from the transaction will be Sh5 billion and that it will use at least 40 per cent of the amount (Sh2 billion) to pay the special dividend. This will amount to a payout of about Sh4.7 per share.

“The funds received from the disposal will result in a cash surplus in the company…as the independent Kantar Transaction Committee negotiated not to give any operational warranties in respect of the disposal such cash remains unencumbered,” Scangroup said in a circular to shareholders.

“The board will review the optimal use of proceeds taking into consideration potential expansion, capital needs and cash flows, but expects that at least 40 percent of the net proceeds to be returned to shareholders in the form of a special dividend.”

Scangroup’s net profit dropped 20 percent to Sh491.4 million in the year ended December from Sh612.2 million a year earlier.

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