NSE ripe for scavengers of growth stocks

September 4, 2008

, NAIROBI, August 30 —Investors looking for long-term equity stocks confirmed their worst fears or best bets in the last two weeks, when the most eligible candidates, AccessKenya, Equity Bank and Diamond Trust Bank announced their financial results.
The half-year financial results released by the various companies pointed out two factors; Kenyan banks are looking to reap from new opportunities across the region and secondly, the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) has the potential to grow wealth.
Although Equity Bank announced its results earlier, expressing optimism that its profits would continue to double, AccessKenya and Diamond Trust Bank’s positive profits territory confirmed the maturity of the bourse’s most eligible growth stocks.
The growth stocks offer the most secure possibility of return on investments plus guaranteed growth, especially given that the three stocks are operating in two different sectors—banking and the information technology—which have growth potentials.
Diamond Trust Bank, owned jointly by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), Habib Bank Limited and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank private-sector affiliate, is looking to expand into Burundi.
The Diamond Trust Bank Kenya reported a rise in pre-tax profit by 42 percent to Sh719 million, from Sh506 million for the same period last year.
The bank’s Managing Director, Nasim Devji, attributed the growth to continued expansion in the customer base resulting in improved earnings from interest and fees.
DTB’s branch expansion programme is progressing, with its network in the East African region expected to increase from 19 to over 30 by year end.
Bank executives say the expansion drive began in 2007 in line with their mid-term strategy to upscale its operations throughout the region by rapidly expanding its presence in major commercial centres across the three East African countries. The Bank has extended operations into Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Arusha in Tanzania and in Kampala, Uganda.
AccessKenya, on the other hand, is looking for the new opportunities of extending its high-speed internet for homes while expanding its leased internet lines business, to offer its investors a guaranteed return on investments.
These firms have the greatest hopes for investors looking for long-term investments with the potential for higher returns.
Equity Bank Chief Executive James Mwangi also says his bank is looking into new grounds to reap more profits, including the expansion into Southern Sudan. This would make Equity the second Kenyan bank to foray into Southern Sudan.
The regional market is increasingly becoming more attractive for the banks, looking to cash in on East Africa’s growing drive for economic integration.
Equity Bank has purchased Uganda’s Micro-finance Limited, effectively gaining access to the market. The bank is looking to invest its expected cash injection of Sh11 billion.
These investments would most likely transfer Kenya’s growing financial success to her regional partners at a time when negotiations on the free flow investments is underway among the five East African Community (EAC) member states.
Kenya’s ability to positively influence financial prosperity in the region would most likely result into higher returns in future, given the high potentials of growth in the region.
Equity’s banking strategy, a model hailed for its success in bringing on board hundreds of thousands of unbanked people, could transform the fate of millions of East Africans.
Along with the regional banking leaders, a flourishing culture of financial integration would possibly emerge on the route to East Africa’s single currency, also in the works.


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