KIGALI, Rwanda, Jun 18 – The Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) shares began trading at the Rwanda Over The Counter Market on Thursday hitting yet another milestone after the bank cross-listed in Uganda and Tanzania late last year.
The event marked the listing of the first equities stock in the market and the first cross-listing of any stock in the 18-months-old market.
There was an immediate response from investors with 50,000 shares on offer at RWF151 per share whereas there was demand for 10,000 shares at the ringing of the bell at 9 o’clock local time.
The country’s Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, James Musoni inaugurated the trading and commended KCB for pursuing the region’s economic integration following the historic move by East Africa’s largest commercial bank.
“KCB has, by this cross-listing, shown its confidence in our financial sector and the growth of our economy thus giving our people the opportunity to buy its shares,” said the Minister.
He said KCB’s move showed a positive outlook for the economic growth of the region.
“This is a clear sign of confidence with which KCB is taking the business growth prospects in East Africa and especially Rwanda. With this cross-listing, I am confident that other private sector companies in Rwanda will follow suit and put their shares on the market,” he added.
KCB Group Chairman, Peter Muthoka said the firm was excited with its position as the first private equity to be listed on the young market; a view also expressed by the Group’s Chief Executive Officer Martin Oduor-Otieno.
Mr Oduor-Otieno said the move was very vital to the growth of Rwanda\’s stock market which has been dominated by bonds since its inception eighteen months ago.
“This is a very important occasion for us as we help open a new chapter for this country’s finance market. We believe this will now provide investment opportunities to thousands of Rwandese willing to invest in the stock market since it now makes it convenient for them to invest in the company right here in Rwanda,” Mr Oduor-Otieno said.
The move by KCB to cross list in Rwanda comes barely seven months after the bank began operations in that country.
Mr Muthoka said the timing was ideal as the local business community had shown immense support for the brand.
“We hope that investors share our vision of an East African business that is owned, managed and patronised by East Africans,” he added.
KCB Group reported profit before tax of Sh6.02 billion which was 42 percent above the group’s performance in 2007. The performance enabled the Board to pay a dividend of one shilling for every ordinary share.
“We know that the value of the shares on any stock market reflects the actual value stakeholders attach to the business and we continue to put in place strategies to ensure we sustain our good performance going forward,” Mr Muthoka said.
Currently, the bank is expanding across East Africa, positioning its branches and ATM networks in such a way as to enable them benefit from valuable synergies across the region and enhance delivery of quality products and services to its customers.
“As a regional bank, we want to make cross-listing part and parcel of our expansion strategy into various new markets to help us create requisite visibility, acceptance and buy-in for our brand by the locals.”
The bank has had its shares cross listed at the Uganda Securities Exchange and the Dar-es-Salaam Stock Exchange after successfully entering the Tanzanian and Ugandan markets.