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BOC ready for stock market return

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 26 – Industrial gas suppliers BOC Kenya on Monday said it was set to resume trading at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) with clearance from the Capital Markets Authority being its main drawback.

BOC Managing Director John Kariuki explained that the return of share certificates to Carbacid Investments Limited shareholders was underway and they hoped that the CMA registrar would clear it by the end of the week.

“The CMA will lift the suspension for the benefit of BOC shareholders and the investing public and we will resume trade once they give us the go-ahead. We want our investors to start trading and also to know where the value of our share would sit,” he stated.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Kariuki observed that though the business transaction with Carbacid failed to go through the company was still committed to growth and would focus its money on regional expansion.

“We are focused on the growth agenda of the company and will continue looking at other viable investments to put in funds that we had put aside for the Carbacid transaction,” he held.

Mr Kariuki said it was important to clarify that the suspension of trading for both BOC and Carbacid from the NSE in 2005 was meant to protect the shareholders from speculative activity during the offer period.

“The two companies are quoted on the NSE so if any made an offer and the suspension was not stopped you could get fraudulent traders. So to control the market the boards of the two companies and CMA thought it wise to protect the shareholders by suspending the trading,” he explained.

He also took the opportunity to summarise the company’s performance since the year ending 2005 stating the information would help shareholders know how their company was doing.

“In 2005 we did Sh987 million, in 2006 Sh1.1 billion, in 2007 Sh1.5 billion, in 2008 Sh1.3 billion and in the first six months of 2009 the company managed Sh641 million,” he revealed.

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Mr Kariuki further added that the profit before tax for the year 2005 stood at Sh291 million, Sh333 million for 2006, Sh399 million for 2007, with Sh295 million and Sh146 million for 2008 and 2009 respectively.

He defended the declining profits attributing them to the post election violence of 2008, low product demand and high production costs as a result of electricity costs.

“We had seen some recoveries in demand but they were dampened by additional costs of production with the hike in power,” said Mr Kariuki.

He said the company had already started investing the Sh80 million (as scheduled) in its main Air Supply Unit adding that it would be commissioned in January 2010.

“It is going to enhance our capacity in terms of volume and also in terms of power utilisation,” he held.

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