NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 14 – Investment company TransCentury’s shares on Thursday began trading at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) at an opening price of Sh60 per share.
With the listing price set at Sh50, the share gained Sh10 within minutes of opening giving credence to the company’s expectations that the counter would be a high growth one and one that would help to spur more activity in the market.
The commencement of trading followed the entry of the firm’s shares into the Alternative Investment Market Segment of the bourse by way of listing by introduction, which means that they did not initially set out to raise any capital from the process.
“Listing is a milestone for TransCentury which is a very good Kenyan success story that other companies seeking to grow should emulate,” NSE Chief Executive Officer Peter Mwangi said before the ringing of the bell to mark the commencement of trading.
The company that primarily invests in the infrastructure space and specifically in the power, transport and specialised engineering sectors is the ninth company to be listed on this segment, which was meant to cater for needs of companies with less than 1000 shareholders.
On this segment, it is also the first to be listed by introduction and follows the entry of CfC Insurance Holdings on April 21 and the resumption of trading of Uchumi Supermarkets shares on the bourse a month later.
“This year looks like it will be a ‘year of (listing by) introductions’. Last year, we were talking about Rights Issues but apparently it looks like it will be a year of listings are we are delighted about this,” observed NSE second Vice Chairman Job Kihumba.
This observation is reinforced by reports that Family Bank is also eyeing the family of listed firms before the end of this year. The bank will join two additional companies that also plan to list by the end of the third quarter of this year.
And to attract many more companies into the fold, Mr Kihumba highlighted the various initiatives that are being undertaken to help transform the bourse into one of the leading securities exchanges across the globe.
Demutualisation, which entails the separation of the NSE’s private ownership from the management, is expected to enhance transparency and good corporate governance in the market.
The reduction of the settlement cycle, which enables investors to get their money three days after the sale of their stocks down from 14 days a few years ago, as well as the introduction of the Treasury Bond index to help measure the performance of the bond portfolios are some of the measures that support the productivity of the market.
While urging others to follow in TransCentury’s footsteps Capital Markets Authority Chief Executive Officer Stella Kilonzo hoped that its listing by introduction would send a signal to other potential issuers that the market is deep enough to cater for their different needs.
Mrs Kilonzo’s call was also echoed by TransCentury Chairman Zephaniah Mbugua who recounted the journey that the company, which started as a ‘merry-go round’ group15 years ago, has travelled.
From a ‘chama’ with an initial capital of Sh24 million, the investment group has grown into a conglomerate with 12 subsidiaries in seven African countries, generating revenues of Sh6.8 billion and operating profits running into a billion shillings.
And pointing to the listing as another milestone for the company, Mr Mbugua reaffirmed their determination to conquer many markets and become a pan African multinational.