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Longhorn peaks Sh20 on NSE debut

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30 – Longhorn Publishers Kenya began trading its 58.5 million shares on the Nairobi Securities Exchange’s (NSE) Alternative Market Segment at an initial price of Sh20 up from the introductory price of Sh14.

As the first publisher to list in the region, Longhorn Publisher Managing Director Janet Njoroge said entering the bourse will enable the company to raise capital in the future.

“A listed company has a much better profile. As we go forward when the need arises we can come to market and raise capital for expansion,” she said.

Longhorn that runs on the ticker LKL touched a high of Sh20 and a low of Sh15.00 on its first day of trading closing at Sh16.15 on a volume of 4,000 shares.

With Longhorn’s key business deriving largely from educational materials, at least 65.8 percent of its revenue comes from primary school book sales.

Njoroge also expressed optimism in the proposed changes to the country’s education system expected next year and the curriculum modifications which she hopes will boost business for the publisher.

“The impact of curriculum change is two-sided. There’s the challenge because all our products become obsolete, but endless opportunities to develop fresh materials. We would expect there will be a bump of 100 percent plus to business,” she said.

The company reported revenues of Sh1.1 billion and net income of Sh136 million as at June 2011, attributing the growth to an aggressive sales strategy for textbooks in Kenya and other countries in the region.

The publisher has a presence in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda and recently Malawi and is eyeing Burundi and South Sudan as the next markets to enter soon.

“It’s very early days in Malawi and we are waiting for approval from the Ministry of Education but we are optimistic about the return we will get from that investment,” Njoroge said.

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In January, Longhorn bought Delah Publishers based in Dar-es-Salaam for Sh12.5 million with the assurance that the Tanzanian market has the potential to add over half a billion shillings to group revenues over the next eight years.

Longhorn’s sales outside Kenya account for 33 percent of its total revenue.

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