NAKUMATT: THE IPO................sooner than you think
Nakumatt has been in the headlines for the past couple of weeks for all the wrong reasons. I'm sure by now the owners of Nakumatt know why Charles Njonjo has big stakes in listed companies like CFC Holdings or CMC, while Total man(Biwott) has his flagship investment in a comapany(Kenya Oil Co.) which is only 20% owned by the public listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange.
On the other hand Meralli tries to list or co-own, his major investments with influential personalities.e.g. the MD at SASINI is a former high ranking civil servant.The other rich Kenyan, Mr. A.S.M. Ndegwa of First Chartered Securities, keeps an ultra- low profile.
The reason all this men behave the way they do is that they have learnt what all rich men have known upto and before John D. Rockefeller have known- "Everybody wants to be rich but nobody likes a rich man"
Yukos learnt this the hard way when President Putin seized and sold its assets.By listing a tiny stake of their assets the large investors get thousands of small shareholders , who not only ask stupid questions at AGM's but provide protection against Governments and individuals who want to aquire their assets unfairly.
Imagine the furore if the Government attemted to shut down CFC Bank or take-over Kenya Oil. All those shareholders who rush for the free packed lunch at the AGM will be at Nation Centre protesting. The sound bites that they will be giving the TV stations won't be pleasing at all to the Governmet which is headed by elected representatives(M.Ps). Of course, no Government would proceed with an unpopular course of action. So such institutions are protected from arbitrary Government actions.
For Nakumatt, to get protection against future State actions, they need to list a sizeable stake of the firm on the Stock exchange. Failing so, you will hear more 'revelations' in another couple of years. My bet is that the Nakumatt owners being smart ones have thought the above scenario through and will list Nakumatt in the next 36 -48 months.(i'm willing to bet on this).