DO LIST SAFARICOM ABROAD I am all for Safaricom to have a partial listing abroad;either on the LSE(London Stock Exchange) or NYSE( New York Stock Exchange).The benefits of listing safaricom offshore are numerous, such as: -A foreign listed stock will bring the Kenyan and East african market to the attention of investors in the Developed world and raise our profile as a country.South Africa,Egypt,Nigeria and even Malawi have their local companies like ABSA,Orascom Telecom,Telecom Egypt and United Bank for Africa-Nigeria are listed abroad.
-Investors will consider Kenya a serious and viable investment destination because by virtue of cross-listing our LOCAL COMPANY shares off-shore it means that we have locally based companies that can operate within World-class corporate Governance and Financial regulations. i.e. to cross-list on NYSE or LSE you have to adhere to UK or US listing standards.
-Cross-listing of Kenyan companies in the UK/US exchanges will provide foregn inestors and Kenyans in the diaspora a more efficient way to purchase Kenyan shares.It will probably be more liquid and efficient for them(Investors outside Kenya).
By the way lack of liquidity in our capital markets is what prevents some Foreign investors from entering them.-Cross listing will also enable local companies have more options for raising capitalI am of the opinion that some Kenyan companies are large enough to cross-list abroad.For instance,KCB, First Chartered and Jubilee and Equity in the next couple of years.
How would the Sale of Safaricom shares offshore be done?
There are several methods of listing abroad.Some of the methods are: Depository Receipts These are negotiable finacial instruments that represent shares in a company.For instance, Vodafone PLC has Depository receipts(DR) that trade on the NYSE.the Ratio of DR to Ordinary Shares is 1:10 meaning that 1 DR represents 10 ordinary shares of Vodafone PLc. In Safaricom's situation a block of shares in Safaricom(K) Ltd would be deposited with a local Custodian Bank which would act as an agent for the Depository Bank in London or New York Exchanges.
The Depository Bank would then issue Depository Receipts based on the Block of shares held on its behalf at the local Custodian Bank or Branch.For example, if the shares deposited at the custodian Bank were 100,000,000(One hundred million shares) then Depository Receipts were issued in the DR:Ordinary share ratio of 1:10. Each Depository receipt listed abroad would represent 10 ordinary shares in Safaricom(K) Ltd.So 10 million DRs would be issued for listing on the NYSE (Assuming the DRs are listed in the USA).If 1 safaricom share on the NSE traded at sh35, with the US$/Ksh exchange rate at 1US$-Ksh70.One Safaricom DR would cost US$5 (1 DR is equal to 10 ordinary shares i.e. 35*10=350)
Direct Listing Safaricom(K) Ltd could also have its primary listing on a foreign stock market e.g. LSE and the secondary listing on the NSE.The alternate could also be done- the primary listing can be on the NSE and the secondary one elsewhere. SABMiller and Old Mutual Plc. have their primary listings on the LSE.The drawback of having a primary listing on the LSE is that Safaricom would have to create a UK based PLc company to do this. I favour listing on the LSE because the listing and compliance costs in the UK are lower than the USA.
NOTE I have deliberately over-simplified some explanations and left out some facts/explanations for the sake of clarity and to make the post accessible to people with a non-finacial background.