Friday, March 25, 2005

Corporate Briefs

Kenya Bus trouble
Kenya Bus Services is going through some turbulent times as creditors have tried to sell some of their buses during the busy Easter weekend. General Motors Kenya moved to Court to attach 17 Msafiri buses over a 198 million shilling debt, and last week Kenya Grange Vehicle Industries tried to ‘sell’ 10 of KBS newest vehicles (the double decker buses?) over a 6 million shilling debt – but both moves were halted by the Courts.

Braeburn (school) buys Hillcrest (school)
The Saga of the Hillcrest schools formerly owned by Kenneth Matiba’s Alliance Investments took a new turn when the schools were sold to the Braeburn Group to settle a Kshs. 620 million debt owed to Barclays Bank. Earlier this week MP’s and some lobby groups launched a campaign to urge the Government to save the Matiba group from predatory foreign banks

SMS Banking
National Bank has launched SIM-ple banking which will enable customers to check balances, verify salaries make utility payments and about 30 other services. This Nation article said that there’s a vast potential for mobile banking that is not being exploted. It’s probably due to the cost as both Prime and Co-operative banks already offer mobile banking at 30 shillings per SMS request, but the service is currently free at Dubai Bank .

No to a Strong Shilling
Central Bank has announced that it will move to weaken the Kenyan Shilling if it gets too strong against the US dollar. The shilling hit a 21-month high of 72.9, and bank forex dealers expect the dollar to fall below the 70-shilling mark soon. However a strong shilling makes Kenya’s principal exports like coffee, tea and flowers, more expensive

US: No to Africa
The US will not finance recommendations made in the Commission for Africa Report.

Interest Rates inch up
Barclays Bank base lending rate is now 13.75%. In 2003 lending rates at most banks were about10%. The new rates at major banks of 13 - 14% are still far below the 25 - 28% rates that they charged customers in the late 90's.

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