The recent surge of share splits was unjustified based on the overall trading history of the companies. So it’s only a matter of time before some of these shares dip to their pre-split / hype prices. Any share that was trading for less than 100 shillings in the last 18 months is a candidate for correction – to the below 10 shillings mark and that includes CMC, ICDCI, and Sasini.
Now that a few IPO’s have passed, but not their euphoria, it is apparent that investment advisors of future IPO's will have to rework their calculations to satisfy institutional and seasoned retail investors. While government divestment offers will be geared to the mwananchi, smaller private companies will have to ask themselves if by offering IPO shares at about 10/= each, they want to be like Eveready or Scangroup and end up with up with 100,000 shareholders who own 100 – 200 shares each.
Rising shareholder costs
- Kengen told us their 2006 annaul general meeting (AGM) - after the IPO would 80 million shillings and another post IPO company Firestone will have their AGM in Nakuru on March 22 (where fewer shareholders can attend).
- With over 175,000 new shareholders, the cost to Eveready of even inviting all their new owners to the AGM is quite prohibitive - mailing out accounts & AGM notices would cost about 4 million shillings ($63,500) [i.e. 175,000 letters X 25 shillings postage per letter]. So Firestone shareholders will also be asked to approve a change in company articles to allow such notices to be sent by e-mail or fax.
- The same postage costs will apply when Eveready mail out their dividend cheques. Since most shareholders have the minimum 100 shares, they will receive payment cheques of Kshs 60. which is hardly justified when you factor in bank & postage charges
- Also to cut costs, the company has sent out slimmed down accounts that are about the size of the president's speech on Jamhuri day.
- On a positive note, Kengen have made an arrangement with (their bankers) KCB so that shareholders can cash their Kengen dividend cheques at any KCB branch at no cost.
KTN had a story on Friday about the Central Bank (CBK) crackdown on pyramid schemes - and it was followed by a poll on whether they should be banned. The result was 16% YES, 84% NO (i.e. they should not be banned.) Though unscientific, you sense from the poll that these schemes have become lifelines/shortcuts to riches for a diverse variety of Kenyans.
In fact many of these schemes have been shut down at the urging of commercial banks – who have had to deal with swelling crowds in their banking halls – either depositing or receiving cash in the merry go rounds. Some of these investors blame jealousy from banks (who want to hold their money and give out as loans) and the Nairobi stock exchange for putting pressure on the CBK to act (since they have been selling shares to re-invest in these quick cash back avenues with guaranteed returns.