For the first time in many years, I'm likely to miss the Kenya Airways (KQ) Annual General meeting to be held later this month – as I sold all my shares earlier this year.
It's a shame because attending one was inspiration for this site and the company's AGM's have been among the most colorful to attend.
From backroom drama played out before the public, to who’s whos' appealing for votes to join the board - next to activists, to inane questions, KQ has had it all.
KQ has always had a large customer base and so has had to tweak their AGM model each year for improvement – and that has served as a model for all the recent (over-subscribed) IPO companies like Kengen, Scangroup, Eveready and now Kenya Re to emulate.
This year KQ has moved from Bomas of Kenya which seemed to be a natural home for the event with it’s ample parking, large screening area far from venue where KQ would hand out packed lunch boxes and t-shirt at entrance (some shareholders would turn back at that point having achieved their target for the day), large auditorium (where some would eat right away), huge TV screen and even had a second spillover hall for other shareholders if the main hall got full. This year's will be at Kasarani gym (not stadium)
Anyway in the buildup to the event, what is the company saying?
- It carried 2.6 million passengers last year, but profits were down 15% due to increased competition and reduced aircraft utilization
- Turnover was up in all four geographic segments (Kenya, Africa, Mid East & Asia, Europe), but operating profit down slightly on all four (also they canceled Turkey route last week). 69% growth in Asia, 17% in Africa
- Aeropolitics; They are appealing to the government of Kenya to grant visas denied to West African country nationals – warning that those countries could retaliate in granting KQ routes, or those passengers may choose other more hospitable airline/countries.
- Double taxation: They are also lamenting that they are paying income tax in most African and Asian (except china) countries – while they also have to pay income tax in Kenya (Other airlines were able to force Uganda to stop this taxation last month)
- KQ has 4,154 employees and all jobs will be applied for online from this year
- Buy & hold shareholders: of the company's 73,000 shareholders, only 23,000 (32%) have immobilized their shares (enabling them to trade).
Appeal for writers
Any reader here, going for the event can please send in a report? Here are other (2005, 2006) KQ AGM reports to prepare with.
- Free newspapers: According to the NYPost, the New York Times is going to end its Times Select (subscription only) model for it's star columnists/Op-Ed pages. And when you combine that with Rupert Murdoch’s plan to make WSJ site free, what does that portend for other subscription based online newspapers and sites?
Saving our roads: The government is cracking down to
remove overloaded lorries from the roads by reducing axle sizes from four to three (or requiring the last axles on a trailer to also be a steering one). The move will effectively limit cargo capacity to fewer than 30 tones, down from the current situation where some trailers with 4-axles have been carrying up to 60 tons of the road. Good start to get road survival back on on track. But this automatically forces fleet owners to double their fleet size (and increases traffic on the roads)
Broke law : The Nation had a great story this week about lawyers quitting private practice to take up jobs with the government or corporate sector. Meanwhile a prominent law partnership has broken up
- Cartoonists at the Nation. Apply to firstname.lastname@example.org
- KCB: relationship managers - asset finance, relationship managers - SME’s. Apply by 24/8 to email@example.com.