Last week the company CEO departed and the Centum (formerly ICDCI) directors postponed the annual general meeting (AGM) and payment of the year end dividend.
Today’s newspaper has a statement from the Centum Board asserting that:
- The management is firm, the company is on sound financial footing, and the departure of CEO Peter Mwangi had no relation to the delayed dividend and meeting. However, while Tony Wainaina (Mwangi’s predecessor) and Mugo Kibati (EA Cables) may have set a precedent for young CEO’s to enhance corporate performance and value and leave at the top, the timing & coincidence is not good.
- Statement does not address delay of the dividend which would amount to about Kshs. 248 million ($3.3 million). Without doubt, the conpany's investment portfolio is down this year (quoted investments - which should be easily disposable include about Kshs. 1.5 billion of KCB (but down from 2 billion ), Kshs. 422 m of EABL and probably a healthy slice of Safaricom) - but it’s scary that three months after a company declared a dividend, it would find itself unable to fund it.
- Centum’s statement adds that its listed holdings are not accessible to any (rogue) stockbroker, and the company had no dealings with Discount Stockbrokers
- A separate from the CMA statement today effectively states that the company is under receivership by KPMG – owing to corporate governance including poor strategies manifested by an unsustainable expansion plan (branches all over the country)
- A bigger scandal than Discount appears to be at the national Social Security Fund (NSSF) whose dealings with Discount are a lesson for fraudsters.
Best Kenyan corporate site
In the wake of hiding from questions on Discount, the Centum statements along with financial results from listed companies (Kengen, EA Cables and KPLC) have appeared in the newspapers before they were posted on the NSE site. And though the NSE won an African Investor award (for 2nd runner up - most innovative African stock exchange) website updates should be a priority matter
Probably the best bank, and perhaps corporate site in Kenya, with the most relevant, timely, updates has to be the Central Bank of Kenya website with their controversial/pro-active governor Professor Njuguna Ndung’u (and his media team) who post several statements, speeches, policy matters a week (read it and judge)
Co-Op IPO: After a stop-go debate the Co-op Bank IPO has been green-lit and will begin in about a week’s time with investors still digesting refunds and possible losses from the previous IPO – Safaricom.
Dates: October 30 - November 13
Share price Kshs. 9.50 ($0.13) each (for 701 million shares)
- Reasons to invest in Co-op IPO (or not)
- The last Centum AGM (February 2008)
- Saying farewell at AGM’s: in style (Barclays) or in shame (Kenya Airways)