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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Thursday 10th of January 2019
 
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Macro Thoughts

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@federalreserve 'can afford to be patient' about future rate hikes, FOMC minutes show @CNBC
Africa


Federal Reserve officials acknowledged that the policy path ahead is
"less clear" after approving an interest rate hike at their most
recent meeting.

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24-DEC-2018 :: How much higher will the FED dial up rates? Powell [who has incurred Trump's wrath] predicted two more quarter point hikes in 2019. A lot hinges on this outlook.
Law & Politics


How much higher will the FED dial up rates? The markets are signalling
not much more. Powell [who has incurred Trump's wrath] predicted two
more quarter point hikes in 2019. A lot hinges on this outlook.

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.@federalreserve officials see benchmark rate becoming 'volatile' during balance sheet run-off @CNBC
Africa


Fed staff members "noted that the federal funds rate and other money
market rates could possibly become somewhat volatile at times as banks
and financial markets adjusted to lower levels of reserve balances,"
the minutes said.

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Volatility: how 'algos' changed the rhythm of the market @FT
Africa


Philippe Jabre was the quintessential swashbuckling trader, slicing
his way through markets first at GLG Partners and then an eponymous
hedge fund he founded in 2007 — at the time one of the industry’s
biggest-ever launches. But in December he fell on his sword, closing
Jabre Capital after racking up huge losses. The fault, he said, was
machines.
“The last few years have become particularly difficult for active
managers,” he said in his final letter to clients.
Mr Jabre is not alone. There has been recently a flurry of
finger-pointing by humbled one-time masters of the universe, who argue
that the swelling influence of computer-powered “quantitative”, or
quant, investors and high-frequency traders is wreaking havoc on
markets and rendering obsolete old-fashioned analysis and common
sense.
Those concerns were exacerbated by the volatility in financial markets
in December, when US equities suffered their biggest monthly decline
since the financial crisis, despite little fundamental economic news.
And with growing anxiety over the strength of the global economy,
tightening monetary policy across the world and an escalating trade
war between China and the US, these trades are getting more attention.
Even hedge fund veterans admit the game has changed. “These ‘algos’
have taken all the rhythm out of the market, and have become extremely
confusing to me,” Stanley Druckenmiller, a famed investor and hedge
fund manager, recently told an industry TV station.
It is true that markets are evolving. HFTs dominate the market-making
once done by humans in trading pits and the bowels of investment
banks. Various quant strategies — ranging from simple ones packaged
into passive funds to pricey, complex hedge funds — manage at least
$1.5tn, according to Morgan Stanley.
JPMorgan estimates that only about 10 per cent of US equity trading is
now done by traditional investors. Other markets remain more human,
yet are slowly but surely being transformed.
This has made “the algos” a fashionable bugbear whenever markets
tremble like they did in December. Torsten Slok, Deutsche Bank’s chief
international economist, put them at the top of his list of the 30
biggest risks for markets, and even Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury
secretary who caused market unease with comments on liquidity late
last year, has said the government will study whether the evolving
market ecosystem fed the recent turmoil.
But markets have always been tempestuous, and machines make a
convenient, faceless bogeyman for fund managers who stumble.
Meanwhile, quants point out that they are still only small players
compared with the vastness of global markets.
“It’s insane,” says Clifford Asness, the founder of AQR Capital
Management. “People are missing the forest for the trees. That we
trade electronically doesn’t change things, we just deliver the same
thing more efficiently . . . It’s just used by pundits and fund
managers as an excuse.”
The recent turmoil has unnerved many investors, but two other debacles
stand out as having first crystallised the fear that algorithms are
making markets more fickle and fragile.
At 2:32pm on May 6 2010, US equities suddenly and mysteriously
careened lower. In just 36 minutes the S&P 500 crashed more than 8 per
cent, before rebounding just as powerfully. Dubbed the “flash crash”
it put a spotlight on the rise of small ultra-fast, algorithmic
trading firms that have elbowed out investment banks as the integral
intermediaries of many markets.
Michael Lewis, author of Flash Boys, fanned the flames with his book
by casting HFTs as mysterious, investor-scalping antagonists “rigging”
the stock market. What was once an esoteric, little-appreciated
evolution in the market’s plumbing suddenly became the topic of a
vitriolic mainstream debate.
“It was a wake-up call,” says Andrei Kirilenko, former chief economist
at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission who wrote the US
regulator’s report on the 2010 event and now leads Imperial College
London’s Centre for Global Finance and Technology. “The flash crash
was the first market crash in the era of automated, algorithmic
trading.”
In August 2015, markets were once again abruptly thrown into a
tailspin — and this time volatility-sensitive quantitative strategies
were identified as the primary culprits. The spark was rising concern
over China’s economic slowdown, but on August 24, the S&P 500 crashed
on opening, triggering circuit-breakers — implemented in the wake of
the flash crash to pause wild trading — nearly 1,300 times. That
rippled through a host of exchange traded funds, worsening the
dislocations as they briefly became divorced from the value of their
underlying holdings.
many investors and analysts blamed algorithmic strategies that
automatically adjust their market exposure according to volatility for
aggravating the 2015 crash.
Targeting a specific level of volatility is common among strategies
known as “risk parity” — trend-following hedge funds and “managed
volatility” products sold by insurance companies. Estimates vary, but
there is probably more than $1tn invested in a variety of such funds.
Risk parity, a strategy first pioneered by Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater
Associates in the 1990s, often shoulders much of the opprobrium. The
theory is that a broad, diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds and
other assets balanced by the mathematical risk — in practice,
volatility — of each asset class should over time enjoy better returns
than traditional portfolios. Bonds are less volatile than equities, so
that often means “leveraging” these investments to bring the
risk-adjusted allocation up to that of stocks. As volatility goes up,
risk parity funds in theory rein in their exposure.
However, risk parity funds can vary greatly in the details of their
approach, and are generally slower moving than the $300bn
trend-following hedge fund industry. These funds surf market momentum
up and down, and also use volatility metrics to scale their exposure.
When markets are calm they buy, and when turbulence spikes they sell.
This has been a successful strategy over time. But it leaves the funds
vulnerable to abrupt reversals — such as the market tumble last
February — and means they can accentuate turbulence by selling when
markets are already sliding.
Leon Cooperman, the founder of Omega Advisors, has argued that the US
Securities and Exchange Commission should investigate and tame the new
“wild, wild west environment in the stock market” caused by these
volatility-sensitive strategies.
“I think your next guest ought to be somebody from the SEC to explain
why they have sat back calmly, quietly, without saying anything and
allowing these algorithmic, trend-following models to wreak havoc with
what has, up to now, been the best capital market in the world,” he
told CNBC in December.
Some quants will grudgingly admit that volatility-targeting is
inherently pro-cyclical and can at least in theory exacerbate market
movements. But they say critics wildly overestimate just how much
money is invested in these strategies, how much they trade, and their
impact.
“Risk parity is basically a passive portfolio with some periodic,
counter-cyclical rebalancing. Our volatility targets aren’t perfectly
static, but they only change over a 10-year window,” says Bob Prince,
co-chief investment officer at Bridgewater. Other risk parity
strategies may vary, but overall “it's only ever going to be a drop in
the ocean”, he adds.
Markets had been vulnerable to panicky plunges long before trading
algorithms emerged, yet fears over machines seem deeply embedded in
our psyche. A 2014 University of Pennsylvania paper found evidence of
what it dubbed “algorithm aversion”, showing how human test subjects
instinctively trusted human forecasters more than algorithmic ones,
even after seeing the algo make fewer and less severe forecasting
errors.
And there are plenty of other potential culprits to blame for
exacerbating recent turbulence. Many traditional active funds suffered
a battering in 2018. That has led to a rise in investor redemption
notices and has forced many to sell securities to meet the end-of-year
withdrawals.
Hedge fund flow data come with a lag, but traditional equity funds saw
withdrawals rise to nearly $53bn in the seven days up to December 12,
according to data provider EPFR — comfortably the biggest one-week
outflow on record. That probably both reflected and exacerbated the
slide that left the S&P 500 nursing a 6 per cent loss for 2018.
At the same time, market liquidity— a broad term denoting how easy it
is to trade quickly without causing prices to move around too much —
tends to weaken in December, when many fund managers become more
defensive ahead of the end of the year. Liquidity can be particularly
poor in the last weeks of the year, when bank traders ratchet back how
much risk they take on to avoid extra regulatory charges.
“This makes it more expensive for dealers to perform their essential
functions: providing liquidity, absorbing shocks and facilitating the
transfer and socialisation of risk,” Joshua Younger, a JPMorgan
analyst, wrote in a recent note. “These costs are generally passed on
to customers in the form of higher rates on short-term loans, thinner
markets and the risk — now realised — of spikes in volatility.”
That markets are undergoing a dramatic, algorithmic evolution is an
inescapable fact. Although some humbled hedge fund managers may
unfairly castigate “algos” for their own failings, there are real
risks in how some of these different factors can interact at times of
market stress.
HFTs are far more efficient market-makers than human pit traders. Yet
the entire sector probably has less capital than just one of the major
banks, says Charles Himmelberg, head of global markets research at
Goldman Sachs. It means that they tend to adjust their bids
aggressively when market mayhem breaks out.
Under those circumstances, even a modest amount of selling could have
an outsized impact. This is an issue both for human traders and
quants, but quant strategies are programmed, quick and on autopilot,
and if they start pounding an increasingly thin market, it can cause
dislocations between buy and sell orders that can produce big gains or
falls.
For example, JPMorgan estimates that the depth of the big and normally
liquid S&P 500 futures market — as measured by how many contracts
trade close to the current price — deteriorated in 2018, and was
exceptionally shallow in the last months of the year. In December it
was even worse than the levels seen in the financial crisis.
“While it is incorrect to say that systematic flows are the sole
driver of recent market moves, it would be equally incorrect to say
that systematic flows don’t have a meaningful impact,” says Marko
Kolanovic, head of quantitative strategy at JPMorgan.
Poor liquidity and market volatility have always been linked, and it
is in practice impossible to dissect and diagnose the myriad triggers
and drivers of a sell-off. But modern markets do appear more
vulnerable to abrupt dislocations.
The question is whether anything should, or even could, be done to
mitigate the risks. Mr Kirilenko cautions that a mix of better
understanding and modest tweaks may be the only conclusion.
“We just have to accept that financial markets are nearly fully
automated,” he says, “and try to make sure that things don’t get so
technologically complex and inter-connected that it’s dangerous to the
financial system.”

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Hubble finds record-breaking quasar with brightness of 600 trillion suns @SkyNews
Africa


A quasar with the brightness of about 600 trillion suns - the
brightest ever seen in the early universe - has been discovered by the
Hubble Telescope.
Astronomers used data from the Nasa/European Space Agency's telescope
to find the ancient quasar - the extremely bright nucleus of an active
galaxy created by energy released by gas falling towards the
supermassive black hole at its centre.
They believe the quasar can provide an insight into galaxies' birth,
when the universe was about a billion years old.
Astronomers said it is by far the brightest quasar discovered so far
in the early universe.
Catalogued as J043947.08+163415.7, it is so old the light being
received from it started its journey when the universe was only about
a billion years old.
In 2012 the universe was estimated to be more than 13-billion years
old by Nasa's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotrophy Probe.
Astronomers said the quasar's brightness is equivalent to about 600
trillion suns, and the supermassive black hole powering it is several
million times as massive as our sun.
The data shows the quasar may be producing up to 10,000 stars a year
and the supermassive black hole is accreting matter to itself at an
extremely high rate, scientists said.
In comparison, the Milky Way produces about one new star a year.

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Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi @fatshi13 declared winner of Congo's election @washingtonpost
Law & Politics


A second opposition candidate, Martin Fayulu, came in second despite
consistently polling as the favorite. Just before the announcement of
the results, Fayulu, a former Exxon employee turned parliamentarian,
said in a message that a power-sharing deal between Tshisekedi and
Shadary had become an “open secret.”
“My response is simple: The Congolese people deserve the truth of the
ballot, not another backroom arrangement,” he said.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether CENCO would publish contrasting results
“This was also both Tshisekedi and Shadary’s only way out. Fayulu’s
popularity was shooting up. We’re now going into a great unknown,”
said Francesca Bomboko, whose Office of Studies for Research and
International Consulting co-conducted the most credible pre-election
opinion polling.
“Fayulu will probably take this to court, but his supporters will go
to the streets. The power of the crowd is what the winners should be
afraid of,” she added.

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07-JAN-2019 :: Why DR Congo delayed election results @TheStarKenya
Law & Politics


"It's not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count
the votes." said Joseph Stalin.

The DR Congo held a long delayed election in December. Joseph Kabila
Kabange who besides sporting a whole new sartorial look of late has
been President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since January
2001 and took office after the assassination of his father, President
Laurent-Désiré Kabila. Previously very cryptic and not prone to
engaging with the Press, President Kabila having anointed his
preferred successor Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, was kicking back and
relaxing and giving ''exclusive'' interviews to all the World's Press
and in one interview alluded to Arnold Schwarzenegger's famous quote
''I'll be back.'' In fact, one report I read said he was proposing to
remain in the Presidential Palace and that his Dauphin Shadary would
occupy the residence of the Prime Minister. I have myself visited the
President's residence and on those premises sits a screen [broken and
frozen] from the era of President Joseph-Désiré Mobutu aka Mobutu Sese
Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga which screen was headlined the Bourse du
Valuers, which I was asked to rehabilitate and reinvigorate. I was a
little bit slow on the draw and did not appreciate the ''Dan Gertler''
style of operation, which required ponying up cash up front. I had a
Plan to turn the defunct Marche de Valeurs into a Bovespa [which by
the way is the only stock market in the world wide which is posting
record highs]. The Congo is enormously rich but since the days of King
Leopold through Mobutu through the Kabilas has been a country where
''L'etat c'est moi'' applies and its Citizens have had to exist in a
World which Joseph Conrad aptly pronounced as

“The horror! The horror!”  in his book the Heart of Darkness.

V.S. Naipaul, in his book A Bend in the River [whose departure point
was Conrad's The Heart of Darkness] wrote “It isn't that there's no
right and wrong here. There's no right.”

Today, the Congo is once again key to the Global Economy in the c21st.
Once it was about Rubber and today its all about Cobalt [Copper and
Lithium]. Erik Prince who is raising a $500mn Fund to invest in the
supply of these metals said to the Financial Times

“For all the talk of our virtual world, the innovation, you can’t
build those vehicles without minerals that come from generally weird,
hard-to-access places.”

''When I see the R&D budgets of all the major automakers ploughing
huge money into hybrid or electric vehicles, I believe the demand
curve for the unique minerals that make up an electric car and battery
technology will be enormously high over the coming years,” Mr Prince
said.

Returning to the Elections, whose results release has now been
delayed. According to Africa Confidential and others, the Catholic
Church [certainly the most trusted Institution in Congo and seriously
ubiquitous] all indications are that the Opposition led by Martin
Fayulu has won this all ends up.

''Early results – which the regime is banning the media from reporting
– indicate a win for the opposition after government plans to fix the
poll went awry'' said Africa Confidential. AC added The Bishops’
Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO) had organised up to
40,000 election monitors to scrutinise the conduct of the poll and
conduct a parallel vote tabulation. CENCO did not name the winning
candidate publicly, but declared that he had polled over half of the
votes in the presidential election. Martin Fayulu is the unnamed
winning opposition candidate, Africa Confidential’s church sources
say.  Rival opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi and the ruling
coalition candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary are trailing with around
20% each, we hear (AC Vol 59 No 25, The Twelve Fixes of Christmas).
All these figures, and the detailed calculations underlying them, were
provided by CENCO to diplomats in Kinshasa on 2 January. But the fix
was not thorough enough, sources in Shadary’s Front commun pour le
Congo (FCC) told Africa Confidential. They said control of the poll
was lost because they did not pay off enough election officials.

If President Kabila's Man is at only 20% with the entire State
Machinery at his beck and call, then we are talking about single
digits in reality.  Therefore, we are actually talking a compelling
Victory for Martin Fayulu, an open and shut case as it were. The
President's Advisor Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi pronounced that the
coalition "firmly deplores...the partisan, irresponsible and anarchic
attitude of CENCO."  President Kabila summoned the Catholic Bishops to
Kinshasa and told them he wants he wants to leave a “united and
peaceful” Congo [@rarrigz]. Democratic Republic of Congo's electoral
commission have said they can’t publish the results on Sunday as
planned to avoid political unrest and that the result will be revealed
"next week" after accusing the country's Catholic Church on Friday of
"preparing an insurrection" by saying it knows the winner.

The Author Jason Stearns 'Dancing in the Glory of Monsters' tweeted

This could unfold in many ways. I find it v hard to believe that
Kabila/Shadary will accept defeat and step down @jasonkstearns
I also don't think they will be able to rig elections and move on, as
we now know that the Catholic Church, opposition and civil society,
will put up a fight @jasonkstearns
The most likely scenario is a protracted, potentially violent standoff
that plays out over months in halls of power and in the streets. It
could spill over into armed mobilization in eastern DRC Many civilians
are likely to be killed in this scenario @jasonkstearns

If President Kabila is determined to instal his preferred Successor
and the AU [which has only once pronounced against an Election [2008
Zimbabwe]] or SADC or its neighbours are not prepared to enforce the
will of the People then I would argue that the US [which has already
positioned 80 personnel in the capital of Gabon, , "to be in position
to support the security of United States citizens, personnel, and
diplomatic facilities" in Congo's capital] should remove President
Kabila from the Congo and instal the rightful Winner at the request of
CENCO. I am not a Believer in Regime Change and in fact President
Assad is the first Leader to have managed to repel the Merchants of
regime Change [The point about Syria is that the ''HeadChoppers'' did
not represent the will of the People] but this is a clear cut case,
where the will of the People is being subverted. Its egregious, its
outrageous. And the US has a National Interest [economic as alluded to
above re Erik Prince comments]. This intervention fits neatly with
Ambassador John Bolton's new Africa Strategy and unlike Iraq where
Dick Cheney said

"We will be greeted as liberators, they will throw rose petals at our feet"

I can guarantee you the People of the Congo will throw rose petals at
your feet.

$750b of a Defence budget can be put to good use here. If President
Trump and his team from Ambassador John Bolton through to Secretary
Pompeo want to regain influence on this vast Continent, this is that
moment just like it was for Muhammed Ali many years ago in Kinshasa.

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Here's CENCO's latest statement calling on ⁦@cenirdc⁩ to publish only the true results from the ballot box, and warns that the population already knows the results @thomas_m_wilson
Law & Politics


Here’s CENCO’s latest statement calling on ⁦@cenirdc⁩ to publish only
the true results from the ballot box, and warns that the population
already knows the results via the tallies that have been posted on the
walls of voting stations and compilation centres

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10-DEC-2018 :: Truce dinner @Huawei
Law & Politics


Sirloin steaks, Catena Zapata Nicolas Malbec [2014] Huawei
Technologies Co. and Wanzhou Meng You will recall that Presidents
Trump and Xi Jinping enjoyed a much anticipated ''Truce'' Dinner at
the G20 in Buenos Aires and quaffed a Catena Zapata Nicolas Malbec
[2014] wine with their sirloin steaks and finished it all off with
caramel rolled pancakes, crispy chocolate and fresh cream, a dinner
that ran over by 60 minutes and one where the dinner Guests broke out
into spontaneous applause thereafter.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1553
Dollar Index 95.15
Japan Yen 107.87
Swiss Franc 0.9733
Pound 1.2774
Aussie 0.7183
India Rupee 70.495
South Korea Won 1117.97
Brazil Real 3.6809
Egypt Pound 17.915
South Africa Rand 13.834

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Sudan - #al-Bashir dances while country burns @business H/T @AntonySguazzin
Africa


Sudan’s embattled long-time president Omar al-Bashir danced a jig on
stage and told thousands of supporters that elections are the only way
out of the current crisis, as he looked to reverse a tide of protests
that have swept across the impoverished nation.
In a televised rally in Khartoum, the capital, Bashir rejected calls
to step down, saying there “are those who conspire against Sudan and
seek to attack it.” There are no other options but a national dialog
and elections, he said, as chants broke out of: “There is no
alternative to al-Bashir.”
Flanked by supporters, and sporting a brown leisure suit, Bashir
danced on stage and waved his cane to cheers. The show of force by one
of the region’s longest-serving rulers comes as the government faces
continuing protests against soaring living costs.
The rally took place as anti-government protesters held a
counter-demonstration in Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city. Television
footage showed thousands marching in the streets, while Agence
France-Presse reported that security forces fired tear gas at the
crowds.
“We won’t allow any external bodies or forces to sabotage our
country,” said Bashir, who took power in 1989, adding the nation
enjoyed the support of China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and
Qatar. “We won’t allow chaos. The only way to come to power is through
election, which will be free and fair.”
While rich in oil, decades of strife -- including with its southern
neighbor -- two decades of U.S. sanctions imposed on Bashir for
supporting terror that were lifted in 2017, and general mismanagement
have curtailed efforts to expand Sudan’s economy. Inflation has
hovered at nearly 70 percent, while three currency devaluations and
shortages of cash and fuel have hit Sudanese hard.
Bashir has sought to paint a different picture -- one of malcontents
intent on subverting a nation on the brink of revival. A parliament
packed with his supporters has provided the 75-year-old former army
general with a rubber stamp to seek a constitutional amendment
allowing him to run for office again in elections in 2020.
Thousands of protesters last week blocked streets and attempted to
march on the presidential palace, while calling on Bashir to resign.
At least 19 people have died in the protests, while authorities have
arrested more than 800. Bashir praised security forces for their
restraint and in helping “protect them from the mercenaries that
infiltrate the protests.”
The protests are an echo of those that rippled through the Arab world
in 2011, triggering a wave of uprisings that ousted autocratic
presidents in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen and plunged Syria into
an abyss of violence.

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10 NOV 14 ::Ouagadougou's Signal to Sub-Sahara Africa
Africa


What’s clear is that a very young, very informed and very connected
African youth demographic [many characterise this as a ‘demographic
dividend’] – which for Beautiful Blaise turned into a demographic
terminator – is set to alter the existing equilibrium between the
rulers and the subjects, and a re-balancing has begun.
We need to ask ourselves; how many people can incumbent shoot stone
cold dead in such a situation – 100, 1,000, 10,000? This is another
point: there is a threshold beyond which the incumbent can’t go. Where
that threshold lies will be discovered in the throes of the event.
Therefore, the preeminent point to note is that protests in Burkina
Faso achieved escape velocity. Overthrowing incumbents is all about
acceleration, momentum and speed best characterised by the Ger- man
word ‘Blitzkrieg’.

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According to @thomsonreuters's data for Africa, the total deal volumes & values of M&A transactions in Africa fell sharply in third quarter (Q3) 2018, declining 48.9% in deal volume compared to the same period in 2017. @TheNerveAfrica H/T @bankele
Africa


According to Thomson Reuters’s data for Africa, the total deal volumes
and values of M&A transactions in Africa fell sharply in the third
quarter (Q3) of 2018, declining 48.9 percent in deal volume compared
to the same period in 2017.  The report notes the deals announced were
522 deals valued at $17.94 billion in the Q3 of 2017. This dropped to
343 deals valued at $9.17 billion in Q3 of 2018. While the deals
completed in Q3 2017 were 328 deals valued at $15.8 billion, this
dropped to 208 deals valued at $5.02 billion in Q3 of 2018.
The reason for this decline is unknown as Africa has had a lot of
political and business uncertainties. Some industry experts have also
blamed bad governance and corruption as the reason for the decline as
countries like the United Kingdom and the United States have made
investors more cautious about investing in Africa.

In January 2018, United States-based private equity firm TPG Growth
acquired a majority stake in the South African multimedia
entertainment company TRACE. TRACE is a multi-platform media company
with over 200 million viewers and listeners across 160 countries. It
is a leading youth brand across Sub-Saharan Africa and operates 30
digital and mobile services, 21 pay TV channels and seven radio
stations. TPG Growth acquired the stake from trade buyer Millennium
Technology Group (MTG), which initially invested in 2014. The
acquisition is TPG’s fifth Africa investment after backing Gro
Intelligence, a global agricultural data business, Frontier Car Group,
which manages Cars45.com and Ecoles Yassamine, a private school
network in Morocco.

In March 2018, South Korea-based Samsung announced the acquisition of
Egyptian artificial intelligence startup Kngine in order to improve
its virtual assistant Bixby, developed by Samsung Electronics.This
acquisition is considered a big one for Kngine. It is worthy to note
that before executing the full acquisition of the company, Samsung had
invested in Kngine through their venture capital unit, Samsung Next,
jointly with Vodafone Ventures in 2014.

Swiss Re acquired a 13.81 percent stake in Kenya’s largest company in
the life insurance and pension annuity sector, Britam Holdings.
According to the announcement, Swiss Re acquired 348,504,000 ordinary
shares in Britam from one of its key shareholder, Peter Munga.
Britam’s property portfolio includes hospitality, housing, offices,
shopping malls and student accommodation. Britam is operational in
Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Swiss Re
already has a foothold in Kenya, where it bought a 26.9 percent
minority stake in another insurer, Apollo Investments Limited.

Allianz Group in July announced that it has signed a binding agreement
to acquire 98 percent of Nigerian insurer Ensure Insurance Plc. from
its core shareholder Greenoaks Global Holdings Ltd.(GGH).

In order to have a music streaming service in Africa, Africa’s biggest
telecom company, MTN in November 2018 announced that it has bought
music-streaming business Simfy. Simfy which was officially launched in
South Africa in August 2012 has access to more than 42 million tracks
and has signed deals with most of the major record labels in the
country. According to MTN Group’s CEO, Rob Shuter, Simfy would run as
a separate business, with a separate team and it is not going to be
MTN branded.

Global Fintech company, Emergent Technology Holdings LP (“EmTech”),
announced in December that it has acquired a payments processor based
in Ghana, Interpay Limited (“Interpay Africa”). The acquisition
extends the operations of EmTech’s digital payments business, Emergent
Payments, a local payments provider in 70 emerging markets. Interpay
Africa connects African merchants to local and international payments
capabilities across mobile money, traditional payment and local bank
platforms. Interpay Limited has been renamed Emergent Payments Ghana
Limited and will do business as Emergent Payments Africa.

Access Bank Plc in December announced that it has merged with another
lender Diamond Bank Plc. The merger will position Access Bank as the
biggest lender by assets in Nigeria. The Managing Director and Chief
Executive Officer of Diamond Bank opted for the acquisition by Access
Bank despite an offer of a capital injection by key shareholder
Carlyle Group’s Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund (CSSAF) DBN Holdings.

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Kenya Shilling versus The Dollar Live ForexPros
Kenyan Economy


Nairobi All Share Bloomberg -0.80% 2018

http://www.BLOOMBERG.COM/quote/NSEASI:IND

Nairobi ^NSE20 Bloomberg -2.26% 2018

http://j.mp/ajuMHJ

Every Listed Share can be interrogated here

http://www.rich.co.ke/rcdata/nsestocks.php

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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January 2019
 
 
 
 
 
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