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05-FEB-2018 :: Halcyon Days @TheStarKenya
Wikipedia has an article on: halcyon days and it reads thus,
From Latin Alcyone, daughter of Aeolus and wife of Ceyx. When her
husband died in a shipwreck, Alcyone threw herself into the sea
whereupon the gods transformed them both into halcyon birds
(kingfishers). When Alcyone made her nest on the beach, waves
threatened to destroy it. Aeolus restrained his winds and kept them
calm during seven days in each year, so she could lay her eggs. These
became known as the “halcyon days,” when storms do not occur. Today,
the term is used to denote a past period that is being remembered for
being happy and/or successfuL
12-SEP-2016 :: Mirrors on the ceiling, The pink champagne on ice
If volatility spikes, positions are going to be reduced en masse. Or
to put it another way and to borrow the lyrics from the Eagles Hotel
Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device” Last
thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax,” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! “
What is clear is that we are at the fag-end of this party.
WILD LIFE Tripping in the African bush @spectator
Neighbours Tom and Jo came by with a bucketful of wild African
mushrooms, which they had collected in old cattle bomas on the way to
the farm. I asked: ‘How do you know they are not toadstools?’ Tom said
you could peel the caps, the gills were dark brown, not white, there
was a ring around the stem like a Jacobean ruff — and they did not
smell poisonous. ‘Fine,’ I said and into a great pot they went with
butter and parsley from the garden. Everything else for supper was
from the garden too — even the road runner cockerel — except the
flagons of wine brought by guests David and Kate, also from a farm
only two hours’ drive away. The mushrooms were delicious. I expected
my friends to turn red and horns to sprout from their heads, and that
after hallucinating over pudding we would all then be found dead in
our chairs at dawn.
Waking alive next morning, I arranged with Tom to go mushroom foraging
that evening. ‘We must work fast,’ he advised. ‘All the warthogs and
elephants have the same idea as us.’ That afternoon I drove over to
Tom’s and as we reached a cluster of old bomas, or night enclosures
for cattle, it was clear that the sounders of pigs and herds of
pachyderms had already been rooting in the middens of rotted manure.
The sheer quantity of cow shit, which must be just the right vintage,
and weeks of heavier rains than we have had for two decades, meant
there were mushrooms in vast quantities for all wild creatures and
people. We piled in together with the ranch hands to pick great
quantities of fungus exploding out of the ground. At a second supper
that night, Tom said he had noticed orange toadstools in close
proximity to the safe mushrooms. He reckoned he felt slightly odd.
After that we both worried that we were starting to see things that
did not exist.
I tried to make light of it, telling a funny story about a friend of
mine at university who while tripping on LSD became convinced he was a
can of Campbell’s mushroom soup. Our laughter was slightly hollow, and
followed by a long silence. On the way home after dark, I stopped the
car in the bush and the world had turned surreal. I saw the green
bioluminescence of termite mounds pointing trumpet-like at the Milky
Way. I saw showers of falling stars. I fancied I saw the scorpions
glow electric blue in the moonlight and the puff adders breathing
fire. I saw dark shapes with tusks and ears gliding across the track
in front of me and decided they were real enough but I wondered if
they would all stand up on their hind legs and sing ‘Pink Elephants on
Parade’ for me.
We had not been properly poisoned but perhaps there were a few spores
from those orange toadstools in the pot. That night, as I lay in bed,
the oddness continued. First the warthogs, probably stoned on
mushrooms, launched a full frontal assault on my electric fence to get
into my crop of lucerne. You could hear them squealing before they hit
the wire because they already knew they were going to get the full
7,500 volts. They charged through anyway and then the whole compound
came alive with flashing lights and sirens. After that the bullfrogs
got up a chorus around the swimming-pool and I had to go out with a
golf club to lightly putt them into the water to shut them up. They
climbed back out and simply carried on so loudly all night that even
with a pillow over my head I could not sleep.
In the morning the pool was strung with frogspawn. After breakfast a
swarm of bees emerged from a hive that had become so rotten that it
disintegrated, and they flew around the farmyard stinging geese and
chickens. Cattle stampeded and sheep bleated. The only way I could
venture outside was in a bee suit, carrying my smoker in hand. I
suddenly realised I felt like one of those ochre figures in the rock
paintings you find from the Drakensberg to the Tibesti mountains, tens
of thousands of years old. The figures often look as though they are
in astronaut suits, with heads expanding into shapes like great big
toadstools, and they walk across walls decorated with herds of eland
and giraffe and elephants. Perhaps 40,000 years ago a group of friends
had gone mushroom picking in a midden of buffalo poo and sat down for
a wonderful weekend supper together. And that is when things started
to get interesting.
28-OCT-2013 @BarackObama and @HassanRouhani The Two Husseins
Law & Politics
THE recent rapprochement between President Barack Obama and Iran’s
Hassan Rouhani has certainly snapped a losing sequence in US-Iran
relations that goes all the way back to the Iranian revolution in 1979
when Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of
Iran. The Shah was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi
and otherwise known as the peacock throne. Hussein [Barack Hussein
Obama] and Hassan [Rouhani] share the same name as did Prophet
Muhammed’s revered grandsons. Those who pursue the study of
anthroponymy [personal names] especially in the Islamic World probably
view this as very fortuitous.
I was wandering around the Hirshhorn Gallery in Washington last year
and I came across this from the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei:
What’s in a name?
A name is the first and final marker of individual rights, one fixed
part of the ever-changing human world. A name is the most basic
characteristic of our human rights: No matter how poor or how rich,
all living people have a name, and it is endowed with good wishes, the
expectant blessings of kindness and virtue.
Hussein and Hassan are going to cut through a great deal of
interference. In this situation, there are powerful vested interests
fully invested in the status quo. If the pax Americana in the Middle
East were a three legged stool with the US the most important leg,
then Israel and Saudi Arabia are the other two legs of that stool.
Neither Riyadh nor Tel Aviv are aligned with President Obama’s Iranian
rapprochement and Saudi Arabia in particular has become increasingly
forthright and is even threatening its own pivot and away from the US.
30-APR-2018 :: "A new history starts now. An age of peace, from the starting point of history."
Law & Politics
The Events that took place on Friday at the truce village of Panmunjom
and during the Inter-Korean Summit were breathtaking for the Hollywood
Optics. The Opening Shot of Kim Jong Un surrounded by a Phalanx of
North Korean Officials [later replayed as Chairman Kim sat in his
Presidential Vehicle surrounded by his Ninja bodyguards] was almost as
good as the opening Sequence in PT Anderson's Boogie Nights [Steadicam
operator Andy Shuttleworth]. This was Cinema of the highest level
which is no surprise when You consider that Kim Jong-Il the Father was
obsessed with Cinema and amassed arguably the world’s largest personal
film collection: over 20,000 bootlegged 35mm screening copies. Kim
Jong-Il also had a penchant for Hennessy Paradis cognac and for two
years in the mid-1990s, he was the world's largest buyer of Hennessy
Paradis cognac, importing up to $800,000 of the stuff a year. Kim
Jong-Il began his career as the head of the state’s propaganda and
agitation department and its clear that Kim Jong-Un's sister Kim Yo
Jong who holds the same role and evidently handles all the optics, is
a chip off the old Block. Friday was tip-top Geopolitical Optics. Mike
Pompeo, the newly minted US Secretary of State [His predecessor was
fired via Twitter] had visited Pyongyang the previous week and
pronounced; that the young North Korean leader was "a smart guy who's
doing his homework"
12-FEB-2018 :: China was never interested in bringing him to heel. After all, he is the buffer state between China and more than 30,000 US soldiers parked on their doorstep in South Korea.
Law & Politics
“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock,
which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft,
and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another
paradox: What is soft is strong,” Lao Tzu
South Korea is set to be peeled off and going by his puppy dog smiles
President Moonriver will be in PyongYang before you can pronounce Kim
Yo Jong correctly. Russia always had their back. China was never
interested in bringing him to heel. After all, he is the buffer state
between China and more than 30,000 US soldiers parked on their
doorstep in South Korea.
28-AUG-2017 :: China Rising
Law & Politics
Apart from a few half-hearted and timid FONOPs [freedom of navigation
operations], China has established control over the South China Sea.
It has created artificial Islands and then militarised those
artificial islands across the South China Sea. It is a mind-boggling
geopolitical advance any which way you care to cut it.
High Africa Yields Raise Debt-Service Concern, @AfDB_Group Says @business
Some African countries are overpaying for dollar bonds, raising
concern about debt-service costs at a time when currencies are
weakening against the greenback, according to the African Development
High interest rates make the continent’s bonds attractive to investors
despite questions about the true extent of the debt loads of countries
such as Zambia and the Republic of Congo.
“Raising a 30-year bond at a yield of 950 basis points -- that’s very
high,” AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said in an interview in
Johannesburg on Monday. Angola last week raised $1.25 billion selling
a Eurobond due in 2048 at 9.375 percent.
Dollar bonds sold by African governments now yield 6.91 percent on
average, compared with 5.66 percent in early January, Standard Bank
Group Ltd. Indexes show. That compares with 6 percent for emerging
markets generally. African and emerging-market Eurobonds have sold off
heavily in the last three weeks as the dollar strengthens and U.S.
African nations have sold $18.3 billion of euro and dollar-denominated
debt so far in 2018, already beating full-year records. Nigeria,
Kenya, Senegal, Egypt and Angola have all issued 30-year tranches.
Ghana is planning to sell as much as $2.5 billion of Eurobonds in 2018
and South Africa $3 billion.
The region’s average government debt ratio had increased about 20
percentage points in the past six years to 53 percent of GDP,
according to Fitch Ratings Ltd. Still, public debt in Africa is far
from crisis level, Adesina said.
Some nations will be better off selling local-currency bonds rather
than take up foreign-denominated obligations, he said. That’s to avoid
a currency mismatch, where the assets a government invests in generate
income in local currency while the debt has to be repaid in a foreign
“If you have weak exchange rate, it means that you’re going to use a
lot of your money to service your debt,” he said.
Nigeria announced plans last year to sell $5.5 billion of
dollar-denominated securities, most of which would be to refinance
existing domestic debt and reduce servicing costs. The International
Monetary Fund said this could raise the West African nation’s
exchange-rate risks. The naira has lost more than 40 percent of its
value against the dollar since Nigeria abandoned a peg in 2016.
Adesina, a former Nigerian agriculture minister, said Nigeria’s low
ratio of debt to GDP allows it some room to borrow.
“There’s nothing untoward” about Nigeria’s debt shift, he said. “When
you are able to negotiate external debt and you can borrow at a rate
that makes sense, you might be able to swap and say you get a better
debt internationally to be able to finance the local debt that you’ve
been racking up.”
Zanu-PF's new factions: Forget Lacoste and G40, now it's uniforms versus civvies Mail and Guardian
Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party on Friday launched its 2018 election
manifesto in a glitzy fashion at a Harare hotel, but its presidential
candidate, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is not assured of a smooth ride into
Dates of the crucial polls have not yet been announced but Zimbabwe’s
five-year election calendar stipulates that the ritual should be held
sometime between July and August this year.
The voters roll, prepared under the new biometric registration system,
is still being finalised.
Friday’s manifesto launch adds heat to an increasingly feverish mood
that has gripped the country ahead of national elections that for the
first time won’t feature Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai,
long-time duelists in this fixture.
There used to be G40 and Lacoste, the factions aligned with former
first lady Grace Mugabe and Mnangagwa respectively. Now we have a
struggle for power between between the military elements that led the
coup that ousted Mugabe; and the civilian wing sympathetic to
Mnangagwa, mainly the vocal but largely powerless war veterans.
So far, the military wing is coming out on top.
Top military and security service chiefs command huge interests in
political and business affairs in the country, which they are keen to
protect and consolidate.
Zanu-PF’s manifesto is more muted than that of opposition parties,
which are promising all heaven, complete with bullet trains, airports
in rural areas and US dollars in people’s pockets.
07-MAY-2018 :: .@SafaricomPLC is a Need not a Want. Buy the Dip, add to the position if we react lower on the results
Let me loop now to Safaricom, which will be reporting its FY Earnings
Wednesday morning. I don't need to remind you of Safaricom's
centrality to the fortunes of the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
Safaricom has a market Cap of $11.2b about 43% of the total market Cap
of the Securities Exchange. Therefore, this is the Big Beast of
Earnings Releases at the Nairobi Securities Exchange. After hitting a
record high on April 5th, Safaricom corrected -20.00% through Friday
morning. Citibank were surely the Catalyst with a sceptical Earnings
perspective. Safaricom provided every Kenyan with an Entry Ticket into
the c21st. Jack Ma last year posed the question when asked about the
''But what is the most important Infrastructure of them all? Its the
information Superhighway and yours is fast.''
Safaricom is a Need not a Want. Buy the Dip, add to the position if we
react lower on the results. Safaricom has built the Superhighway.
Everyone else is still playing the tarmacking Game. You know what I
mean. The roads around Westlands are the best example.
@SafaricomPLC releases FY18 #Safaricomfyresults FY EPS +14.05%
Par Value: 0.05/-
Closing Price: 28.50
Total Shares Issued: 40065428000.00
Market Capitalization: 1,141,864,698,000
Safaricom FY Results for the year ended 31st March 2018 vs. 31st March 2017
FY Voice revenue 95.64b vs. 93.46b +2.333%
FY Mpesa Revenue 62.91b vs. 55.08b +14.216%
FY SMS Revenue 17.72b vs. 16.68b +6.235%
FY Mobile data revenue 36.36b vs. 29.33b +23.969%
FY Fixed service revenue 6.67b vs. 5.24b +27.290%
FY Other service revenue 5.24b vs. 4.32b +21.296%
FY Service revenue 224.54b vs. 204.11b +10.009%
FY Handset revenue and other revenue 8.98b vs. 8.70b +3.218%
FY Total revenue 233.72b vs. 212.89b +9.784%
FY Other income 0.50b vs. 2.51b -80.080%
FY Direct costs [70.55b] vs. [66.78b] +5.645%
FY Contribution margin 163.47b vs. 148.54b +10.051%
FY Operating costs [50.61b] vs. [44.92b] +12.667%
FY EBITDA 112.83b vs. 103.61b +8.899%
FY Depreciation and amortization [33.56b] vs. [33.23b] +0.993%
FY EBIT 79.27b vs. 70.38b +12.631%
FY Net financing and FX losses 0.63b vs. 0.23b +173.913%
FY Earnings before taxation 79.71b vs. 70.63b +13.139%
FY Net income 55.29b vs. 48.44b +14.141%
EPS 1.38 vs. 1.21 +14.050%
Capital Employed 123.91b vs. 107.49b +15.276%
Cash and cash equivalents 9.50b vs. 5.96b +59.396%
Total Net Cash 5.46b vs. [10.58b] +151.607%
Free cash flow 55.39b vs. 43.51b +27.304%
Key Highlights for the year ended 31st March 2018
Customer numbers 29.57m +5.1%
Mobile Data Customers 17.67m +6.2%
M-Pesa Customers 20.55m +8.0%
Service revenue 224.54b +10.00%
Voice Service Revenue 95.64b +2.3%
SMS Revenue 17.72b +6.2%
Mobile Data Revenue +36.36b +24%
Fixed Service revenue 6.67b +27.3%
M-PESA Revenue 62.91b +14.2%
Non-Voice service revenue = 57.4% of total service revenues
EBITDA 112.83B +8.9% [excluding a one-off adjustment growth was 12.5%]
Net Income +14.1% 55.29b
Full Year Dividend 1.10 +13.4%
Free Cash Flow 55.39b versus 43.51b +27.3%
Strong Earnings, Look at M-PESA which made considerably more than any Bank.
Mobile Data a Stand-Out.
Voice still posting growth [demographic surge refers]
This is a rock-solid Franchise and its morphing into Digital Company.
And do not forget tis was against the backdrop of an economy tat grew
its weakest for 6 years.
The Global Oil markets have been roiled by the widely telegraphed
withdrawal [now confirmed] of the US from the Iran Nuclear Deal. The
Price of Brent Crude traded Fresh 2014 highs of $77.00 a barrel.
Emerging markets have been getting creamed, The Turkish President is
hosting an emergency meeting at his Palace as the Turkish Lira crashed
to fresh all time lows. Argentina raised interest rates to 40% but
have dialled up Madam Lagarde as President Lungu of Zambia will be
doing momentarily. There is every indication that the benign
environment with lashings of cheap money have now been terminated.
The IMF said the following about SSA:
About one-third of Sub-Saharan African countries have declining per
capita incomes. @IMFnews
Six countries - Chad, Eritrea, Mozambique, Congo Republic, South Sudan
and Zimbabwe - were judged to be in debt distress at the end of last
And the IMF’s ratings for Zambia and Ethiopia were changed from
moderate to “high risk of debt distress.”
Foreign currency debt increased by 40 percent from 2010-13 to 2017 and
now accounts for about 60 percent of the region’s total public debt on
average, IMF data showed
Average interest payments, meanwhile, increased from 4 percent of
expenditures in 2013 to 12 percent in 2017.
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services
Thats the background to the biggest NSE Earnings release of the Year,
which was of course Safaricom [about 42.5% of the Total value of the
NSE] who reported pre-market opening this morning. The backdrop for
this Earnings release was the slowest rate of GDP increase in 6 years
in 2017, a drought, a credit crunch and not one but two Elections and
then of course the Resist-related Boycott. I have been attending these
Earnings Releases for a decade and it was good to catch up with
Michael Joseph [and we reminisced about when he launched M-Pesa and
today its making more than any Kenyan Bank] and many others. I
interviewed the Acting CEO Sateesh Kamath and this interview will be
published on http://rich.co.ke. It was also a pleasure to hear Bob
Collymore speak to the Audience from London.
Safaricom reported a +10.009% gain in FY Service Revenue which clocked
224.54b, FY Profit before Tax increased +13.1% to 79.1b and FY Profit
after Tax increased +14.1% to 55.3b,which translated into +14.05%
gain in FY EPS and a FY dividend increase of +13.4%. Free Cash Flow
exploded +27.304% higher to register 55.39b. Breaking down the revenue
streams, FY Voice Revenue grew +2.333% to 95.46b, M-PESA Revenue
accelerated +14.216% to 62.91b
"Mpesa has been a growth engine. Whenever there’s a cash transaction,
we see an opportunity. The Transaction value in 2017 doubled'' -
FY Mobile Data revenue surged +23.969% to clock 36.36b [Data usage per
customer grew from 269 MB per customer to 421 MB]. It really is an
Information Century and I expect the Mobile Data Curve to continue its
Full Year Total Customers increased +5.1% to 29.57m and if any one is
a beneficiary of the demographic dividend it is Safaricom.
Safaricom rallied +2.654% to close at 29.00 and traded 17.881m shares
worth 520.779m. In a turbulent World, Safaricom is a ''must-have''
stock. Sateesh closed out the Briefing by raising FY 2019 Guidance by
between 7%-12%. I expect the Economy to pick up momentum in 2018 and
Safaricom with it.