Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

23 March 2014

Ethiopia: Two Billion Birr Exhibition Centre Share Launch Floats Timidly

Pledges amounting to just 4.5 million Br came after the release of 300 million Brs worth of shares

The Addis Africa International Convention & Exhibition Centre S.C (AAICEC) managed to secure the promise of just 4.5 million Br from 22 companies and individuals in the purchase of shares. This came after the release of 300,000 shares valued at 300 million Br for public subscription, on Tuesday, March 18, 2014.

The Center upon completion will be an alternative to the Addis Abeba Exhibition & Marketing Development Enterprise (AAEMDE) near the Mesqel Square along the Ras Desta Damtew Street.

The launch ceremony was held at the Sheraton Addis Hotel in the presence of Diriba Kuma, mayor of the Addis Abeba City Administration; Elias Geneti, the new president of the Addis Abeba City Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (AACCSA) and founding members of the AAICEC, as well as business owners.

Dan Technocraft Plc made the largest promise, pledging to buy 1,000 shares for one million Br, while Awash Insurance S.C and YOD Abyssinia - a restaurant known for traditional Ethiopian dishes -offered the second highest pledges of 500,000 Br for 500 shares each.

Alsam Plc's manager, Sabir Argaw, pledged to buy 300 shares worth 300,000 Br, and four companies promised to buy 200 shares. The remaining 14 companies and individuals promised to buy 100 shares at 100,000 Br.

The construction of the convention centre is planned to be conducted in three phases, with the total investment amounting to two billion Birr. It will be constructedon 11ha of land located in the CMC area of Bole District.

The first phase includes the construction of the exhibition hall, outdoor exhibition space, multipurpose hall, conference hall, offices, shops, café, restaurant and amphitheatre.

Three conference halls are included in the second phase, while the last phase comprises of a playground and hotel.

For the first phase of the investment, the company, which was legally registered on November 13, 2012, expects to collect 300 million Br from public subscriptions. The construction of the first phase will begin before September and will be finalised within two years, says Ayalew Zegeye, Board chairperson of the Company.

The AAICEC was registered in November 2012, but throughout the course of the following year would only succeed in acquiring land. It only started selling shares on December 24, 2013, managing to sell 3.5 million Brs worth before Tuesday's launching ceremony. The minimum number of shares is 25, each worth 1000 Br.

The Company has not been fully operating since December 2013 because shareholders demanded that the strategic plan designed to run the Company should be revised.

The Company, a public private partnership, was established by 20 shareholders with a total paid up capital of 10.8 million Br. The Addis Abeba City Administration contributed 36 million Br towards the project.

"Currently the Company has acquired 60 additional shareholders," said Meseret Mamo, deputy general manager of the Company. "We are also getting further promises from different companies, such as the Metals & Engineering Corporation and Ethiopian Airlines".

The shares will stay in the market until all are sold out, says Meseret.

Subscribers should initially pay 25pc of the total value of subscribed shares and eight percent of the service charge of the subscribed amount for administrative expenses.

Then, within a year's time, they are expected to pay 35pc of the total value of subscribed shares. Finally, the remaining 40pc of thetotal value of subscribed shares is to be paid within two years of the share floating date.

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