Capital FM (Nairobi)

1 August 2014

Kenya: Britam's Bond Becomes First Corporate to Trade At NSE This Year

Nairobi — British American Investment Company's (Britam) Sh6 billion bond started trading at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) on Friday, making it the first corporate bond to be listed at the bourse.

Britam Chief Executive Officer Benson Wairegi said the proceeds will fund local and regional expansion, property development and increase investment in private equity.

Wairegi said the company will spend Sh2 billion on technology to improve efficiency. Britam will invest in an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and a new line of business that will run its General and life Insurance business as well as its pension business.

"We just completed signing contracts with various service providers that include Oracle," he stated.

On property development the company says it's doing business plans for its recently acquired land.

Some of the property market segments earmarked include master planned communities, suburban outlet malls, commercial office parks, budget hotels and mixed use properties- retail, offices and residential properties.

"Some of the money could go to acquiring land and doing developments on the land that we have but right now we are doing the business cases. We have land in Mlolongo (10 acres), Ngong (21 acres) and in Kilimani (1.5 acres); we continue to look for more land in cities outside Nairobi and outside Kenya like Kampala and Kigali," he said.

The company had hinted it was earmarking the 10-acre piece of land for a shopping mall, with the Kilimani piece of land ideal for a hotel.

The company has also finalised its acquisition of a 99 percent shareholding in Real Insurance Company.

Britam has already a strong presence in Kenya, and also has operations in Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan while Real Insurance has subsidiaries in Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.

Last year the company bought a 25 percent stake in Acorn Group, a property development and management consultancy firm, as it seeks to position itself in the property market.

Last week, the company launched a county strategy that will see it establish presence in the 47 counties.

The move is part of a major countrywide expansion strategy to build capacity at the county level and increase points of contacts with consumers.

Britam sold Sh6 billion of debt with 147 percent oversubscription amounting to Sh7.4 billion. It planned to sell Sh3 billion in the offering, which would've been followed by another sale to raise the balance.

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