10 March 2016

Rwanda: It Pays to List On the Stock Exchange


Up until recently, the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) had not managed to create the buzz that was expected by entering the capital market.

Then Crystal Telecom floated its 20 per cent shares in telecom giant MTN-Rwanda and shook things up with many rushing to get a piece of the pie.

Crystal Telecom is the third Rwandan firm to list on the exchange that is dominated by Kenyan companies such as Uchumi Supermarket that has not even started operations here, but they knew a good deal when they saw one, despite grappling with financial woes of recent.

Uchumi might not have much to dish out among its shareholders but with Crystal Telecom, the story is different.

Since it completed its Initial Public Offering in June last year, shareholders will have reason to smile twice in a space of less than a year.

The telecom company has just announced that it is about share out over Rwf2 billion among its shareholders at a dividend of Rwf8.2 per share, bringing the total payout in less than one year to nearly Rwf12 per share.

This should be enough to attract other investors to list on the RSE because not only will they be able to raise much needed capital, their shareholders will also benefit.

But in order to have a more vibrant capital market, more efforts will be needed to lure more local firms to list.

Apart from the government and a couple of financial institutions that list bonds on the RSE to raise capital, most of the private sector has been conspicuously absent.

This attitude has to change if local firms are to grow and spread their wings beyond our region and compete on the world stage.


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