Equity, Stanbic, Barclays shine at East Africa bankers awards

Equity , Barclays and Stanbic CFC banks outshone regional financial services peers during the annual banking awards.

The top individual award went to Equity chief executive James Mwangi who was named banker of the year.

The lenders were announced winners during a gala dinner for the fourth Banker Africa - East Africa Awards, 2017 held in Nairobi.
Equity led the way with four awards as Barclays and Stanbic bagged three awards each.

Equity scooped awards in best retail and digital bank in Kenya categories, best retail and CSR bank in East Africa categories.
Different regional units of Barclays and Stanbic won recognition with each taking three awards.

Barclays was named the best investment bank in East Africa, best commercial bank in Tanzania and best corporate bank in Uganda.

Stanbic was honoured for being the best investment institution in Kenya, best corporate bank in East Africa and best retail bank in Uganda.
Standard Chartered bank was awarded the best new online platform in Kenya.

In total 30 institutions across seven countries – Kenya, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda shared 46 corporate awards. About 95 institutions had been enlisted.

Robin Amlot, chief executive of CPI Financial, the event organiser said the awards aim to promote best practice and offer recognition to the key players working to help create a prosperous diversified future for the region’s economies.

The winners were decided through 77,000 votes cast by the financial services community in East Africa, which CPI Financial said was the largest number in the four-year history of the regional awards, and three times the number of votes cast in the previous year.

Source: Business Daily

Global automakers in race to set up assembly plants in Kenya

Volvo Trucks of Sweden has taken the cue of international auto firms seeking to set up base in Kenya for their operations in East Africa, lured by tax incentives by the government.

The company announced yesterday it will open a $25 million ( Sh2.58 billion ) assembly plant in Mombasa following its partnership with NECST Motors in the first quarter of 2018.

The assembly plant will have an annual production capacity of 4,500 units.

The government has scrapped the excise tax on locally assembled cars and motorcycles in a bid to spur local assembling and manufacturing.

This has paved way for a number of international vehicle manufacturers to set up shop in Kenya including France’s PSA Group, the maker of Peugeot. The firm in February signed a contract to start assembling two car models in Kenya.

German manufacturer Volkswagen began assembling cars in Thika last year while India’s Ashok Leyland is also planning to set up an assembly plant in the country.

“Preparations for the assembly plant in Mombasa are under way. We expect to have something coming out by the first quarter of 2018. Direct Investments into the plant will cost about $25 million,” Volvo Trucks East Africa director Micke Rydbeck said in Nairobi yesterday.

Volvo Trucks is seeking to expand its footprint in East Africa, investing in 20 new workshops across the region through its partnership with NECST Motors, which will become the firm’s exclusive importer of the Swedish truck brand.

The planned investment is expected to create approximately 300 direct jobs, in addition to other indirect employment opportunities.

“Going forward, our focus will be on not only gaining new market shares but also raising the overall standard of customer satisfaction by expanding the after-sales network, training our staff and ensuring the availability of genuine Volvo parts,” NECST co-founder and chairman Erik Eberhardson said.

Presiding over the signing of the deal, Kenya Investment Authority managing director Moses Ikiara lauded the partnership saying “it complements the Government’s effort to expand the manufacturing sector.”

He said that although the SGR is expected to cut transport costs by 40 per cent, there will be enough business for everyone.

“We should not see the railway as direct competition, what we are looking at is the last mile. The railway can only transport goods from one point to another but the goods still need to reach the customer and that is where we see an opportunity,” Volvo Trucks president Claes Nilsson.

Source: TheStar

Britam launches building Sh3.3bn apartment units

Britam will spend Sh3.3 billion to develop 11 floors of fully furnished and serviced apartments in Kilimani, Nairobi targeting the business travellers, consultants and business executives.

The development will comprise 117 two-bedroom and 46 one-bedroom rental apartments located on a 1.6 acre-plot along Nyangumi Road, Kilimani area and is expected to take three years to complete.

The current market rate for serviced apartments in the area range between Sh12,000 to Sh20,000 for a two-bedroom unit and Sh8,000 to Sh12,000 for a one-bedroom unit a night according to the firm.

Britam Holdings Group managing director Benson Wairegi on Wednesday said the decision to venture into property and real-estate development is part of the group’s diversification strategy meant to reduce portfolio risk and exposure to the volatile stock exchange market.
“The market will need at least 1,000 serviced apartments in the next three years and Britam Properties will help in bridging this gap,” said Mr Wairegi during the ground breaking ceremony.

Britam noted real-estate investments are inflation beating and if carried in an efficient investment vehicle like a real-estate investment trust, they can offer a huge tax benefit.

The property is being developed by Britam Properties, a fully owned subsidiary of Britam Holdings Ltd. Upon completion of the apartments and the yet to completed Britam Tower in Upper Hill, real estate will account for between 10 to 15 per cent of its asset base.

Source: Business Daily

US fast-food chain eyes Kenya with franchise deal

American fast-food chain, Mr. Pretzel, is set to enter the Kenyan market in a franchise deal with a local firm.

The company is seeking regulatory approval to open shop in partnership with Snackbyte Company Limited, a Kenyan baker.

Snackbyte has sought exemption from Kenyan competition law to enter a franchise agreement that will give it exclusive rights to develop and operate Mr. Pretzel outlets.

Most Mr. Pretzel kiosks are located in malls.

Snackbyte said the Kenyan market, with its mushrooming malls and middle class, is ripe for the US brand’s entry.

“Kenya is the first country in Africa. This is buoyed by the economy and the middle class who have growing taste for quality products,” said Snackbyte director Paul Asamba.

Mr. Pretzel is a 23-year-old company with a presence in 18 countries, including the United Kingdom, Brazil and Mexico. Its 200 kiosks specialise in selling pretzels, baked foods of European origin that are usually shaped like knots.

Mr Asamba recently left a job as Barclays’ head of business support and corporate recoveries to run Snackbyte.

Under the franchise agreement, Snackbyte will be the exclusive seller of Mr. Pretzel products in Kenya for a decade.

Kenya’s fast food market has been expanding rapidly over the past few years as local and international brands step up their investment.

The country has seen the entry of such international brands as Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Hardees, Burger King, Dominos and Cold Stone Creamery. Most of these companies have revealed plans to expand over the next few years.

Mr Asamba said he was confident that Mr.Pretzel will compete with other companies “because the company is targeting a niche in the ‘grab-and-go’ food market where there are no similar products.”

Source: Business Daily Newspaper.