Home > Insights > Acorn Holdings and private equity fund Helios have issued the first green bond in Kenya
Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020

Acorn Holdings and private equity fund Helios have issued the first green bond in Kenya

Insights Africa

Economic Outlook

Economic Outlook

  • Kenyan start-ups raised 5 BN KES (428.91 MM USD) in 2019. According to the 2019 funding report by WeeTracker. Kenya came second to Nigeria in the amount received, indicating the attractiveness of the country to deal financiers. Companies in fintech and agritech topped in terms of the destinations of the investment.
  • More than one-third or 36% of Kenyans are exposed to numerous risks such as economic shocks, death, illness and loss of property due to natural disasters. This high incidence of shocks revealed by FinAccess Household Survey 2019 underpins the urgent need for risk management solutions for individuals, households and businesses.
  • New jobs added by Kenyan companies dropped to a seven-month low in December 2019 despite employers in the top agriculture and manufacturing sectors recording improved sales during the month.
  • Commercial banks are on course to post another full year of double-digit growth in profits, according to a review of their performance in the 10 months ended October 2019. The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows that the banking sector pre-tax earnings for the 10 months stood at 7 BN KES (1.30 MM USD).
  • Increased orders from Tanzania and Rwanda lifted exports of Kenyans goods to the six-nation East African Community (EAC) market to a four-year high till September 2019. Kenyan traders represented a growth of 60 BN KES (55.4 MM USD) or 5.77% compared to the same period a year ago.
  • The prices of domestic flight tickets have nearly dropped by half after the festive season came to an end as demand dips even as airlines cut the frequencies. Price ticket for destinations such as Kisumu have dropped to a low of 4,800 KES (47.52 USD) for a one-way ticket, from a high of 14,800 KES (146.53 USD) during the festive season.
  • Belfast-based Lagan Group is to develop a major business park in Uganda. The UK Government confirmed it will loan 185 MM EUR to the Government of Uganda to help building 2,200-acre Kampala Industrial Business Park, located on the outskirts of the East African country’s capital.
  • Uganda plans to borrow 9 TR KES (1.89 BN USD) from external lenders in 2020/2021 to partly finance its budget, which could come under pressure as veteran leader Yoweri Museveni seeks re-election.
Political Events

Political Events

  • At least seven people have been confirmed dead and 25 others injured after an explosion rocked Sudan’s capital Khartoum. Police sources stated that the explosion may be a result of an improvised explosive device. The incident took place in the al-Shegla area of Khartoum.
  • The UK government has signed 11 trade agreements with African countries, before it officially leaves the European Union. It is expected to unveil a new strategy for development in Africa later, which will focus more on infrastructure and trade.
Stock Market

Stock Market

  • A Kenyan property developer Acorn Holdings has listed the first shilling-denominated green bond program on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) valued at 4.3 BN KES (5 MM USD), marking a step forward in the bid to open up Africa’s local currency bond market to international investors.
  • The Safaricom stock (listed Kenyan mobile network operator headquartered at Safaricom House in Nairobi) hit a historic peak last Friday, closing at a high of 32.80 KES (0.32 USD) per share, thereby increasing investor wealth eight times since its listing on June 9, 2008, inclusive of dividends.
Companies Transactions

Companies Transactions

  • Kenya Capital Markets Authority has approved the issuance of the first unlisted green bond, to be issued by the British real estate developer Acorn, raising 3 BN KES (42.5 MM USD) of the targeted 5 BN KES (49.4 MM USD). The issuance aims to finance sustainable and climate-resilient student accommodation and is structured as a restricted public offer for sophisticated investors. Green bonds raise capital for climate-friendly projects.
  • Taxi-hailing firm Bolt has secured 6 BN KES (55.4 MM USD) loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to be injected into the firm research and development plans to make its products and services more reliable, safe and sustainable.
  • South African firm Inqo Investments has bought a stake in Kentegra Biotechnology Holdings, one of the six companies growing pyrethrum in Kenya for an undisclosed amount.
  • The African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional window of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), has approved loans amounted to 8 BN KES (37.2 MM USD) to cover related credit risk for projects in Kenya, Sudan and Senegal.
  • French retailer Carrefour has opened its first branch in Kampala in an expansion drive aimed at taking up space previously occupied by collapsed Nakumatt Holdings. BAT Kenya has raised the prices of nearly all its cigarettes by up to 15 KES per packet (0.15 USD) which took effect on January 2. The Finance Act 2019 raised excise duty charged on cigarettes by 1% effective in November 2019.
  • MTN Uganda showcased a high-speed 5G SA network under the 60 MHz spectrum bandwidth with an actual rate of more than 494 Gbps. The set-up uses ZTE’s end-to-end 5G equipment, including Common Core, to achieve the complete separation of the signaling plane and the data plane without relying on the existing LTE core network EPC.


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