Magazine article African Business

Kenya, Mauritius Still Lead

Magazine article African Business

Kenya, Mauritius Still Lead

Article excerpt

As in most of the rest of the continent, the value of East Africa's leading companies has recovered strongly over the past year. The region's biggest firm by market capitalisation, Safaricom Ltd, is valued at $2.7bn, up from just $1.5bn in last year's survey.

By the same token, market value of $60.6m is now required to secure a ranking in our East African Top 50, almost 50% up on the $41m that was required last year, indicating that the region as a whole has recovered the ground that was lost by the global economic crash.


This suggests that last year's falls were by no means indicative of any underlying weakness in East Africa's major economies. It is true that Kenya's political woes continue to affect investor confidence but the region's largest economy remains the best-represented in our table, taking seven of the top 10 places.

Despite predictions by some analysts that the Kenyan mobile sector was becoming saturated, Safaricom predicts a 20% growth in subscriber numbers this year. The country already has 18m active mobile consumers, equivalent to a 47% penetration rate.

Chief executive Michael Joseph told journalists: "I see another 20% growth in terms of subscriber numbers because the market is underpenetrated and there is still room both in mobile and data." Safaricom, which is partly owned by the UK's Vodafone, already boasts 14.5m Kenyan subscribers and so hopes to further cement its domination of the country's mobile market.

However, the company's success has prompted competitors Zain, Telekom Kenya and Yu to call for government intervention. In February, Bitange Ndemo, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications, suggested that this may be forthcoming. He said: "There is no doubt that Safaricom is the dominant player ... That is not competition; that is monopoly. We need to create a competitive environment where the others are strong enough to withstand the other."

Mauritius too maintains its strong showing, with three companies in the top seven: Mauritius Commercial Bank, State Bank of Mauritius and New Mauritius Hotels.

New Mauritius Hotels has enjoyed a particularly impressive year, moving up from 12th to seventh in our survey. Its market value has more than doubled from $357m to $741m, perhaps highlighting that the tourist sector is rebounding from the deep depression of late 2008 and into 2009.

Indeed, Kenya and Mauritius hold a virtual duopoly over our rankings, taking 42 places between them, leaving just five and three for Tanzania and Uganda respectively.

All of last year's entrants from Tanzania and Uganda retain their positions, while they are joined by Tanzania's National Microfinance Bank, in 16th position and valued at $304m. The bank, which is currently in the process of opening 15 new branches and doubling its cash machine network, is 34.9% owned by Dutch firm Rabobank, while the government of Tanzania holds a further 30% stake. It already has the biggest branch network in the country with 128 retail outlets.

Stanbic Bank Uganda, which is an offshoot of South Africa's Standard Bank, is Uganda's top-ranked company with market value of $434m, securing 11th position in our regional table. The bank's pre-tax profits for the first half of 2009 increased 46% to USh62.35bn ($30.34m) in comparison with the same period in 2008, demonstrating that some African firms were able to prosper even at the height of the global financial crisis.

East Africa's Top 50 companies

Regional  Rank  Company Name                        Country     Value
Rank      in                                                    ($m)

1         39      Safaricom                         Kenya       2,776

2         74      East African Breweries            Kenya       1,568

3         83      Mauritius Commercial Bank         Mauritius   1,374

4         100     State Bank of Mauritius           Mauritius   1,030

5         121     Barclays Bank Kenya               Kenya         884

6         127     Bamburi Cement                    Kenya         768

7         130     New Mauritius Hotels              Mauritius     742

8         147     Standard Chartered Bank (Kenya)   Kenya         608

9         150     Kenya Commercial Bank             Kenya         580

10        152     Equity Bank Kenya                 Kenya         573

11        185     Stanbic Bank Uganda               Uganda        434

12        190     Kenya Electricity Generating      Kenya         420

13        224     British American Tobacco Kenya    Kenya         311

14        226     Tanzania Breweries                Tanzania      308

15        228     Kenya Airways                     Kenya         305

16        230     National Microfinance Bank        Tanzania      304

17        250     Rogers & Company                  Mauritius     254

18        -       Sun Resorts                       Mauritius     231

19        -       Nation Media Group                Kenya         222

20        -       Tanzania Portland Cement Company  Tanzania      221

21        -       Mumias Sugar Co                   Kenya         181

22        -       Omnicane                          Mauritius     179

23        -       Harel Freres                      Mauritius     157

24        -       Kenya Power & Lighting            Kenya         156

25        -       Promotion & Development Co        Mauritius     148

26        -       Athi River Mining                 Kenya         139

27        -       Tanzania Cigarette Company        Tanzania      137

28        -       Diamond Trust Bank Kenya          Kenya         132

29        -       NIC Bank                          Kenya         126

30        -       National Investment Trust         Mauritius     120

31        -       Ireland Blyth                     Mauritius     115

32              - Naiade Resorts                    Mauritius     107

33              - Kenya Re Insurance                Kenya         107

34              - Shell Mauritius                   Mauritius     106

35              - National Bank of Kenya            Kenya         103

36              - East African Portland Cement      Kenya          95

37              - CFC Bank                          Kenya          86

38              - Tanga Cement Company Limited      Tanzania       83

39              - Jubilee Insurance Co              Kenya          83

40              - Mauritius Union Assurance         Mauritius      82

41              - Kenya Oil Co                      Kenya          81

42              - ICDC Investments Co               Kenya          81

43              - United Basalt Products            Mauritius      76

44              - CMC Holdings                      Kenya          74

45              - Fincorp Investments               Mauritius      69

46              - Total Kenya                       Kenya          69

47              - Gamma Civic                       Mauritius      68

48              - DFCU Group                        Uganda         63

49              - East African Cables               Kenya          62

50        -       Bank of Baroda Uganda             Uganda         61
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