BK issues 200 million new shares

Bank of Kigali Group (BK Group Plc) yesterday officially launched its long-awaited rights issue and reiterated plans to trade shares on the Nairobi Stock Exchange.

Both moves are expected to increase the interest of foreign and domestic investors into the operations of Rwanda’s biggest lender.

The bank has started the process of selling 222.2 million new shares to its existing shareholders as it seeks to raise Rwf60 billion to finance its expansion strategy.

The Group’s existing shareholders are now eligible to apply for the new shares at a share price of Rwf270 in the ratio of one share to every three shares held. That’s a discount of 6.6 per cent to the stock’s last traded price of Rwf289.

The trading of the newly issued shares started at 9:00am on Monday and it will close on November 9, paving the way for the company to prepare cross-listing of its shares on Kenya’s Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).

This rights issue is the first of its kind for a public-listed company in Rwanda’s capital market.

“We are officially growing,” Diane Karusisi, the Bank’s Chief Executive said of their move to issue rights offer and to cross-list on Nairobi bourse, before adding that it was a momentous day in the bank’s history.

The rights issue is the bank’s second public equity raising initiative after the Initial Public Offering (IPO) seven years ago.

When BK went public in 2011, its IPO generated Rwf37.5 billion.

At the time, the share price stood at Rwf125.

Karusisi said raising investment capital from the public has enabled them to participate in some of Rwanda’s biggest projects, such as the construction of Marriott Hotel Kigali and the Kigali Convention Centre. 

By issuing rights offer to holders of ordinary shares and cross-listing, she added, they want to keep this trend, and mainly support their growth agenda as a bank and group.

“BK Group is raising capital in order to support its growth strategy by ensuring that its subsidiary companies – BK Capital, BK [General] Insurance, and BK TecHouse have enough capital to continue growing and serving our customers,” Karusisi noted.

The bank’s CEO said they are particularly going to Nairobi bourse with hope of “improving liquidity of our stock and being accessible to more investors”.

The company has been evaluating options to add value to its product portfolio, and had earlier this year announced that it was becoming an “investment” group after it rebranded.

Eric Bundugu, the Acting Executive Director of Rwanda’s Capital Market Authority (CMA), called BK’s decision to issue new shares as a demonstration of its “commitment to be part of Rwanda’s capital market development journey”.

He added that there was no doubt that this will increase the Group’s opportunities for product diversification as well as expansion of its investor base.

Bundugu used the moment to market the country’s 10-year master-plan for the development of domestic capital market in which they target to have 35 companies on the stock exchange by 2028.

The local stock exchange lists eight companies.

Rwanda Stock Exchange’s (RSE) Chief Executive, Celestin Rwabukumba, called the move a milestone for the company and praised the bank for positioning itself as the largest company not just in the local banking sector but in the entire business sector.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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