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CIMERWA obtains regulatory approval to list on stock exchange

CIMERWA PLC is set to list its shares on the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) next week on August 3, the company said in a press release.

The move is part of the strategy by the Government of Rwanda to cede its stake in the country’s largest cement manufacturing firm. Other shareholders have also expressed interest in exiting from the business.

 

Government through Agaciro Development Fund alongside Rwanda Social Security Board, Rwanda Investment Group and Sonarwa Holdings Ltd own a combined stake of 49 per cent in the company.

 

With each share trading at Rwf120, the above shareholders plan to raise a combined Rwf41.3 billion by selling their 344,575,560 shares.

 

The remaining 51 per cent or 358,643,960 shares, owned by South Africa’s Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), will be listed on the RSE but won’t be traded.

Cimerwa joins nine other firms listed on the local bourse.

Albert Sigei, Cimerwa’s CEO, explained that the development is an opportunity for investors to gain exposure to the attractive cement industry with solid growth potential.

“The listing will further encourage the drive towards the building of a stronger capital market base. We are excited with the opportunity to bring on board a wider pool of retail and institutional investors, both local and international, to participate in the ownership of CIMERWA,” Sigei asserted.

With the capacity to produce 600,000 tonnes per annum, last year CIMERWA posted a net profit of Rwf3.4 billion.

Listing in the times of the pandemic

Although business activity is slowly picking up after the government lifted its Covid-19 restrictions, analysts say that the local bourse is still vulnerable.

Globally, investor confidence in equity stocks is low, with most of them favouring government bonds and treasury bills given their low risk profile.

Celestin Rwabukumba, the Chief Executive Officer of RSE, said earlier that some foreign investors were selling off their investments in emerging markets with others opting to shift their money to bonds.

“There has been activity in the fixed income segment, while in the equity market there have also been trades but not as much,” he said.  

Going forward, he explained, it will depend on how this pandemic behaves and how fast economic activities pick up.

However, with the construction boom in Rwanda driving up demand for cement, as the government builds more roads, schools and upgrades the airport, Rwabukumba says CIMERWA is an attractive investment proposition.

Data from the RSE shows that equity turnover on the Rwandan bourse for the first six months declined by 84.72 per cent to Rwf384.94 million ($398,813) compared with Rwf2.51 billion ($2.6 million) in the same period last year.

The volume of shares traded fell by 58.15 per cent to 4.92 million, from 11.76 million shares in the same period last year.

However, bond turnover more than doubled to Rwf12.24 billion ($12.68 million) from Rwf5.95 billion ($6.16 million.

Since the first case of coronavirus infection was reported in the country, on March 16, to June 16, equity turnover on the RSE declined by 96.48 per cent from Rwf1.38 billion ($1.42 million) to Rwf48.49 million ($50,237).

The volume of shares traded declined by 89.56 per cent to 597,500 from 5.72 million in the same period.

However, bond turnover increased 93.01 per cent to Rwf3.57 billion ($3.69 million) from Rwf1.85 billion ($1.91 million) and the volume of bonds traded rose by 93.44 percent, from 1.78 billion to 3.46 billion.

Regis Rugemanshuro, CIMERWA’s Board Chairman expressed confidence that CIMERWA remains a strongly attractive investment opportunity considering the fundamentals of Rwanda as a country and the cement industry in particular.

“The timing is right. This transaction will create opportunities for private investors, and the Government will become a neutral player in a sector whose potential is yet to be fully exploited,” he said.

There could not be a better avenue of achieving this objective than listing at the RSE, he added.

With Rwanda having about 57kg per capita cement consumption annually, Rugemanshuro pointed out, “we have just but only scratched the surface on the huge long-term potential in the cement industry.”

eashimwe@newtimesrwanda.com

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