NAIROBI - Centum Investment plans to cross-list on the Uganda Stock Exchange and thereafter on the Rwanda Over the Counter Market, as it seeks to build investor goodwill in a market where the firm intends to make acquisitions.
The company hopes to expand its interests in Uganda, eyeing returns that will be spurred by oil discovery.
The firm has already invested in Uganda’s property market.
“We will be active in Uganda because it offers us the best opportunities in the region. We are cross-listing because we want to expand our shareholder base to be more reflective of our East African identity,” said company managing director James Mworia.
The firm aims to cross list in Tanzania and Rwanda after the Uganda deal. The move will make Centum the sixth Kenyan company to list on the stock exchanges of the three East African companies.
Kenya Airways, East African Breweries, Kenya Commercial Bank, Equity Bank and Jubilee Insurance are listed on the bourses. Besides making shares of the companies accessible across the region, the regional listings have been mainly driven by market considerations.
They make the companies home grown. CFC Stanbic Financial Services managing director Chris Mwebesa, says the cross-listing will endear the companies to the authorities in Uganda, which is likely to enhance its chances of getting approvals to any new investments.
“Cross-listing will enhance Centum’s appeal to regulatory authority in Uganda when seeking to make new investments in sectors considered guarded in that economy,” Mr Mwebesa said. The discovery of oil in Uganda has spurred investor interest in the country.
Investment in Uganda is expected to nearly double this year to $3 billion (Sh225 billion) compared to last year, thanks to growing foreign interest in oil, said the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA).
“Uganda’s economic potential is expanding very fast. We’re witnessing a huge rise in interest from foreign investors in our economy, and oil is driving a lot of this interest,” said UIA.