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Doing The Unthinkable: Rwanda To List Cement Manufacturer On Stock Exchange Despite #COVID-19 Crisis

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The #COVID-19 pandemic has delivered devastating effects in several sectors of the global economy, and Rwanda is no exception, but the country may provide future lessons on how it managed to cushion her capital market.

Located in Rwanda’s business district of Kigali City, Africa’s newest capital market through its young stock exchange, the RSE has provided the investing community with a new picture of how the capital market ecosystem is likely to evolve in the post #COVID-19 pandemic.

Analysts consider the traditional capital market as archaic, chaotic, noisy and prone to votalities.

However, Rwanda’s capital market founded on a strong soft and hard infrastructure, pristine, forward-looking aspirations and riding on the country’s resilience appears to have survived a crash in this difficult period. However, some industry experts say this is a pretentious and premature conclusion because “we are nowhere close to the end of the pandemic.”

Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) is preparing for listing of a first cement maker, Cimerwa Ltd, under the most challenging operating environment that saw Rwanda’s economy go into a total lockdown.

On March 21, 2020, Rwanda went into a total strategic lockdown.

Several sectors of Rwanda’s services economy took a direct hit in a bid to flatten the curve of the spread of #COVID-19.

It is instrumental to note that Rwanda’s action against the pandemic was considered one of the most austere in Africa and in the same stance as China, S. Korea, Estonia, Slovakia and a few others.

At the time of announcing the lockdown, Cimerwa Ltd listing transaction teams were getting ready to execute their plan. Despite the sudden disruption due to the pandemic, everything rolled down as planned.

Taarifa has learned from sources within the industry and government officials familiar with the matter that the deal was meticulously planned and successfully executed.

Cimerwa Ltd, located in Bugarama, Rusizi district, South-Western border of Rwanda, is the country’s largest and only integrated cement maker.

The government of Rwanda owns 16.55% stake through its sovereign wealth fund, the Agaciro Development Trust Fund (AGDF) Corporate Trust.

Under strict terms of confidentiality Taarifa has seen an information memorandum  for the deal which indicates that in September 2019, Cimerwa Ltd had revenues of US$62 million and net income of US$3.2 million.

The company produces the clinker concentrate, packs and sells cement for general and civil construction. In the past 20 years, Cimerwa Ltd emerged as the most dominant cement maker in the market and a major catalyst of the country’s ongoing construction boom.

The information memorandum  for the deal also states that some of its products are exported to neighboring countries such as the DR Congo and Burundi.

Cimerwa Ltd production plant has an installed capacity of 600,000 tons per annum with a current 80% utilization.

The deal provides an opportunity for the government of Rwanda to offload its 15.66% stake for sale held by AGDF Corporate Trust in the company to the public through a listing on the RSE.

Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB), Rwanda Investment Group (RIG) and Sonarwa Holdings Ltd are also offering their shares in Cimerwa Ltd worth a combined 33.64% for sale in the same deal.

Technically known as “listing by introduction” the Cimerwa Ltd transaction is a first of its kind in Rwanda apart from the dual listings that have come from the region.

According to deal makers, the transaction is meant to make it possible for other firms to access the local capital market due to its affordability pricing model, cost effectiveness and simplified processes.

The deal now seems to offer Rwanda and the global investing community with how the future  of  capital  markets  will most likely operate in the post coronavirus economy.

According to the information memorandum  for  the deal, the total number of shares on offer  in the transaction  constitutes up to 49 % of the issued share capital of Cimerwa Ltd.

“It is a done deal dusted and delivered despite the vagaries of the #COVID-19 pandemic,” said one of the lead transaction advisers working for the deal while preferring to remain anonymous.

The planned listing of Cimerwa Ltd at the RSE is happening at a time when #COVID-19 continues to hit the regional capital market for the last 3 months.

Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) emerged as the biggest casualty. Its main index in mid-March hit a 17-year low.

Statistics indicate that the pandemic cut shareholder’s wealth by more than US$700 million in just a month at the Kenyan bourse.

Analysts argue that the sell-off is part of a global trend as investors dump stocks. Ugandan and Tanzanian bourses faced similar unforgiving wraths.

Under this disruption and in total defiance of odds staked against it, Rwanda’s stock market showed resilience not only in East Africa, but globally, despite its size.

It has remained stable.

Experts say that it even performed better in some indicators compared to the same time last year.

Its traded volumes doubled in the first quarter of the year 2020 compared to same period last year.

Despite its small size, Rwanda’s capital market traded about US$10 million between January 3, 2020 and March 18, 2020, compared to about US$5 million traded between January 3, 2019 and March 29, 2019.

For the same periods, its primary market registered about US$125 million , up from  US$35 million.

“Our situation was more of stability than volatility. Actually our market has been on an upward trend gaining in some indices,” Celestin Rwabukumba, the RSE CEO says.

Currently, RSE statistics indicate that the All Share Index (ASLI) was up by 10.58 % while the Rwanda Share Index (RSI) went down 1.5% at the end of Quarter 1, 2020 and the total market capitalization was up 10%.

From the first case of the pandemic in Rwanda, the ASLI went slightly up 0.01% while the RSI went slightly up by 0.11% one month down the road.  .

Rwabukumba explained to Taarifa how Rwanda’s capital market is able to stay stable in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The RSE is indeed a unique operation. It is Africa’s newest and perhaps one of most agile and prone to adapting to abrupt and today’s far reaching disruptions. It is no surprise as it was built on the bed-rock of Rwanda’s resilience and ability to survive on limited resources and increasing need for innovation,” he said.

Rwabukumba brief and guarded statement reveals something much more advanced and futuristic.

Unlike other securities exchanges of the region, Taarifa’s investigation can confirm that the RSE is run by a lean core staff of less than 10, currently mostly working from home.

Licensed stock brokers at the floor of the RSE are known to be orderly, 90% automated, disciplined and less menacing than their counterparts in Nairobi, Kampala or Dar es Salaam. This form of agility provides a unique insight into how the future holds for global stock market.

Simply, the RSE is perhaps the only securities exchange in the world that was able to fit in with the disruptions to the new conditions of working from home occasioned by global efforts aimed at curbing the spread of the #COVID-19.

The Rwanda government, perhaps reading from this unique opportunity at the RSE, jumped in and quickly hired a transaction team to prepare Cimerwa Ltd for listing by way of introduction.

“This transaction is unique in a number of ways. It is meant to be finalized by end April 2020 even as the world is grappling with challenges of the coronavirus pandemic,” Jack Kayonga outgoing CEO of AGDF Corporate Trust is on record as telling the gathered transaction team early this year.

The first kick off meeting held at Cimerwa Ltd Headquarters in Kimihurura in Gasabo district and the second meeting that was held at AGDF Corporate Trust Headquarters in Nyarugenge district served to be the only meetings that physically brought the teams together.

Subsequent meetings were carried out online in strict observation of the newly imposed lockdown rules.

Within five weeks, the price discovery process for Cimerwa Ltd stocks was successfully done.

The requisite approvals from Cimerwa board of directors for major elements of the transaction were swiftly approved according to Cimerwa Ltd CEO, Albert Sigei.

“So much was at stake at Cimerwa Ltd in the year 2020 and the transaction provided the impetus we needed to facilitate its smooth transition from private to listed firm. It is quite refreshing that the listing process has gone according to plan and all is set for its listing by way of introduction.”

Despite carrying out all the preparatory process to detail, the execution of the actual listing process awaits the ultimate press on the button.

The CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Clare Akamanzi says that government continues to monitor the situation before a green light is given.

“The plan was to list Cimerwa Ltd in April 2020. We however are watching and weighing our options to make further decisions when it will be necessary,” Akamanzi told The East African.

She also told Taarifa that the listing will eventually take place after #COVID-19 pandemic eases adding that,” while Rwanda is convinced all is set on its side, with nothing to worry about, however, it is cognizant that investors are focused on #COVID-19, so  this is not best timing.”

While Rwanda’s stock market is tiny in comparison to her neighbors, those watching closely can confidently say that it is indeed providing a playbook and insight into the future mechanics in case capital market plummets again around the of the world.

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Ecobank Transnational Incorporated Lists On LSE For US$350M

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Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (“ETI”), the Lomé based parent company of the Ecobank Group (www.Ecobank.com), was hosted today by the London Stock Exchange for a market opening virtual ceremony to celebrate the successful listing of the Tier 2 Sustainability Notes on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) main market.

This represents the first ever Tier 2 Sustainability Notes by a financial institution in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This Tier 2 issuance is the first to have a Basel III-compliant 10NC5 structure outside of South Africa in 144A/RegS format and is now listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.

The bond, which matures in June 2031, has a call option in June 2026 and was issued with a coupon of 8.75% with interest payable semi-annually in arrears.

An equivalent amount of the net proceeds from the notes will be used by ETI to finance or re-finance, new or existing eligible assets as described in ETI’s Sustainable Finance Framework, available at https://bit.ly/3j4xrlb on which DNV issued a Second Party Opinion.

Investor interest for this Sophomore Eurobond issue was global, including United Kingdom, United States, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, achieving a 3.6x oversubscribed orderbook, of over US$1.3 billion at its peak.

Ade Ayeyemi, Group Chief Executive Officer of ETI, stated: “The strong global interest in our issuance reflects investors’ confidence in Ecobank’s strategy and our commitment to sustainable financing. We thank the LSE for hosting ETI today and look forward to value creation for all our stakeholders. ”

The Joint Lead Managers and Bookrunners in the transaction were Citi, Mashreq, Renaissance Capital and Standard Chartered Bank.

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Botswana Finds Another Diamond Larger than 1000ct

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Botswana has delivered another diamond at 1 174.76 ct from Karowe mine a producer of high-quality rough diamonds.

It is the third diamond weighing more than 1,000 ct to be recovered from the South Lobe of the AK6 kimberlite since 2015.

In recent years, Lucara had recovered the 1,758 ct Sewelô and the 1,109 ct Lesedi La Rona diamonds from the South Lobe.

Lucara’s latest find also follows hot on the heels of the recovery of a 1,098 ct diamond by Debswana at its Jwaneng mine, in Botswana.

When Debswana announced the find on June 16, that diamond was said to be the world’s third-largest.

The 3,106 ct Cullinan diamond recovered in South Africa in 1905 is the largest diamond ever to be recovered.

“Lucara is delighted to be reporting another historic diamond recovery and its third diamond over 1,000 ct – a world record for Karowe.

“Although complex, these diamond recoveries do contain large domains of top-colour white gems that will be transformed through our partnership with HB Antwerp into valuable collections of top-colour polished diamonds, very much in high demand in the market today,” comments Lucara CEO Eira Thomas.

Lucara notes that the 1,174 ct diamond was recovered in the Mega Diamond Recovery XRT circuit at Karowe.

“On the same production day, several other diamonds of similar appearance – a 471 ct, a 218 ct and a 159 ct – were recovered at the main XRT circuit, indicating the 1,174 ct diamond was part of a larger diamond with an estimated weight of more than 2,000 ct,” the company points out.

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Swiss Glencore Plc Hints On Reopening Idle Cobalt Mine In DRC

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Glencore Plc could reopen its Mutanda Mining copper and cobalt project in Democratic Republic of Congo by the end of 2021, about two years after idling the mine.

Congo’s new mines minister, Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi met with representatives from the Swiss company Monday to discuss the restart of the mine, which closed in November 2019, the ministry said in a statement sent to reporters.

Mutanda “will start the commissioning of operations towards the end of this year in order to allow the return to production in 2022,” Glencore said in a separate emailed statement.

A reopening of Mutanda, one of the world’s biggest cobalt mines, comes when there’s renewed demand for battery metals as automakers focus on metal-intensive electric vehicles and global economies shift away from fossil fuels in favor of cleaner technologies that use electricity for energy.

Cobalt and copper are key metals in that transition.

Glencore said in August 2019 that it would close the mine for two years to carry out care and maintenance after prices of cobalt slumped.

Mutanda was responsible for a fifth of global cobalt production in 2018, according to Darton Commodities Ltd., a U.K.-based firm that specializes in the metal.

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