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Banks and Safaricom to widen NSE dominance

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Banks and Safaricom to widen NSE dominance

Stock traders on NSE trading floor
Stock traders on NSE trading floor. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Banks and Safaricom will make up almost the entire market capitalisation and earnings at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) over the next two years, as other sectors of Kenya’s equity market fail to keep up with their growth.

Egyptian investment firm EFG Hermes Holding estimates that earnings by banks will rise further in 2020 to rival Safaricom’s growth while other sectors like utility and energy will continue to shrink and cement disappear from top earners.

In terms of market capitalisation, Safaricom at Sh1.262 trillion and banks at Sh823.4 billion make up 81.85 percent of the Sh2.548 trillion market.

Banks that have gained share price following the removal of the interest rates cap in November last year still have potential for growth in their valuations, according to EFG Hermes.

“Following the recent reversal in rate caps, for our universe of banks, we estimate a higher earnings compounded annual growth rate of 17.1 percent, with Return on equity (ROE) set to improve from 17.9 percent to 21.6 percent between 2019 and 2024,” EFG Hermes said in its 2020 yearbook.

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Banks, the firm said, will be driven by 19.2 percent growth in loan books over the next five years and an 8.4 percent increase in net interest margins by 2023.

Equity Bank rallied from Sh36 in October 2019 to Sh54 this month while KCB rose from Sh41.4 to Sh53.5, Cooperative gained from Sh12 to Sh16.6.

Safaricom ended 2019 with an annual capitalisation gain of 42 percent, backed by higher profitability and dividends that saw foreign investors pump money into the stock.

Cement, which was a significant earner in 2015 sunk into negative territory and has been unable to recover.

Athi River Mining became insolvent and is being sold off to private producer Devki Group, while East Africa Portland Cement is struggling with liquidity issues and operating at 20 percent capacity and a mountain of debt.

Bamburi Cement issued a profit warning on the back of lower cement consumption especially as state led infrastructure projects tapper off on completion of the second phase of the Standard Gauge Railway and real estate market slows down.

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