Rwanda government transfers more shares to Agaciro

Tuesday November 6 2018

Agaciro

Rwanda’s wealth fund, which was launched in 2012, has reported strong growth in assets. PHOTO| FILE 

By KABONA ESIARA
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The transfer of government-owned shares in 27 companies to Agaciro, Rwanda’s sovereign wealth fund, has significantly boosted its assets.

Agaciro will now play a bigger role in budgetary funding at a time when the government is grappling with growing external debt and budget deficits, and dwindling donor funds.

The EastAfrican understands that the government has already transferred its Bank of Kigali stake, increasing the value of the Agaciro Fund to $120 million (Rwf137 billion), from $58.8 million (Rwf51.5 billion).

The government transferred 198,534,600 shares before the rights issue by Bank of Kigali, and another 26 enterprises are lined up to be transferred.

The government owned a 29.5 per cent stake in Bank of Kigali valued at Rwf57.5 billion ($66 million) as of December 2017. The bank’s share price on Rwanda Stock Exchange averages Rwf290 ($0.33) per share.

The EastAfrican, however, could not establish the exact value of the other 26 companies to be transferred.

“The legal processes are yet to be completed and, for some companies, the other shareholders need to agree to the wishes of the government,” said Jack Kayonga, Agaciro chief executive.

“Transferring government assets is not a simple decision. The important thing is that it’s happening, and we are going to make sure it’s a good decision.”

Part of the mandate of Agaciro is to mobilise funds to protect the economy from external shocks. The fund invests a large percentage of the funds in Treasury bonds, term deposits and equity.

Mr Kayonga also said a report on the returns the fund has generated during the financial year 2017/2018 was not ready.

He said consolidating government assets and leveraging them is a global trend that Rwanda is emulating.

“The government is able to concentrate on policy, and less on commercial activities. In most cases, where the government is a shareholder, it is usually passive. When you give the assets to the fund, then you give shareholders a bigger role in making the business more profitable,” he said.

The government’s 12 per cent stake in Cimerwa, the largest cement maker in Rwanda, Guarantee Trust Bank Rwanda, the Rwanda Stock Exchange, rice factories and tea factories are reportedly lined up for transfer to Agaciro.

Analysts say the government has been encouraged to grow the value of the fund following the strong results it has been posting.

Last financial year, the managers of Agaciro announced that they would buy World Vu Satellites in partnership with the Rwandan government and the Rwanda Social Security Board.

Agaciro had budgeted $10 million in World Vu Satellites Ltd, a company that manufactures, launches and operates low earth orbit satellites to provide Internet and telecommunication services.

Meanwhile, Bank of Kigali stock will start trading on the Nairobi Securities Exchange on November 30, after getting regulatory approval from Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority.

According to Renaissance Capital, the lead transaction advisors, cross-listing the Bank of Kigali on the NSE is aimed at diversifying the shareholder base and boosting the liquidity of the stock.

The Bank of Kigali has gone back to the market to raise $70 million (Rwf60 billion) in fresh capital to finance its core banking business and meet the tough regulatory capital adequacy requirements through a rights issue.

The bank is issuing 222,222,222 shares at a ratio of three ordinary shares for an additional one at Rwf270 ($0.3) each, a subsidised share price to protect existing shareholdings from getting diluted.

Part of the capital will be injected into its subsidiaries — BK Capital, a stock brokerage firm, BK General Insurance and BK Techous, a technology firm.