Thursday May 15 2014

Umeme resumes trading on USE

Umeme workers carry one of the illegal power poles from the Polla-Plast

Umeme workers carry one of the illegal power poles from the Polla-Plast recycling plant. The power distributor has resumed trading after suspending activities for a week. FILE PHOTO 


Kampala- A total of 585,591,804 Umeme shares worth Shs199.1 billion were yesterday traded at the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) after the power distributor resumed trading, following a two-week voluntary suspension.

Another tranche of shares worth Shs15 billion were bought at the Nairobi Securities Exchange by both local and foreign institutional investors, bringing the value from institutional investors to Shs215 billion.

The power distributor suspended trading of its shares on May 6, to allow UK-based private equity firm Actis to dispose of a significant portion of its 60.08 per cent stake in Umeme through the stock market, without disrupting the price of the company’s shares at the bourse.

Speaking to the media minutes after the ceremonial bell ringing, Mr Patrick Mweheire, the lead transaction advisor at Stanbic Bank, said about 30 institutional investors had expressed interest to buy into Umeme but only 20 were allocated shares.

“We based on interest level, size of fund and longevity because we were looking for long term investors who have the ability to hang around with the company and support it for a long time,” Mr Mweheire said.
Although he declined to name the new institutional investors saying a list will be unveiled on Monday next week after the transaction is signed off, a reliable source who declined not to be named said the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) is among the funds that bought part of the 585.5 million shares.

NSSF already bought shares worth Shs52 billion in the Initial Public Offering when Umeme listed on the Exchange in November 2012, amidst criticism and protests from workers’ unions.
Institutional investors paid Shs340 per share, which is Shs20 lower than the Shs360 share price the stock traded on May 5, before it was suspended.

Mr Mweheire said about 37 million shares estimated at about Shs12 billion will be launched on Monday next week for retail investors to also buy a stake into the company while another piece will also be estimated at about Shs16 billion which will be availed for management and directors.

Umeme is the second company to voluntarily suspend trading of its shares after Dfcu, which suspended trading in April last year when the then company’s major shareholder, Commonwealth Development Corporation, moved to sell some of its shares to the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries and Rabo Development B.V.