Local firms shine at US awards fete

Co-op Bank MD Gideon Muriuki. The bank’s IPO last year received an award. Photo/FILE

The profile of the Nairobi Stock Exchange has been raised by the recent winning’s of listed firms at the Africa Investor Awards function held in New York.

Among them was Co-operative Bank of Kenya’s 2008 Initial Public Offering which was conducted at a time when the market was feeling the heat of depressed investor confidence.

“The awards were a show that our market has come of age and meets internationally accepted standards,” said Mr Eddie Njoroge, chairman of the bourse at a function on Friday.

The Africa Investor Series Awards assessed performance between April 2008 and April 2009.

They were based on the Ai100 and Ai40 indices that recognise and reward institutional investors, stock exchanges, stockbrokers and capital market regulators across the continent.

Kenyan and South African business leaders dominated the CEO categories with Mr James Mwangi of Equity Bank scooping the Ai100 CEO of the Year and Mr Jacko Maree the Ai40 CEO of the year.

Mr Hussein Manzi, CEO Bamburi Cement won the AiSRI50 CEO of the Year award.

The stockmarket in the course of last year suffered a blow when local retail investors backed out due to panic selling of shares.

This was further aggravated by the global financial crisis that also saw foreign investors keep away from the market.

In it’s offering Co-operative Bank raised Sh5.4 billion against the expected Sh10 billion.

The offer enhanced its capital base to Sh14.7 billion to enable it join the ranks of highly capitalised banks in the country.

The bank said it intends to expand regionally by opening up five branches in Southern Sudan adding that it was negotiating a strategic partnership with the co-operative movement in Uganda.

The NSE has of late exhibited marked growth that has been linked to the inflow of capital from foreign investors.

Partial return of local investors is also said to be up as the market looks at the prospect of full recovery by end of the year.