PRECISION AIRS SHARES ON SALE AS OF FRIDAY
The long awaited IPO of Precision Air will finally go underway this Friday, when nearly 59 million ordinary shares will be floated, expected to be bringing in some 28 billion Tanzania Shillings. The capital raised is expected to help finance the airlines ambitious fleet development plans but also boost the working capital structure itself, a sound choice which surely will be reflected in future balance sheets.
Principal owners Michael Shirima and Kenya Airways will see their respective shareholdings of 51 and 49 percent reduce considerably in the process which hopes to attract institutional and individual shareholders from across Tanzania. There is some speculation that even government may invest in shares, although this would contradict official policy towards keeping ailing Air Tanzania flying, but would nevertheless be a sounder decision than pouring endless amounts of money into a national airline which has one plane and lost all market share, while suffering from crippling debts.
Shares will sell at a minimum package of 200 per applicant for 475 Tanzania Shillings each and the process is due to last until the end of October. It is expected that the offer will be oversubscribed as it is the first such opportunity for the Tanzanian financial market to acquire ownership in the countrys most successful airline.
Archive for October 5th, 2011
PRECISION AIRS SHARES ON SALE AS OF FRIDAY
KITILI MBATHI APPOINTED KENYA TOURIST BOARD CHAIRMAN
Well known banker, and during his successful time in Uganda as CEO of Stanbic Bank a close acquaintance of this correspondent, Kitili Mbathi was yesterday afternoon introduced to the public as the new Chairman of the Kenya Tourist Board by Najib Balala, Minister of Tourism in the Kenya government.
Kitili succeeds Michael Joseph, who prematurely left this appointment within half a year after bagging a highly lucrative World Bank appointment, leaving KTB in the proverbial lurch.
KTB more recently also saw new board members being introduced, beefing up competence at board level, and some of the new faces like Serenas CEO Mahmud Janmohamed, Mombasa Air Safaris CEO Capt. Johnny Cleave and widely respected audit guru Abdul Samji from Mombasa are likely to bring a fresh wind and professional perspectives to the organization during their term of office, fully understanding what it takes to market Kenyas attractions abroad.
Kitilis appointment comes at a trying time for Kenya tourism, suffering of negative publicity over the abduction of two foreigners from remoter parts of the coast far away from the mainstream tourism resorts of Malindi and Mombasa but it will take a combined effort of persuading the overseas tour operators that security measures now finally taken will stick and not sizzle out all too soon, before the Somali situation has been brought under control.
From this correspondent it is a warm welcome to Kitili on his new appointment and all the best to him and his colleagues in turning Kenyas tourism industry into the best performing economic sector in coming years.
Tanzania breaking news – Somali pirates arrested off Mafia Island while attacking an oil exploration ship
TANZANIAN NAVY UNITS CAPTURE PIRATES NEAR MAFIA ISLAND
These fellows are getting more daring by the day now and we are really worried that there are militants amongst them who might try to do something similar here like they did in Kenya was the comment of a regular source when asked to give a perspective on breaking news of pirates being captured a short distance away from Mafia Island yesterday night.
An oil prospecting vessel was attacked by a group of at least 7 ocean terrorists of Somali origin but when the attack was radioed in the Tanzanian navy units in the area immediately deployed to intercept the pirates. Upon closing in on the pirates a fire fight reportedly ensued before the navy personnel overpowered them and took them into custody. They are expected to be interrogated by Tanzanian security in the morning before being produced in court where they will be charged with piracy, illegal entry to Tanzania, armed robber, illegal possession of firearms and a range of other charges, likely to include terrorism.
Tanzania has been benefitting of a very recent joint training exercise organized by SADC, which has been beefing up capabilities to fight ocean terrorism after the Somalis had reportedly expanded their radius all the way to the Mozambique coastline. Tanzania also recently held talks with the Seychelles towards joint responses, training and security cooperation, as the Seychelles have in the past taken the lead to robustly respond to piracy and ocean terror, recognized there as a matter of national security.
This development comes hot on the heels of abductions of foreign nationals from remote Kenyan beach resorts and the tourism fraternity has called upon the Tanzanian government to step up security and surveillance from Pemba to Zanzibar to Mafia Island and all along the coastal strip to protect beach resorts, tourists and wananchi.
As reported here a while ago it was the vigilance of fishing communities which had led to the arrest of pirates before, who when making landfall to replenish water and food were caught in the process. However, in ever more daring ways are the Somalis now penetrating further into the Indian Ocean and further South than ever before and this is now raising the stakes that Islamic militant groups linked to Al Shabab could use a new strategy to widen their area of operation and starting to strike at tourism targets and other economic and infrastructural assets, doing the bidding of their Al Qaida masters.
Subsequently have calls intensified to resolutely attack Al Shabab strongholds in Somalia while also denying pirates safe haven on land, implementing a full sea and air embargo on Somalia and beefing up the troop levels of the African Union force to expand operations. This however may call for a change in mandate from a peace keeping mission, a misnomer in any case, to allow for offensive operations until peace has been restored in Somali, a representative government installed and a major reconstruction effort can bring back economic activity and inject some level of prosperity back to the country divided by civil war and strife since the overthrow of the Siad Barre regime in 1991. Watch this space.
CANCELLATIONS SEE LAMU TOURISM TAKE A BIG HIT
Information received from sources in Kenya speak of a wave of cancellations for beach resorts in and around Lamu, arguably accelerated by a directive from the tourism ministry not to close establishments even when occupancies drop to near zero, which sent further jitters down the spine of both the tourism industry and potential clientele.
Airlines flying to Lamu on scheduled services from Nairobis Wilson Airport and operating charters from Mombasa and Malindi have also been watching the developments with apprehension. While the global media hounds are presently still flocking to Lamu, the airlines do depend on a regular flow of tourists and with this gone they will have to take a close look at both aircraft size and the number of flights they can viably operate, thus expanding the fallout of the two abductions from the hospitality sector to the aviation industry. Tour operators in Mombasa are also seeing a massive drop in demand for day visits to Lamu following the wide publicity the travel embargoes by diplomatic missions in Nairobi have received, a trend aided by clauses in travel insurance packages that trips to such places might not be covered under the insurance policy and might in fact void it altogether.
Major layoffs are now looming on the horizon for resorts in and around Lamu, as well as for those further south along the coast but remotely located over fears that more abductions could be planned by militants in Somalia, if not worse. Such cowardly action is aimed to hit Kenyas thriving tourism industry in a proxy retaliation against Kenyas support on many levels for the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu and their determined fight against Islamic militancy in the region.
Stakeholders in the meantime are fairly united in their reaction laying the blame on the doorstep of government and citing complacency and sleeping dogs for the second abduction right under the nose of a major Kenyan naval base in Lamu. Said one source: It speaks volumes for the security on that base, what if Al Shabab had sent suicide bombers there, what then? Did they have perimeter patrols on the water, and if so why did those not spot these criminals making their way ashore and running off. Our government is only good cracking down on political dissent but when it comes to regular security they fail us big time. This is the biggest challenge to us in Kenya from Somalia since the Shifta War in the 60s and it is aimed directly at the most productive economic sector, tourism. It is time to change tunes and help the African Union in Somalia to bring peace to that unfortunate country and finish the militants or we will never have peace here.
Watch this space for future relevant updates on this ongoing story while our thoughts continue to be with the two abducted women, their families and friends.
KENYAN MINISTERS REMARKS ON SOUTH SUDAN / UGANDA BAFFLE OBSERVERS
Sources from both South Sudan and Ugandas political establishment have expressed their consternation with remarks made by Kenyas Lands Minister James Orengo before his parliamentary committee on defense and foreign relations, when he mentioned the two countries in the same context of border violations by Somalia. Claims that the respective borders were under threat will very likely prompt intense diplomatic activity in coming days as South Sudan and Uganda will be seeking clarification from the Kenyan government how they can be mentioned in the same breath as Somalia, which by all standards is a failed state with the breakaway regions of Puntland and Somaliland attempting to gain recognition as separate states while the rest of the country is ruled by the guns of militias and clans. Regular border violations by militias along the common border between Somalia and Kenya have been reported in recent months and two high profile abductions of foreigners by suspected Al Shabab militants have raised the possibility of Kenya sanctioning hot pursuit by security forces across the border, to find and hopefully free the hostages and to create a forward defense line. However, while that is understood in the region, the minister is now coming under fire for his ill considered remarks to mention South Sudan and Uganda in the Somali context, questioning just how fit he is to be a member of the Kenya government. Said a source at Ugandas foreign ministry on condition of not being named: If this report is true, and we have heard rumours about such statements, our High Commissioner would seek clarification from the Kenya government on the substance of it and only then can it be considered about our reaction. But if it were true it would also be very regrettable as Uganda has very friendly relations with Kenya and we pose no threat to any of the borders of our neighbours. There is the small issue about Migingo island in Lake Victoria and verification is going on as to the exact border line which we both inherited from the British and where demarcation is a bit difficult.
Ever heard of watch your mouth or think before you speak Bwana Minister? Not your finest hour says yours truly from across the border in Uganda.
CUSTOMS QUARRELS AT BORDER HALT IMPORTS AND EXPORTS
Truck drivers at the border between Uganda and Kenya at Malaba have gone on strike and blocked traffic yesterday, halting the flow of goods between the two countries. According to reports the drivers were incensed by what they call arbitrary decisions by the Uganda Revenue Authority to impound trucks and fine drivers. The border post has in the past seen similar action, mostly over the physical state of the parking yards and facilities but also over alleged mishandling and corrupt practices by customs officials.
The East African Community has been promoting one stop border clearance and the business community has for long harboured hopes that with the onset of the zero rating of internal duty rates for goods manufactured within the EAC the internal borders could eventually come down but a range of non tariff barriers and disputes over the level of imported inputs in goods produced in East Africa have pushed this dream time and again into a distant future.
It could not be ascertained at the time of going to press for how long the drivers action will continue but it is understood that the police presence on both sides of the border had been stepped up to avoid any rowdy scenes develop which could impact on other road transport. Dozens of busses and hundreds of passenger cars are crossing the border on a daily basis at Malaba with the other major crossing point being at Busia, from where no such problems have been reported.