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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Standard Group Shares Rise upon listing at Main Segment

Standard Group shares rise
By Kimathi Njoka

Standard Group’s 65 million shares have commenced trading on the main market segment of the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE).
The listing on the Group shares brings to 45 the number of companies listed on the Main Investment Market Segment (Mims) at the bourse.
The development follows the transfer of the Group’s 65 million shares from the Alternative Investment Market Segment (Aims) to the Mims at the bourse yesterday.
On its debut, the Standard Group shares traded at an improved price of Sh69 on a volume of 22,351 shares compared to sh68.50 in 14,639 shares traded on Monday.
The Group’s Deputy Chairman and Strategy Adviser, Mr Paul Melly, said the transfer to Mims is expected to boost the profile of the Group and enhance shareholder value. "The listing on the Mims will see an appreciation of the shareholders investment," said Melly.
NSE chairman, Mr Jimnah Mbaru, said that the listing of Group’s shares on the Mims now makes the stock appealing even to international investors.
Aims is the market segment for growing companies, which temporarily might not have the higher capitalisation and net asset requirements of the main market segment.
To list on the Mims, companies are required to have a minimum share capital of Sh50 million, net asset of Sh100 million, a five-year track record of making profits, public shareholding of at least 25 per cent and minimum of 1,000 shareholders. The Group has so far met all these requirements.
Over the last four years, the Group has recorded impressive growth in turnover and profitability.
This follows a significant transformation of the group’s operations that saw the company return a record Sh241 million in profit before tax for the financial year ended September 30, last year.
The un-audited Group results released last October showed that earnings surged by 104 per cent, doubling the Sh118 million registered over a similar period the previous year.
The Group Chief Operating Officer, Mr Paul Wanyagah, attributed the strong performance to improved corporate efficiency, reorganised management and sustained operating costs control.
Turnover rose by 16 per cent to Sh2.3 billion from Sh1.9 billion over the same period in 2005. Earnings per share doubled from Sh1.80 to Sh3.70 per share. A bonus issue of one share for every eight shares held was also declared.
Meanwhile, the Group will make major investments in upgrading its broadcasting infrastructure, to bolster its competitiveness.
The Group boasts an array of major brands in its stable including The Standard, The Saturday Standard, The Sunday Standard, Publishers Distribution Services (PDS) and Kenya’s premier TV Station, KTN.
Mbaru commended the Group’s coverage of business news, saying that the media house was on the right track.

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