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Raise a glass in celebration

By Gemma Ware
Posted on Friday, 25 March 2011 11:37

An IPO on Kigali’s stock exchange brings good news for Rwandan companies looking for foreign capital.

A brewery IPO on Kigali’s young stock exchange is an indicator of the promise of upcoming banking and telecom listings. The initial public offering of Brasseries et Limonaderies du Rwanda (Bralirwa) in January brought in $29.5m as the government sold its 25% stake.

The $10m tranche of shares open to international institutional investors was five times oversubscribed. Local retail investors and East African retail and institutional investors snapped up the rest to put their money behind a successful local brand.

The IPO marks the transformation of the former over-the-counter market into a full stock exchange; Bralirwa joins two Kenyan companies: Kenya Commercial Bank and the Nation Media Group.

“This was a big first step in allowing a Rwandan company to get access to foreign capital,” says Patrick Mweheire, head of investment banking for Africa at Renaissance Capital, the Russian-owned investment bank and adviser on the transaction. “It allows Rwandan companies access to liquidity locally as well as regionally.”?

Two more Rwanda IPOs are slated: the first, the Bank of Kigali, which wants to raise money to fund its growth. A second, more complex listing is expected from MTN Rwanda, which is 45% owned by Crystal Ventures, a Rwandan private equity firm with close links to the government.

This article was first published in the March 2011 edition of The Africa Report.

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