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Cement firm makes quiet return to the NSE after suspension

Apr, 13 2012

The East Africa Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) counter recorded nil trading on Thursday following the lifting of a two-month suspension of the firm’s shares from the bourse.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) halted trading of the cement maker’s shares after reports emerged that acting Industrialisation minister Amason Kingi had fired the cement maker’s managing director and the entire board of directors.

Two weeks later, on January 17, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) imposed a 60-day suspension of trading of the company’s shares that ended on Wednesday.

Equity analysts on Thursday attributed the lack of activity on the counter to the small float of shares available for trading at the bourse, adding that investors were not sure of what effect the board wrangles had on the company’s operations.

“We might not see much activity on that share for some time,” said Mr George Bodo, an equity analyst at ApexAfrica Capital.

EAPCC’s peers in the construction and allied sector of the bourse includes four other counters; Athi River Mining which has a 32 per cent free float, East African Cables with 26 per cent, Crown Berger with 25 per cent and Bamburi Cement with 11 per cent.

The last time EAPCC’s shares traded was on December 22, when 100 shares changed hands at Sh56 each. Prior to that, 200 shares had changed hands on December 20 at Sh54.50 each.

Lifting of suspension

Data from the NSE indicates that only 3,000 shares changed hands during the month.

“It is tough to tell whether it will go up or down during the first trade but investors did not rush to sell after lifting of the suspension,” said Francis Mwangi, an analyst with Standard Investment Bank.

Late last year, reports also emerged that the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) had transferred its shareholding to NSSF’s staff pension scheme, a private entity, which would have reduced the retirement body’s stake in EAPCC to 23 per cent from 27 per cent effectively diluting the government’s majority stake in the firm and changing EAPCC’s status from a state corporation.

CMA later said that they had received an application but did not authorize the transfer, and NSSF’s management also confirmed that the transfer had not been effected.

French cement conglomerate, Lafarge, owns 41.7 per cent, the NSSF staff pension fund controls four per cent and the public holds the remaining six per cent.


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