Byarugaba: Why NSSF Invested Shs145bn in Equity Group

Former Bul FC danger man and long serving captain Crespo Asiku has joined Soana Fc on a two year long deal.

The lanky forward joined the Kavumba-based side as a free-agent after he was earlier on released by Bul Fc. Asiku was released together with his assistant captain Herbert Kakande and another long serving defender Asuman Bajjampola.

“I have joined Soana FC for two seasons where I hope to regain my previous form and probably fight for the golden boot and a chance back to the national team folds, this web ” a jovial Asiku told Chimpreports.

Asiku holds no grudge against his former home and wishes them the best seasons ahead, “I have no problem with Bul Fc, they are my home and I wish them well as I plan to settle in the new home.”

The Cranes striker scored a massive 37 goals for the club in his four seasons and was also Bul Fc’s joint league top scorer (the other was Milton Kalisa) with five goals leading the team to the fifth position. The last time he appeared in the national team was during the last edition of the Africa Nations Championships (Chan).

Soana massive restructuring

Soana Fc survived relegation on the last day after defeating Police Fc in the Kavumba derby by a single goal ending the league on the 13th position with 34 points.

The club is undergoing a massive restructuring process that has seen a big number of players released and several others lined up. Asiku joins Didi Muhammed (Sadolin), Muwadda Mawejje (SCVU), Willy Kavuma (Express fc) and  Robert kimuli (kjT) who have already joined
NSSF Uganda has acquired 2.44 percent stake in Equity Group from Helios EB in what officials described as a bid to continue providing a high return to members.

The Fund’s Managing Director Richard Byarugaba said the transaction which is valued at Shs145Billion was approved by the Capital Markets Authority of Uganda, clinic Capital Markets Authority of Kenya, about it and has been undertaken pursuant to the Capital Markets Act.

On why he committed workers’ money in a foreign company, information pills Byarugaba said the legible opportunities within the country are not enough to absorb NSSF’s investment’s potential.

“NSSF has invested heavily within the Ugandan Economy and currently holds 20 percent of traded securities listed on Uganda’s Securities Exchange,” said Byarugaba.

“Investing in other Equities markets within the East African region therefore provides an opportunity for diversification of the Fund’s investments but does not imply that the Fund will lose sight of any upcoming lucrative investment opportunities within Uganda.”

Equity Group claims on its website it’s the leading banking group in east Africa with over 9 million customer accounts and nearly $4bn in assets

ChimpReports understands Helios’ transaction advisors were Anjarwalla $ Khanna Advocates supported by MMAKS Advocates in Kampala while NSSF relied on technical advice from African Alliance Uganda.

African Alliance Kenya Investment Bank acted as the broker on the transaction.

Listed on Uganda and Kenya Securities Exchange, Equity Group is engaged in banking, insurance, securities brokerage and information and telecommunications technology outsourcing services.

Byarugaba said NSSF’s investment in Equity Group is in Line with the Fund’s strategic Plan and will enable the Fund improve its portfolio mix.

“Currently, the Fund’s investment portfolio comprises of 10 percent Equities, 9 percent real estate and 81 percent fixed income, our overall aim is to increase our investments composition in Equities which on average provide a higher return in comparison to the other investments held fixed assets and real estate,” said Byarugaba.

“We also specifically selected Equity Group, because Equity Group is a fast growing financial institution within Africa and has registered exceptional performance over time. Since 2000 the Group’s pretax profit has grown at an annual average of 65 percent. The Group also has a proven track record of value creation for its investors and efficiency in utilization of its assets registering Returns on Equity (ROE) and Return on Assets (ROA) of 27.6 percent and 4.8 percent respectively,” he added.

The NSSF MD further said Equity Group is also the second Largest Bank in East Africa, with a good track record of successfully establishing subsidiaries across East, west and Central Africa.

“We are also impressed by the Groups adherence to good corporate governance practices that have earned it recognition and several awards including Best Bank in East Africa during the ‘2014 Think Business Banking Awards’ and recognition as one of Kenya’s Top Tax Payers,” said Byarugaba.

Regarding the projected return on this investment, Byarugaba observed: “We cannot speculate the actual figures, but we believe this is a good investment for a long term investor like NSSF. This acquisition is in line with our aggressive yet, prudent investment approach that guarantees a competitive return to our members.”

On why NSSF was moving into equities, Byarugaba responded: “As explained above, currently, 81 percent of our investments are in Fixed Income. Fixed income is safe, but if we want to give a more competitive return to our members, we must diversify more into equities, especially regional equities. Investment opportunities in the region such as Equity Group offer us an opportunity for diversification in order to achieve a desirable portfolio mix.”

Previous investments by NSSF have been tainted by allegations of corruption and bribery.

But Byarugaba said, “due procedure was followed in line with our Investment policy and yes we hereby confirm that the investment was approved by the Fund’s Management Investment Committee, the NSSF Board of Directors in consultation with the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. We also obtained legal advice from the Office of the Solicitor General.”

Regarding measures put in place to protect the Fund’s investment in the long term, Byarugaba said, ”This is a listed investment/security which provides for a straightforward exit: the stock is one of the most liquid stocks in East Africa. The company is cross listed in Uganda and Rwanda, and has adopted best practice with regard to Corporate Governance standards.”


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