13 June 2007
South Africa’s JSE was named Africa’s best stock exchange, New York-based Citigroup its best investment bank, and Kenya Commercial Bank its top performing company at the 2007 Africa Investor Index Awards ceremony at the London Stock Exchange on Friday night.
Based on the Ai40 and Ai100 indices of investment research and publishing group Africa Investor, the Ai Index Awards reward the best performing stock exchanges, listed companies, investment banks, research teams and fund managers on the continent.
According to the Sunday Times, 100 senior executives gathered at the gala ceremony to celebrate Africa’s “top capital market performers”.
Allan Kamau, executive editor of Africa Investor, told the Sunday Times that the JSE had come out tops largely because of its innovation in setting up indices for smaller companies as well as socially responsible companies.
The Stock Exchange of Mauritius came in second behind the JSE.
Citigroup, which clinched US$17-billion worth of deals across Africa in the year ended March 2007, beat strong competition from the likes of Investec, JP Morgan and Standard Bank Group to take the best investment bank award.
Kenya Commercial Bank took the award for best performing Ai40 company ahead of firms such as Orascom Construction (based in Egypt), West Africa Portland Cement (Nigeria), MTN Group (South Africa) and United Bank for Africa (Nigeria).
The other Ai Index Award winners were:
- Best performing Ai100 company: Egyptian Iron & Steel
- Best Africa research team: Databank
- Best Africa fund manager: Emerging Markets Management LLC
- Best African IPO: Dangote Sugar Refinery
According to Africa Investor, African stock exchanges have provided impressive US dollar returns for investors over the last few years, with heavyweights such as Citigroup, Standard Bank Group and JP Morgan investing in the continent in an unprecedented fashion.
Africa Investor managing editor Hubert Danso told Kenyan newspaper The Nation: “I believe that we are witnessing the emergence of truly competitive African capital market investment opportunities that G8 investors can assess and pursue with confidence.
“The awards have shone the light on Africa’s super-performers and signalled that African blue chips without doubt should represent an integral part of any serious emerging market investor’s portfolio.”
Scipion African Opportunities Fund
During Friday’s ceremony, Scipion Capital announced the launch of the first 100% Africa-dedicated hedge fund. The Scipion African Opportunities Fund, launching on 1 July with US$100-million in seed capital, will track the listed stocks of nine African stock exchanges.
The fund will include the Scipion-Ai40 Index Share Tracker class, pegged to the Ai Index Series produced by African Investor. According to Scipion, the Ai40 index comprises African companies with a combined market capitalisation of more than US$250-billion.
“While working as a fund manager in Africa, we noticed the quiet rise in confidence among global investors looking to gain exposure to Africa as a continent, and explore its lesser-known corners,” Scipion Capital chairman Nicolas Clavel told Hedgeweek this week.
“Research and news from organisations such as Africa Investor has provided the data to evaluate the opportunities and assess the market trends that previously was only easily accessible for markets such as South Africa.”
Clavel told Hedgeweek that Africa’s macroeconomic prospects were “excellent, with growth forecast at 5.5% per annum for the continent as a whole amid improved economic planning, loosened exchange controls, pension market reforms, greater fiscal discipline, commitment to improve the investment climate, strong commodity prices and significant Chinese and G8 economic commitments.”