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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Norwegian pension fund buys NSE stocks worth Sh. 8.2 billion

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Norwegian pension fund has invested some Sh8.2 billion (NOK 630 million) in Kenya’s publicly listed companies, making Nairobi the second biggest investment destination in sub-Saharan Africa for the Scandinavian retirement fund.

The government pension fund of Norway holds stakes in 11 quoted equities at the Nairobi bourse, placing Kenya behind South Africa (NOK 22.68 billion), but ahead of Nigeria (NOK 497 million) and Ghana NOK 15 million.

Monica Mæland, minister of Trade and Industry of the oil-rich country, said Kenya remained an attractive market for investors due to the country’s young labour force, innovations in technology and continued investments in energy and infrastructure projects.

“Kenya is the economic and financial engine in this region,” said Ms Monica Mæland in Nairobi during a forum to promote trade between Nairobi and Oslo.

The Norwegian pension fund has a market value of Sh89.2 trillion (NOK 6.844 trillion) and is ranked the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. The fund is made up of surplus wealth generated from the Norwegian oil industry.

Its Kenyan portfolio is dominated by companies in the manufacturing and financial services.

The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund holdings includes a 2.86 per cent stake in ScanGroup, ARM Cement (1.65 per cent), Nation Media Group (1.06  per cent), KCB Group (0.97 per cent), Bamburi Cement (0.95 per cent) and 0.77 per cent Kenya Re shareholding.

Others are East African Breweries Ltd (0.69 per cent), Safaricom (0.33 per cent) Equity Bank (0.06 per cent), Mumias Sugar (0.05 per cent) and an undisclosed stake in Co-op Bank.

The disclosure comes at a time Norfund, a State-funded private equity fund, has deepened its investments in Kenya where it has closed about a dozen deals in the last five years.

Norfund has invested a total of Sh23 billion ($230 million) in Kenya. The PE firm and its partner NorFinance in January this year acquired a 12.223 per cent stake in Equity Bank.

It holds significant stakes in UAP Properties, the ill-fated Kinangop Wind Park, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project and Housing Finance.

Norfund also has investments in other Nairobi-based funds such as Ascent, Fanisi Capital and GroFin Africa.

Trade between Kenya and Norway has grown nearly fourfold in the last decade to hit $42 million last year from $12 million in 2004.

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