Capital Markets

Centum’s Mworia takes Ciano NSE board position

Former Uchumi Supermarkets CEO Jonathan Ciano. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA
Former Uchumi Supermarkets CEO Jonathan Ciano. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA 

Former Uchumi chief executive Jonathan Ciano has been replaced at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) board of directors about a week after he was sacked as the CEO of the troubled supermarkets chain.

Mr Ciano, whose position was Thursday taken by Centum Investments chief executive James Mworia, says he opted not to put his name on the ballot for re-election.

The notice for the AGM dated April 14, 2015 had indicated Mr Ciano was up for election but the former Uchumi chief said that since he no longer represented a public company, he chose not to seek another term on the board of the bourse.

“I declined to be a member of the board because I was there mainly representing a listed company and since I have already left, I decided not to participate,” he said.

Mr Ciano together with Sharon Maviala, Hosea K Kili, Samuel N Kimani, Winnie Nyamute, Nasim Devji and Michael Turner are listed as independent non-executive directors of the NSE.

The chairman, Eddie Njoroge, was appointed director while CEO of the Kenya Electricity Generating Company from which he has since retired but remains on the board.

Faida Investment Bank vice-chairman Bob Karina is the NSE vice-chairman representing brokers.

Mr Ciano, who previously worked for Kenya Power, and Mr Chadwick Omondi Okumu, the chief finance officer, were sacked by the board of Uchumi as the retailer’s finances deteriorated.

Mr Mworia was elected to the board at the demutualised company’s 61st annual general meeting (AGM) held in Nairobi.

Mr Kimani, Ms Devji, Jimnah Mbaru and Mr Turner were re-elected to the board. These were the first board changes since the NSE self-listed last year.

The NSE made a net profit of Sh320 million in 2014 up from Sh262 million a year before, a 22 per cent increase, while turnover increased by 39 per cent to stand at Sh431 billion in 2014 from Sh311 billion in 2013.

The bourse’s management expects more revenues to come from trading in new securities such as Asset-Backed Securities, derivatives and Real Estate Investment Trusts (Reits).

NSE chief executive Geoffrey Odundo said of the new investments, Reits are expected to come first depending on the rolling out of laws that will give tax breaks to investors of such new asset classes.

“Once the Finance Bill (2015) is approved we expect more Reit applications,” said Mr Odundo.

Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich said stamp duty on the transfer of assets to Reits and Asset-Backed Securities will be scrapped to encourage more pension money to go towards these asset classes.

Stanlib Investments, Centum and UAP are some companies that have announced plans to list Reits on the NSE.

Stanlib plans to list a Sh9 billion Reits at the bourse in the coming weeks. 

The equities markets also got a reprieve from the controversial capital gains tax that was scrapped in this year’s national budget.

Mr Rotich  replaced the five per cent tax on the gains made from selling shares and instead introduced a 0.3 per cent withholding tax on sales value.