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Capital Markets

KQ on 14-month high at NSE as Michael Joseph takes charge

An investor monitors trade at the Nairobi Securities Exchange. PHOTO | FILE
An investor monitors trade at the Nairobi Securities Exchange. PHOTO | FILE 

Kenya Airways (KQ) stock closed at the highest level since August last year in Wednesday’s trading at the Nairobi Securities Exchange, as the airline announced it had appointed a new chairman ahead of Thursday’s half-year results announcement.

The troubled carrier closed the day at an improved price of Sh6.75 a share — having opened the day at Sh6.60 — with local retail investors continuing to buy into the stock, lately basking on positive corporate notices.

The airline made major but anticipated boardroom changes Wednesday as its chairman, Dennis Awori, stepped down to be replaced by former Safaricom chief executive officer Michael Joseph.

Mr Joseph is credited with the runaway success the telco has achieved since he helped found it in the early 2000s.

The changes have been speculated for weeks, helping to buoy the share, though not anywhere near the Sh140 range it once achieved.

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KQ’s financial results Wednesday are expected to show a 58 per cent drop in net loss to Sh5 billion in the six months to September 2016, indicating that some of the financial realignment measures the airline has put in place are having an effect on the bottom line.

“The demand came from local investors, with foreigners also chipping in with some of the supply,” said a dealer at an investment bank.

Data compiled by AIB Capital showed that out of the stock’s turnover of Sh13.5 million, foreign investors accounted for sales worth Sh2.4 million (and none of the buys) with the rest of the activity being local.

The counter has gained 47 per cent in the last one-and-a-half weeks since it escaped a major crisis when its pilots called off a strike that could have cost the airline up to Sh200 million per day in lost revenue.

“The airline is up 73 per cent month-to-date following the announcement of reduction in losses coupled by the restructuring of the management board. The share price is likely to experience sell-off pressure from profit-taking investors in the coming days,” said ABC Capital.

The rest of the market was largely static Wednesday with the NSE 20 share index closing at an unchanged 3,204 points and the NSE All share index also unchanged at136.5 points.

Home Afrika, Olympia Capital and ScanGroup were the top gainers closing 3.9, 3.2 and 3.1 per cent higher respectively at Sh1.35, Sh3.15 and Sh18.55.

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