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I am no expert in financial ( and especailly IPO) matters, but here are my thoughts about the fears/falsehoods of the Safaricom IPO.

(i) Why are they selling it so low or is that the worth?

They ( them ) want to buy it cheap. And they want you to support it, so they let you also eat a little. Say you get your 2,000 shares. You own ( 0.0000565% of the 25% of safaricom ). Each of them get their 100m shares. One of the them now own 2.85% of 25% of safaricom. He has 50,000X more than you. Based on this transaction alone, his life is gonna be improved 50,000X yours! If the shares were priced at Ksh 30, he would not buy as many shares.

(ii) Will i make a kill?

They do not care whether you do or do not, as long as you think you will, they are happy. They are waiting to snap up what you are willing to sell. Now, if you sell at Ksh 30 ( look my shares increased by 600% ! ), they buy them all at $0.5 a share. That my dear, is still a bargain for a profitable modern phone company. Now he has 200m more shares. He owns 9% of 25% of safaricom.

(iii) The shares will drop below Ksh5 after listing.

Not likely, surely Ksh 5 is low enough. But if they did, much much better for them. As (ii) suggested, they are waiting to snap them up, so, that is the best thing that could happen to them. If the shares drop to Ksh 2.5, you may start thinking, well, let me let them go before it gets worse, and rush to sell. Your loss. Wise investors buy when the people are panic selling.

(iv) I do not know who owns Mobitelea, so i suspect the deal.

Odegle Nyang could not have said it better:

are you going to stop buying this share from GOK just because you dont know who the other owners are? and when you normally buy shares at the NSE, do you normally insist on knowing the others million shareholders before placing a bid?

Same question: Are you in the US? DO you own stocks? Do you own mutual funds? Do you know who else owns the same funds? Do you know that some of the investors brought money from dubious ( drug, blood diamonds, etc ) gains? Do you own KenGen or EABL or Unga? So does Pattni, Somaia, Biwott, Moi, Kabuga.

(iv) Why allow foreigners to buy public property so cheaply?

Let us assume safaricom is as valuable as they say it is. Why allow foreigners to compete with Kenyans at such a low price? We all know, the best way to kill these 2 two birds with one stone, is to sell to the retail kenyan public as much shares as they need, and let the foreigners buy it from the public after listing. Then you are assured of post IPO price increase ( and mwananchi gains) and Kenya gets $$$$ from the outsiders. OK, what did we say? These foreigners are them! That is why they are allocated a huge portion. [ Who knows, perhaps, when the foreigners are ready to send their chapa to pay, the $ may strengthen vs the Ksh. Keep watching ]

(v) I have principles, this deal is not clean!

The duly elected GOK were adamant in selling this public company ( including your portion, despite your protest ) and they have. Perhaps you can still protest by buying and keeping your share of the company, and using your proceeds to do a good cause. Remember, the company was paid for by you. If “thieves” ( Mobitelea Ventures Ltd, Vodafone, they ) steal from you, and they offer to return a micro portion of what they stole, why would you reject it?

(vi) How can i protest this?

The best way would have been to protest at Safaricom by public mass action whereby we all say, “we are not using safaricom until Jopseph tells us who Mobitelea is and Kimunya makes everything transparent”. But, we are Kenyans. We are ignorant that we posses such powers. And we plain do not just care, as long as we make a few Shillings killing.

But, you can still protest, modestly. If you believe the foregoing arguments, then the best way is to buy the shares and dig in for as long as it takes. By doing so, you will deny them the chance to grab more of this property cheaply. Look at it that the money you put in ( 10K, or 50K) was lost. But then again, no gain without risks.

(Vii) Bottom line, this is the new in-the-open Land Grabbing

You see my Friend, this is the new Land Grabbing scheme. Moi and his boys used crude methods ( though they wisened up towards the end- e.g. Mobitelea etc). Their MOD was: all for me, nothing for you. But these new boys on the Hill ( Kimunya, Stanley, Jimna, Jimmy, John ) they are smart. They do it openly, and with your blessing. 200,000,000 for me, 2,000 for you. And, because we are all greedy ( and are Land Grabbers at heart ), we bite the bait.

(viii) My call: a buy

So, i will write off 200K, put aside 20K for the IPO, and 180K to wait for the villager to to sell his. If i lose my 200K, at least i will have helped inject $3K into the KE economy.

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So Google is enticed Kenyan students to give them ideas? And at what cost? A stipend of $350! Really, that is pure “evil” for a company that claims “do no evil” mantra. (At least faceBook promises $3000-$100,000 for something they can use, and 10% ownership in the application )

My friend, if you have a good gadget application, do not give it so cheaply to Google.Why?

  • Develop the Gadget independently, and if it is successful, who knows, you may monetize it, and you will still own rights to it
  • There is OpenSocial. You could instead develop the app as an OpenSocial Apps (no difference really), own it and Monetize it by yourself (you know, just like those facebook applications)
  • If your idea does not”win”, you would still have given an idea to Google, and you get nothing!

Some Kenyan tech Bloggers ( whiteAfricam, KP, M, Afro) have mentioned the idea (as a good idea?). I do not like it. Especially given the alternatives. Or am i being too pessimistic?

Friends, do not sell your brain power so cheaply to Google.

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CnnEducation ran a story on 11.20.2006 (if link no longer active, simply google it or contact CNN for archive articles) that suggests that European universities are not as good as you may imagine.

Many students and parents from East Africa still hold to old notions about education in Europe. Hopely, this article, unlike the usual glossy marketing brochure you get from the University recruiters or the British Council, will assist some think a bit objectively when seeking where to go spend their hard earned dollars. Below are a summary of the points mentioned in the story.

  • Europe’s universities don’t provide the skills and research needed to help the continent prosper and compete with rapidly growing economies in Asia and elsewhere, according to international rankings, school presidents, students and European Union officials.
      For example, Germany, France and Italy spend just 1.1% of gross domestic product on higher education, nearly all of that from state funds, says the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The U.S. spends 2.6% — with private endowments funding the majority.
  • British universities are actively recruiting international students, who pay higher tuition.
  • The OECD says China and India are adapting faster than the United States and the EU and are producing more high-skilled workers for 21st century needs.
  • Students receive little guidance. European college dropout rates average 40%. One survey found that more than a third of adults in the EU cannot perform basic computer tasks such as using a mouse to access an Internet site or working with a word-processing program
      “Many go to university because they think it’s prestigious. But most of us know that we may still be working at the sandwich shop”
  • Only two European universities (Oxford and Cambridge ) made it in the top 20 of the Academic Ranking of World Universities, a list compiled by researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and based largely on the number of Nobel and Fields prizes by staff and alumni and publications in leading journals.
      One was in Japan, Tokyo University, and all the rest in the top 20 were in the United States, led by Harvard, Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley and MIT.

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There is this Visa check card commercial that is currently airing that goes something like this: Everything is moving super fast at the check out counters of stores and restaurants that accep the visa check card. Everybody rapidly swipes their Visa check card and everything happens in perfect synchrony, until a clueless guy removes his wallet and pays with cash. As expected, chaos ensures and everything grinds to a stand still until he sheepishly and almost apologetically removes himself out of the checkout queue. The message is clear.

I am sure non of us would in the least be surprised, if you woke up one morning and learned that there is a new regulation that required all financial transactions to be carried out in plastic. Nor would you be unreceptive if the financial institutions introduced a more friendlier and theft-proof RFID-type micro or nano cards that you can conveniently carry, ah, on your skin or under the skin. No more wallet or purse bulging with various cards. No more lost cards. No more need to remember pins or signing slips at the checkout counter. It would be so much more onvenient.

Now if i informed you that a small thinker, scientist and economist recommended and presented a design for this kind of a system 2000 years ago, you would go, “No way. 100 years ago, perhaps, 2000 ago, not likely“. What if i further informed you that the same guy, a Jewish man, also had a complete design of the Nuclear bomb? Writing for the popular magazine (Καινὴ Διαθήκη), which was in circulation between c. 45 AD and c. 140 AD, and which was a continuation of the popular Jewish works, the Tanakh, he says, (i quote and freely paraphrase from the English version for our modern readers):

everyone (small and great, rich and poor, employers and employees, the debt-free and the indebted, the free and the enslaved), need to have a mark or a unique number on the right hand or forehead. Without this unique number it should be impossible to buy or sell anything.” AND

The energy from the blast of the said device is enough to melt the skin off the bones of a human being in milliseconds, even before the body hits the ground. And it takes months to bury the bones and to fully decontaminate the affected area from the radioactive material produced

Really? Who was this guy? John Doe. Socrates and Plato we know about and honour for their contribution to the modern society. John Doe, aka John ben Zebeddee’s failure of recognition among our educated is that he claimed divine inspiration for his works. But is there really such a thing as divine inspiration?

Good question. You tell me; how could one simple Jewish man (and uneducated in the knowledge of his time, and there being no advanced knowledge of science as we know it at that time) come up with such complex military and technological designs that has taken thousands of brilliant scientists in our time years and collaboration to build?

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