London Stock Exchange has welcomed two landmark bonds this week, showcasing London’s position as a leading international listing venue for African issuers, sustainable finance and a centre of excellence for offshore local currency bonds.
Acorn Holdings listed its Kenyan Shilling green bond on London Stock Exchange with proceeds financing environmentally friendly accommodation for 5,000 university students in Nairobi. Acorn is the first Kenyan issuer to launch a green bond in the international market and the first company to issue a Kenyan shilling-denominated green bond. The bond is also the first from an African issuer to list on London’s Sustainable Bond Market.
To celebrate their landmark listing, David Schwimmer, CEO of London Stock Exchange Group, welcomed President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya, the Rt Hon Alok Sharma, UK Secretary of State for International Development, and Edward Kirathe, CEO Acorn Holdings, to open London’s markets for trading.
“We are delighted to further extend our partnerships across Africa and welcome these significant bonds to London Stock Exchange. International local currency listings can help issuers raise capital without bearing foreign exchange risk, as well as help issuers develop profiles to set benchmark yields for future issuances. We look forward to continuing to support African capital markets and the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy,” said Nikhil Rathi, CEO of London Stock Exchange plc and Director of International Development, London Stock Exchange Group.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has also issued its first Rwandan Franc bond on London Stock Exchange’s Main Market. This is also the first bond IBRD has issued in London. The occasion was marked with Jingdong Hua, Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank & Pension Finance Administrator of the World Bank Group; and John Rwangombwa, Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda, joining Nikhil Rathi, CEO of London Stock Exchange Plc and Group Director of International Development, to close the day’s trading in London.
Also this week, London Stock Exchange and the Ghana Stock Exchange signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support Ghanaian businesses raising equity and debt capital both domestically and internationally. The MoU will establish a path forward to support Cross-listing between London Stock Exchange and Ghana Stock Exchange, establishment of centralised corporate news dissemination platform in Ghana to promote efficient disclosure practice and price formation; sharing of experiences of UK stock market demutualization, and future public market fund raising for Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund.
There more than 100 African bonds currently listed on London Stock Exchange, raising a combined $105 billion. In addition, London welcomed IPOs from African firms Airtel Africa and Helios Towers in 2019. Helios Towers is the second company featured in LSEG’s ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’ report to list in London, following Vivo Energy’s IPO in 2018.
This week, PwC has launched the second edition of its Companies to Inspire Africa, One Year On report in collaboration with LSEG. The report celebrates significant achievements over the last year by some of Africa’s most dynamic growth businesses identified in LSEG’s Companies to Inspire Africa 2019 report. 85 high growth businesses included in the 2019 report have gone on to raise investment or achieve commercial milestones within the last year. The full report can be found here.