KENYA AIRWAYS SHARE RIGHTS ISSUE ANNOUNCEMENTS IMMINENT
Kenya Airways and the Capital Market Authority will hold a joint press conference on Monday morning at the Nairobi Serena Hotel, to provide information on the way forward for the long awaited share issue, which is aiming to raise some 250 million US Dollars for the financing of the airlines expansion and acquisition of new aircraft. It is expected that the time frame will be spelled out on Monday morning as to when exactly the formal launch will take place, but going by experience, when such press conferences are held it normally means that regulatory approvals are in place and the exercise is about to kick off within the next two to three weeks.
The airline is set to double the present fleet over the next few years with the arrival of yet more Embraer E190 jets for regional operations, while the lastest date for the first delivery of the B787 Dreamliner showcased by Boeing Commercial Airplanes in December last year at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has now been pushed to the first quarter of 2014, until which time the current fleet of B767 will have to continue flying, before relief in the form of more economical flight performance and larger capacities finally kicks in.
Sources close to the airline have been saying that for 2012 a number a new destinations is planned to come on line, though that will also depend on delivery of additional aircraft as the present fleet does not seem to have much spare capacity left to cater for more frequencies or destinations.
The same sources have also reiterated that by the end of next year, i.e. 2013, Kenya Airways intends to have connections in place to all African commercial and political capitals, offering the arguably largest cross continent network via their hub in Nairobi. Skyteam partners Air France and KLM are said to be particularly keen on this additional rollout considering the entry late last year of rival Ethiopian Airlines into the larger Star Alliance, as air travel to and across Africa is turning into aviations last great frontier.
Kenya Airways in 2011 carried over 3 million passengers, twice as many compared to a decade ago, a sign that their strategy of African expansion is paying off handsomely with more and more travelers opting to connect via Nairobi to their final destination in the Gulf, India or the Far and South East, the latter two also eyed for more flights to more destinations as and when new aircraft arrive from the manufacturers.
Inspite of the economic uncertainties in the Eurozone and the political brinkmanship in global hotspots which could drive oil prices to new record highs, the market confidence in Nairobi seems firm and with both major shareholders in KQ, the Kenyan government and KLM / Air France already committed to take up their full allocation of newly issued shares when the formal offers go out, other institutional and private investors too seem keen to take advantage of this opportunity as a medium to long term blue chip investment.
Expect an update on timelines and expectations following the news conference on Monday, so watch this space.