Wednesday, January 31, 2007

usilete compe ....!

after losing out on a vicious dirty and unprofessional war (which the sparing partner refused to participate in) one gruntled player , red in the face (literaly) is crying foul and rushing to the regulator to complain that the partner is being unfair. yaani playing too well! its like pitting harambee stars and brazil in a match and complaining later to fifa that brazil fielded their best stars and used too advanced formations!

i dont really know what to make of celtel's complaints. these guys have been hitting direclty on safaricom. talking about their congestion, their high prices and so on. some of their adverts were outragiuosly negative and an insult to safaricom. however safaricom chose to be mum over all that and instead of responding to those attacks, they kept up the pace and developed more products for their loyal customers. its not lost to anyone that celtel announced that indeed 1 million customers had crossed over in one month. the truth was that technicaly thats imposible. the switch technology cannot handle that many transfers in one month. the truth was that 750K subscribers within celtel simply swaped tariffs. but celtel is known for its unending insults. just last year they erected a large billboard right in front of safaricom offices. in fact it was in their staff parking! safaricom did not answer them back. they then organised their caravan to pass in front of safaricom and had pple dance and throw stuff into the safaricom compound. the giant still was not aroused. so after making noise all over they have decided to go and ask the referee to award them a penalty!

i think celtels leadership should sit down and rework their strategy instead of crying foul. am told that most decisions are made in amsterdam and then sent to kenya for implementation. while in safaricom adverts you meet pple u can easily relate with, celtels 'pan african' adverts are strangely foreign. even the accent is quite funny. and again, i dont know whether they ever do a market survey. do they really know what customers want?

kenyan investment advisor : Hey rush , buy, the stock is skyrocketing ,,,, hey rush , sell, the stock is heading down south!

odegle tip of the day ...
any investent whose returns are lower than the risk free return. in this case the govts treasury bills or bonds is not worth your while

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

refreshing news

the new high school kids have slowly started reporting to their schools. normally on every occasion when this happens we hear a lot of stories about kids with very good results who cannot get to high school. some do not even have fare. indeed in an earlier post i had mentioned that we had teamed with a group of friends to support at least one such girl. am happy that 'our' two pioneering girls will be joining high school today. one is going to a national school and the other is joining a provinacial school. however what has encouraged me more is the palmhouse foundation which has organised sponsorships for 40 students from needy families all over the country. and also in the nation today i read of a story of one michael ouma of ukwala secondary who is going back to school courtesy of the generosity of very many kenyans who are totaly unkown to him. that is better news than all those querels on elections, succession and associated activities. it makes me hope that finally kenyans are having a 'Kenyan' dream. encouraging those who are challenged and loving success stories like the americans do. hitherto, i always felt that the kenyan dream was only to see their tribesman/woman occupy statehouse period. whether such occupation added sufurias of ugali or not the kenyan was happy. and indeed they were ready to sacrifice their very life for 'one of them' to occupy the house on the hill.

however this other news is not as flattering. i met a friend who works in a brokerage firm. and he told me stories of how they made money with sameer, kplc and eac. nay they did not just buy low and sell high. rather they did a spirited campaign to have those shares sold at high prices. basicaly it involves lying to clueless investors about fictitious impending splits, bonuses, acquisitions and so on. those investors are not simple investors but rather high net worth individuals and institutions whose orders have the capacity to make share prices rocket. i dont when that starts becoming a crime so that CMA can act but it only reaffrims my earlier tips that a stockbroker cannot and should not offer you any advice on which stock to buy.

and is it real or was i hearing my own things? the NSE chairman suggesting that MSC shares be split to make them affordable. anything funnier than that? but some brokers are reporting that actually a bonus issue has been declared and MSC is only waiting for experts to advice on how it can be done. other brokers are suggesting that kplc is due for a record 22 for 1 split!

meanwhile the youth fund is out and even though it sounded hogwash at first, i agree with the minister's decision to start the loan at 50K first as pple get trained on how to us it. makes little sence doesnt it?

odegle tip of the day ... when the stock market becomes unpredicatable , try the bonds market. the investments are risk free

Friday, January 26, 2007

portfolio evaluation

given that the nse is currently showing signs of periodical readjustment, maybe its time to talk about what we should have done ages ago. and that is portfolio return evaluation. this exercise should be scheduled maybe 3 or 4 times a year. portfolio return evaluation is the only sure way to find out whether indeed you are making or losing money. it invloves finding out the percentages that your investments have gained. whether those gains have been realised or not. normally based on your investment policy you can decide that you are meeting your objectives or not.

the most basic method to find out the return for a period is {(P1 - Po)+ d }/t

where P1 is current price and Po is the price you bought at. d is any distributions given during the period while t is time.

of course this is prety rudimentary but it will serve you well. you can do that simple maths for each of your counters and also for the whole portfolio. that way you wil be able to know how you compare with the likes of old mutual when they report decent percentages like 50% and so on and also help you decide whether u are in the correct investment.

However if your teacher made you hate mathematics so much (always blame the teacher), then you can get a software to do all those calculations. one good software that i use for my personal finance management is called 'Microsoft Money'. apart from being very user friendly, its quite robust and detailed. but microsoft money does not only help u manage your NSE investments. like we have been talking a lot on this blog about trees, cows, fish, candy etc, microsoft money will help u manage all those businesses and investments. you can even track your expenditure on immovable assets such as cars, house, land etc. on top of that it allows you to track your income and expenditure on a daily basis. one cool feature is that it can compare two months and tell you for instance that you spent 4000/= on entertainment this month yet last month you didnt. such features help u decide which expenses are necessary.

another thing is that, it will be able to calculate your investment percentages. all u do is input daily prices. in fact the software can download prices for the US market but for NSE u have to input the daily prices of your stocks. it then calculates and gives you returns for the period as well as very good graphs. whats more if your trade is in foreign currency, just enter it the way it is and the software converts it to your base currency. cool huh? the best news; it retails at only $ 39 on the microsoft site.

well thats enough marketing for one day. otherwise, stanbic UG did what all IPOs do and returned a 200% increase on price on the first day. problem is the shares are many and it may not grow as fast as hoped. stanbic becomes only the 3rd bank to list and 9th firm in the juvenile exchange. as suggested by riba capital we expect the fund managers to try and get their full applications since their money is already in UG currency.

and when i was at it i came across what i consider the best new thing this year courtesy of kikuyumoja . a site which is dedicated to African Ingenuity. very nice ideas.

odegle tip of the day --- monitoring and evaluation of your investments is necessary to avoid massive losses and /or orportunity costs in the future.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

wishful thinking

...there was uproar in parliament yesterday upon revelation that the former finance minister one david arap mwiraria allegedly tried to talk the former anti graft czar Arap Githongo into droping investigations on anglo leasing. (hear the recording here ) the leader of opposition, mr mwai kibaki blamed the govt for the sleaze terming it as a shame and abomination. he said that kenyans will continue to slide into poverty as official corruption continued to take monumental proportions. he added that more than 70% of kenyans currently lived below the poverty line. kibaki demanded the immediate arrest and imprisonment of arap mwiraria and kiraitu ngeny murungi.

elsewhere the ncec co convenor, prof kivutha kibwana has issued notice that if immediate steps were not taken to apprehend those implicated, he will organise countrywide strike by hard working kenyans. during an internationl press conference attended by among others PAC chairman musikri kombo, the activist said that corruption is the major contributor of poverty everywhere in kenya. he further threatened to hold street demonstrations and mass action against the curruption riddled administration.

and the catholic episcopal conference has issued yet another pastoral letter with a stinging criticism on the sleaze in government. talking to reporters on phone yesterday, the chairman arch bishop john njue said kenyans must rise up and demand accountability. he demanded that all those involved be arrested and arraigned in court over the matter. meanwhile the archbishop of nairobi Ndingi mwana a nzeki said the tape was a great shame and a slap on the face of hardworking kenyans, speaking during the lunch time mass also attended by pic chairman paul muite, ndingi said they will later on issue a joint press conference with the head of anglican church archbishop nzimbi as another govt critic reverend mutava musyimi issued notice to take the matter to court. he was supported by reverend timothy njoya who has been a strong advocate for the down trodden.

Monday, January 22, 2007

of parks and piety

i passed near uhuru recreational park yesterday and i could not help but notice that its beauty has been restored. no it was not only the green well kept grass, nor the young green trees. not even the beautiful fence that caught my eye. rather, i noticed that the park which had been grabbed, nay taken over no that is also wrong. the park that was given by devine providence to one redeemed church and which they had 'used' since their pastor was born (for thats how nairobians argue when caught with illegal land) was this time being used by very different congregation. that park which was forcefuly repossesed by the ever hardworking Gakuo of city hall, has regained its past glory literaly and was teaming with tens of young and not soo young lovers. cudled in twos like the animals of noah.

They lay on the green grass perharps fulfilling the song of solomon that the grass shall be our bed. i must say i found this to be a very refreshing sight. these parks formed very good dating grounds for many lovers before. but in the '90s evangelicals took over almost every inch of it and preached to those lovers that what they were doing was sin. (i found that confusing since i thought LOVE should be the central theme of christianity) some who got quick converts eventualy put up large tents and claimed that if its used for Gods purpose then it doesnt matter even if its stollen. thus effectively making God an accomplice in crime! to make matters worse, those grounds were taken over in the evenings by street boys and the glory was gone. however thanks to adopt-a-light , who brought 'nuru gizani' and one John Gakuo, the park has been handed back to lovers and more pple can now take snaps holding the KICC from uhuru park like before, or standing akimbo or inside the boat. the family outings are now slowly coming back and the camera men are loving it. many other biashara like the candy men, the soda kiosk etc are getting value in their business once more. what still baffles me is how come Gakuo has refused to be kenyan and beaten his chest for all and sundry or even declared his interest in nairobi constituency!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

business oportunities

if you are a fast acting business viper then you wil find this information very exciting. due to the world social forum, all the hotels in the city are currently fully booked. some delegates have had to be booked as far as naivasha and perharps nakuru. the situation is grim. this is probably what SA will witness come 2010. remmember that this booking is hapening when the city still expects its normal visitors who troop in for business and other things on business as usual. in fact a friend of mine who usualy checks into some of the choicy hotels could only get accomodation in south B. given that the conference will take two weeks. this is a grand oportunity to venture into hospitality industry. if you cannot put up a hotel real fast then you can give up your digz and put up with a friend for those 2 weeks. if you charge a modest 2K per day you stand to gain 28,000 per room!

and while that is happening, pastor pius muiru will be getting ready to get to the maximum office having launched his maximum bid yesterday. i love the way muiru talks. and given that most presidential aspirants are not good orators. this man will provide the much needed entertainment. recently his churches youth group called maximum mellodies lauched a very well done album. MM is actually a recent kora award winner. their performance is normaly quite electric and captivating. if they include that in the maximum campaigns that are likely to take place, then... mr nyaga better be very afraid. also muiru is one of the well known televangelists given he does not descriminate and is probably the only one to have held crusades in almost every part of the country. most of his peers just hold them in posh areas of nairobi and other major towns. congrats muiru ... na neno itaendelea!

meanwhile another holy aspirant was reported to have thuped reports who went to get the truth and the glory from her. politics exposes you and whtever u do you can never escape the scrutiny. my good old friend Kodhek used to tell me that if you climb high up the ladder, you allow pple below to see the holes in your cassock. so either dont climb or make sure there are no holes.

and again there is no greater fallacy than fighting the media. history is replete with stories of those who tried and failed, the karuas, mois and michukis of this world

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

slow motion to great wealth

A good friend of mine has just sent me a list of the who is who of the nse millio..nay billionaires. most of them are prety obvious having been around for some time and having congested the airwaves of investment and business news for some time. i must say i love looking at that list since it gives me a jolt to action. telling me that its posible and that it feels good to be worth those billionas for doing nothing more than placing your money strategicaly and waiting. in fact when it comes to stock market patience is the key. waiting is the most difficult thing to do. most pple would love to start today and be trancentury tomorrow. in fact even though the TC guys actually began 10 years ago, by stock market standards its safe to say that they have become wealthy exremely fast. the shahs, and patels and chotabals appearing in that list have been at it for quite long and the mwangis of equity are known to have patiently sat and waited for their moments. am not saying that that wait may be over for them. they may have not reached their goals yet. however i know of a number of newly formed investment groups which have so far broken since they trotted instead of flying as was expected by the members. and when the old mutuals, baams of these world announce those crazy percentages, it doesnt really help matters.

but some teachers have found a better way to turn into millionaires in a short time. each year they pick a different text book and ask parrents to buy for the kids. so even if you have kids in each class from 1to 8 u still have to buy new books for each kid every year. no hand-me-downs. when i was in school we used safari book 1,2,3 and those were handed down from our elders. first to use them were uncles who were educated by our parents, then our elder brothers and sisters and finaly us. but not today. in these days, english changes yearly, as do mathematics, kiswahili not forgeting the geography and history of the country. maybe they are right since the last time i checked rift valley only existed in rift valley province but these days you get rift valleys in every district which does not have a govt minister.

just a wonder, how come kenyans can drive for long distances to get a peti (gas station) which is even 10 cents cheaper yet confortably consume one bottle of beer at 120 /= instead of 65 /= . ok i know dont tell me, beer is pleasure , pleasure is sweeter when expensive.

odegle tip of the day ... a rolling stone gathers no moss. its important to do a comprehensive stock analysis first before selecting a stock and once selected. it helps to hold for a good duration before selling. as the sage of omaha puts it the best holding period is forever.

Monday, January 15, 2007

same old same old ...

back to nairobi and blogshere and nse. same old mind games, money making speculation and party. well its too much to expect a change after only one month really. only that i have discovered that the easiest way to cause a stampede on a counter and then reap the fruits of your 'labour' is to start a rumour that trancentury is buying out this and that firm. so in some blogs and discusion groups, rumours are ripe that the TC group which is also known by some politicians to be drug peddlers and by others to be kitchen cabinet are buying virtualy every firm that has failed to get juicy capital gains in the past one year. i dont know how much these rumours are helping but i hope that the fund managers dont fall easily to such things.

what i know is that speculation can cause a short rise in prices, but a sustained rise can only be obtained if and only if major players show interest. the volumes must be good. so these rumour mongers need to use other fora.

on another note, i think that politician called raila should be traded in the nse using an IPO. i dont think there is anyone is this country who invokes as much passion be it passionate fear or passionate love as this old man. so any post on him yields thousands of responses. i went to his blog after reading the friday nation and discovered that i could not even finish half of the comments on a short 10 paragraph article. i think marketers should discover that Raila sells just like football does! the nation on friday had a pullout on blogs and i was humbled to read this blog's name on the papers

odegle tip of the day ... stack the shillings (coins) and the notes will line themselves in neat piles

Friday, January 12, 2007

hair dressers under trees

If you are in nairobi, you probably go for haircuts from 'executive' barber shops where there are newspapers, old magazine, flat coffee and so on as side offerings. for this the nairobian pays about 200 /=. if you have gone to ashleys, which is probably one of the best then you sure parted with 350 /= or more. but your hair is removed by models who gently brush your hair and then massage your head and neck as you watch DSTV and sip instant cofee or del monte juice. the ambiance is expe. at home, there is no ashleys and no tea or coffee. the barber has solar power shaver. ( the car battery is connected to a jua kali alternator and then to a multiplug) a mango tree provides the much needed shade and in front of you is a large mirror which makes you look fat. looking fat is a plus in these parts. i must say i enjoyed the breeze that came with open air hair cut! other services available here are mobile phone charging , bike repair while you wait, free entertainment from radio (tuned to lake victoria fm) and of course countless juicy stories from your senior kinyozist who is also the finance officer and CEO. for that service you part with 15/= after a number of apologies that warm water is not available since the contraption cannot boil water. actually solar energy has made a lot of difference here. though for those teachers who made millions charging batteries using electricity, the solar inversion in not a very welcome idea.

firewood is scarce and wood charcoal retails at 300 per gunia, but if it gets to mumias it fetches 1000 /= yet mobil gas retails at about 1500 at the same place. however if you want constant wood fuel then u need to plant 'oyieko' or 'okonyojopango' or even jacaranda trees. they mature fast, dry fast upon cutting and make good wood fuel

and when we were thinking about that, the KCPE results came out and we realised that many kids will not go to form 1 due to lack of fees. it costs 24K per year to school a girl in a provincial school these sides. so i have teamed up with some of my friends and relatives to sponsor at least one girl per year untill we drop out of exhaustion!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

... of cash flow systems

the adage goes that money flows from the dumb to the smart. by city standards smart means a university degree, a masters, profesional qualifications and so on. and thats a very good thing; easy to follow and quite straight forward. well wait until you hear this; the center of the money with the highest gravity is the village brewer with little or no education. and they are so established that they even have depots these days. what amazes me is that the business is so estableshed that they can offer credit to whoever their patron is and remember all the credit to the last cent even though they seldom write it down. at the end of the month (really there is no end of month only end of brokeness) they get paid in full. in their stable is a wide variety of brew and distill. there is busaa which is cool and slow and taken by people who want to relax. i think busaa is held in higher regard. its also not as easy to find as cham. it has special brewers who are known to do it perfectly. also in the stable is muuna. this one is a very tasty version of busaa. u have to take a lot of muuna to get high. however its quite rare. muuna is my absolute favorite. the other is kong oseke. a very highly respected drink taken only by wazees or well oiled villagers. however the mother of them all is changaa. in these parts you get the real pure distil. very clear and lethal. when i was young the smallest measure of changaa was called 'tidit'. the name came from the sound of car ignition. the locals said its a starter. this time i found it being called 'pangla'. maybe because of the way you fall when you take it. many people who met me suggested that i was a very important son of the land who would make a good leader. for that matter i needed to buy them pangla. pangla is only 10 bob.

some teachers have to take pangla before they can teach. well i agree that with that many kids to teach you need to be out of your mind! in fact teachers play a very important role. even though they averagely earn 4,000 bob. (due to deductions etc), they are the owners of dukas, petrol stations, hardware shops, wholesale shops, and even supermarkets. even the pharmacies are owned by the teachers. teachers mainly start the money flow. when they get paid their 4K, they go to pay for the pangla they took on credit, then pay the milk deleveries, the househelp or herdsman, the butcher and also for the vegatables. in fact credit for teachers is very well establshed it even beats those credit cards in the big cities! problem is their money comes between 10th and 15th every month. so its very difficult to plan. i wonder why teachers get paid so late.

funny thing i bought petrol on a particular day from a shop! the lady even had regular, supar, diesel and even kerosene in jerry cans. guess how she measures one litre? using 1 litre coca cola bottle! in her shop, 1 litre of petrol went for 100/=.

but there are other better income initiatives eg bee keeping. a local NGO provides bee hives for 4K cash. however you can have one and pay in installments. this wil come to 6K. the honey is harvested after every 3 months. bee keeping is very lucrative. you sell the honey to that NGO, (most things are done by NGO in this part of the world there is very little govt presence in fact the only time you encounter govt is when they are raiding changaa and busaa bars for the mandatory 100 /= bribe! )

the bees do well as 750 ml bottle goes for 500 bob. most farmers get upwards of 10 litres per hive. some get 20 litres if their stories are true. other things you can sell are royal jelly, which goes for 5000 /=a kilo, propolis, bee wax etc. and did you know that bee sting cures athritis? i think bee keeping is very good. i wonder if Bankelele has compared this to trees yet.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

....the roads to '07

some of the roads had gulleys deep enough to burry a whole saloon car. in some places you had to do a balancing act especially with the rains. a little slip and you end up where all have ended. one day i just felt the rear of the car being moved sideways the car was going forward horizontaly instead of straight. and after getting the wheels on the gulleys on another day i decided to drive around with a jembe and a panga in the boot. the panga to clear the bushes growing on to the roads. you can imagine the constanation with which pple who opened the boot looked at me. i had to keep explaining myself all the time. luckily no policeman ever opened the boot so they never found those weapons of road construction. however when i decided to mend one of the gulleys, a number of pple came asking whether i am running for the '07 seat. coz why would u bother to make the roads unless u have paliamentary ambitions? indeed the non-vacant seat has attracted 10 aspirants already and locals are loving it. this time its mostly issue based. so aspirants are going over each other fencing dispensaries, paying fees, fund raising and so on. however roads are still a prob. only one aspirant has tried to do it.

but if you want a well done murram road then all you have to do is plant sugar cane. the farmers in the area have contributed to this noble cause since when mumias sugar guys come to cut the cane , they get stuck and that forces them to make the roads. areas with sugarcane plantations have 'very good' murram roads. infact some are even tarmacked. i drove on a very nice road between mayoni and nambale with very little or no traffic only cyclists.

in fact on bad stretches, the cyclists, also known as boda bodas were charging upwards of 300 /= for a 5 km ride. remember that on the hilly stretches both the passenger and the rider have to walk. so in effect you enjoy only about 3kms on the bike. but the good thing is that the boda boda guys are probably some of the best story tellers in the country and you wont realise that you actually paid him to walk by you instead of carry you! and did you hear about the bridge that was washed away? in fact many were washed away. so there was an alternative route, but the route had a formula which only the locals knew. so you paid 300 to be told how to go past it. if you didnt, then you would invariably get stuck then those locals would push or lift the car for you. you gota believe it. even an MP with a prado who thought he did not need the advice got stuck! now for the push or lift the price starts from 500 /= depending on the size of the vehicle. and here is the funny side, the pushers who had the strange luck come with the rains were obviously drinking on the job literally so that by ealy afternoon they were too drunk for the noble job!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

... and trees and money

in an earlier post, i had indicated that in five years you can sell one tree for 5K, well that was before i went for hols at home and indeed found out that the trees are sold for 14K each, after negotiation (intense) comes to 10K. the saw man takes 7/= per foot to turn the tree into timber. young siala trees about 1/2 year old are sold for 100 a piece. and by the way when you buy the tree, you are not entitled to its branches, leaves , bark and roots! those are negotiated differently. i guess in an election year with so much uncertainity, you are better off selling your shares and planting 1000 trees in your shags, you will be rich enough to go for an office (MP) in 2012. being an MP in kenya is currently the best investment. better even than kengen IPO!

but if you hate trees then try keeping pokot bulls for just one year, and see your money double or tripple before your very eyes. all u need is wellpaid maasai herdsman (no pun intended, these guys actually love animals and treat them with utmost dignity). the village economy ensures that come december, every household can buy meat and so the demand for the meaty pokot bulls soars through the roof like East African cables! in feb, they are selling their herd to pay school fees and so on.

however the leeward side of the pokot cattle is that they have brought with them a weed which cannot be finished, grows so fast and hinders even the most stubborn grass from growing.

in some areas, there are very many free roaming guinnea fowls. the birds are almost outnumbering the domestic fowls but they are too intelligent for the hunters at home. however one mzee has just the 'dawa' for them. can you believe it? changaa! pour changaa on the substance they use to make the brew. its called 'thing' back home i have no idea how its called in english. the guinea fowls love the stuff but quickly get drunk from changaa. you then just go and pick the choisest one and let the others get sober and flee!

Monday, January 08, 2007

of holidays and reality

got off to a long and deserved holiday last december. tried to blog a couple of times then decided to break on that as well. its true what they say about east and west. holiday at home among my ancestors was priceless. very relaxing, calming, humbling and rewarding. the air is fresh, the people real, the roads adventurous. actually the road situation needs urgent action. this is not forgivable for a country which has been independent for almost a half a century!

other disturbing things were like the school situation in the area. most primary schools have an average of 4 teachers thats if you count the headteacher. addtionaly., teachers get an average of 2 days off when they go to get their pay every month. thanks to FPE, most classes have more than 100 pupils meaning that the teacher has to place 100 ticks (or x) for each question. do the math if tht teacher is a maths teacher. the classes are packed so the teacher cannot move within the class. his/her attention is only on the few kids sitting in front of class. while this is happening, the freeze on teacher recruitment continues and the prezos salary gets raised as are those of the MPs. coldi may suggest that we privatise education as well.

those kids are supposed to compete with those from other parts of the country with a teacher ratio of 1:20 or even 1:10 in some cases. Ngumu!

and still on the FPE, i heard of married pple in class 5 learning with 11 year olds, consequently, the old men (some as old as 26) are sedducing the kids, and introducing them to adult tinking eg writing love letters , going out and so on. remember that the teachers are overwhlemed and so they cannot keep a keen eye on the goins on!