From huge profits to junk paper: The fall of Kenya’s corporate bond market – The Standard





Capital Markets Authority acting CEO Wycliffe Shamia (R) and Nairobi Stock exchange CEO Geoffrey Odundo during a workshop on Sovereign Green Bond Project at Enashipai Resort in Naivasha in January 2020. Shamia exuded confidence that the performance of the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) will improve this year. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

After enjoying big rewards, bondholders are now staring at big losses.

The market has remained illiquid for some time now.

From the look of it, no corporate bond portfolio was safe as each sector saw their underlying bonds lose value and demand in the secondary market, thanks to the confidence crisis triggered by the collapse of key bonds.

The saving grace seems to be the green bond that began trading at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) earlier this year.

Besides, two bonds have in the last few months received an early call, meaning the issuing companies have made arrangements to settle the debt before their maturity.

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The last five years have seen at least five big firms that have floated a corporate bond, including at the NSE, collapse spectacularly, inflicting endless grief on investors.

Since then, capital markets experts led by the regulator have been scrambling to restore confidence, but the appetite for the private commercial paper seems to have died long ago.

Investors often focus on stock and bond prices as a measure of an economy’s health.