Uganda's Umeme wins approval to list shares in Kenya

NAIROBI Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:05pm EST

NAIROBI Dec 13 (Reuters) - Umeme Limited, Uganda's sole power distributor, has won regulatory approval to list its shares on the Kenyan stock exchange in a bid to improve trading in its stock.

The so-called cross-listing of all 1.62 million Umeme shares on the Nairobi Securities Exchange will also contribute to the goal of the five-nation East African Community (EAC) common market to integrate their financial markets.

The EAC comprises Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange is the largest and most liquid stock market in the EAC, providing better trading opportunities for Umeme's shareholders, 46 percent of which are foreigners.

Several Kenyan firms like Kenya Commercial Bank, East African Breweries and Kenya Airways have cross-listed their shares on the Tanzanian and Ugandan markets.

Umeme, which completed its initial public offering last month, will be the first EAC firm to cross-list in Nairobi, after winning approval from the Kenyan market regulator on Thursday.

Uganda's benchmark index is the second best performer in Africa so far this year, up 37.6 percent, after Nigeria's which is up 42.2 percent, Reuters data show.

The Nairobi 20-Share index is ranked third, up 25.8 percent so far this year. (Reporting by Beatrice Gachenge; Editing by Duncan Miriri and Mark Potter)