|Friday 23rd of August 2019
24-JUN-2019 :: Wizard of Oz World. @TheStarKenya
When at last he grants an audience to all of them at once, he seems to
be a disembodied voice. Eventually, it is revealed that Oz is actually
none of these things, but rather an ordinary conman from Omaha,
Nebraska, who has been using elaborate magic tricks and props to make
himself seem “great and powerful”.
03-JUN-2019 :: Bond Yields in "Tilt" Mode -
This macro gale force level move has pulled US 10-Yr Treasuries to a
20-month low of 2.15% [Last November it was at 3.24%]. Rate markets in
the US have now priced in close to 85bp cumu- latively of easing by
the end of 2020. (via JPM).The US Curve has inverted and typically
curve inversions are harbingers of recession.
Markets and prices exhibit patterns of correlation and essentially my
perspective is that it is the correlation that has exerted a ‘’Pull’’
Effect on US Yields and that therefore the ‘’recessionary’’ Signalling
of the Yield Curve should be discounted.
It was as if the morning stood still, as if the sun had stopped for an immeasurable moment. In this light and silence, years of night and fury melted slowly away.
“From the olive-strewn forum, one could see the village down below.
Not a sound came from it; wisps of smoke rose in the limpid air. The
sea also lay silent, as if breathless beneath the unending shower of
cold, glittering light. From the Chenoua, a distant cock crow alone
sang the fragile glory of the day. Across the ruins, as far as one
could see, there were nothing but pitted stones and absinthe plants,
trees and perfect columns in the transparence of the crystal air. It
was as if the morning stood still, as if the sun had stopped for an
immeasurable moment. In this light and silence, years of night and
fury melted slowly away. I listened to an almost forgotten sound
within myself, as if my heart had long been stopped and was now gently
beginning to beat again.”
― Albert Camus, Lyrical and Critical Essays
Epstein: The Maxwell Connection (by @georgegalloway) @RT_com
Law & Politics
As Jeffrey Epstein’s accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell appears to have
fallen off the face of the Earth, it’s little remembered in the media
how I fought a long war against her father Robert and the part I
played in his downfall.
It would be scarcely worth recalling at this distance if it did not
shed light, or rather a cloud of suspicion, over Maxwell’s favourite
child Ghislaine, now at the centre of a dark and fascinating story as
bizarre as any which enveloped her late father.
I first met Robert Maxwell when he was an enormously powerful and
fiercely intimidating media mogul in the early 1980s. It was in the
green room of the BBC’s then flagship program Question Time, hosted by
Sir Robin Day – then the doyen of BBC grandees.
“Ah, Mr Galway (sic),” boomed Mr Maxwell, “the PLO man.” At which
point he punched me so hard in the solar plexus I doubled over, tears
in my eyes.
As was the wont of the British establishment at the time, my fellow
participants and Sir Robin himself averted their eyes and pretended
not to see.
At the time and for nearly a decade, I was closely associated with the
then-British satirical magazine Private Eye, writing regularly and
providing stories and leads for others, regularly attending the
legendary Private Eye lunches at the Soho waterie The Coach and
Horses, presided over by the founder and editor of the magazine,
About a year after Maxwell striking his first blow, I submitted a
story to Private Eye which, embellished by others, was published and
upon which he sued and fought an epic court battle with us. He won.
Although the editor Richard Ingrams spent a night in the cells for
refusing to name me as the source, it was soon obvious to Maxwell that
it was me and we began a war of attrition which lasted until his
In October of 1991, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and celebrity
journalist Seymour Hersh caused to be delivered to my home late one
Saturday night a file of papers, a synopsis of a book he had written
in which he made serious allegations against Maxwell.
So fearsome was Maxwell’s power at the time, he had obtained
pre-publication injunctions against anyone publishing any word of it,
against anyone printing it, against anyone distributing it, against
anyone selling it. In Britain, the Hersh book did not exist.
But I – as a member of the British Parliament – enjoyed the ancient
right of legal privilege on anything I said in the Parliament or
published on the Order Paper. Moreover, so could anyone else reporting
fairly anything I said or wrote there. And so I did.
Inter-alia I accused Maxwell of being a thief, of stealing his own
employee’s pension funds, of being an agent of the Israeli
intelligence service Mossad, and of betraying the whereabouts in
London of the brave Israeli Jewish whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu,
causing him to be kidnapped, drugged, and delivered, his jaws wired
like Hannibal Lector to ensure his silence, to Israel where he
eventually served decades in solitary confinement and even now is not
free to talk or travel.
My allegations exploded like a nuclear bomb in the life of Robert Maxwell.
He ordered his journalistic minions (whose pensions he had stolen) to
“Piss all over Galloway” and micturate they promptly did.
On the front page of all SIX of his national newspapers, they called
me “a jackal” of “scavenging in the dung-heap” a “friend of Arab
terrorists” (“Ah, Mr Galway (sic) the PLO man”) and above all of
having lied and lied about their proprietor.
Within weeks, the missing pensions were exposed, Maxwell was dead,
having fallen, jumped, or been pushed off the back of his yacht – the
Lady Ghislaine – off the Canary islands, and Maxwell was given a full
Israeli-state funeral on the Mount of Olives presided over by the
Israeli president, prime minister and no less than seven former and
serving heads of the Mossad.
In the eulogy, tribute was paid to the “extraordinary service” Mr
Maxwell had given to Israel. The full story of which exact “services”
he had provided were buried with him in Jerusalem.
The fateful yacht was called the Lady Ghislaine because his daughter
was his favourite child (other daughters were available) and she was
his favourite child for a reason. Of all her siblings, Ghislaine
Maxwell was the one who was most like him.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s father’s body was lost to the deep and murky
waters of international intrigue. Where she will turn up is as yet
unknown. What “extraordinary service” she performed and for whom
equally remains to be seen.
Oil headed for its first back-to-back weekly gain since June @business 55.35
West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery added 7 cents to
$55.42 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 12:08 p.m.
in Singapore. The contract fell 0.6% Thursday.
Brent for October climbed 14 cents, or 0.2%, to $60.06 on the ICE
Futures Europe Exchange after closing 0.6% lower on Thursday. The
global benchmark crude was trading at a premium of $4.64 a barrel to
'A kind of proxy war' @News24
Matt Bryden, Senior Policy Advisor to Nairobi-based think tank Sahan,
said the tensions had wider implications as Kenya was strongly backing
its ally Madobe while Ethiopia was siding with Mogadishu in trying to
Kenya sees Jubaland, a lush, relatively prosperous part of Somalia
where it has many troops, as a buffer between it and Al-Shabaab
militants who have staged several bloody attacks across the border.
Observers say that for Kenya, having an ally in Jubaland is also key
amid a spat with Mogadishu over maritime borders, with possibly
lucrative Indian Ocean oil and gas reserves at stake.
Ethiopia also has troops there, and played a key role in the formation
of the state, however new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has renewed ties
with Mogadishu, and is now backing their stance in what is seen as a
rejection of the historical alliance with Nairobi.
"So what we now risk is a kind of proxy war... External contestation
over Jubaland represents a risk to the stability of the region, not
just to Somalia," said Bryden.
Zambia's Government Says Corn-Meal Prices of 'Grave Concern'
Record-high and rising prices for corn meal in Zambia are the result
of distortion and a matter of “grave concern,” according to
Information Minister Dora Siliya.
“This is a clear case of price distortion by unscrupulous retailers
who wish to enjoy abnormal profits at the expense of ordinary
Zambians,” Siliya said in an emailed statement Thursday.
Egypt Cuts Rates First Time in Six Months After Inflation Relief @economics
Egypt cut interest rates for the first time in six months as slowing
inflation and a stable currency allowed the central bank to shrug off
the risk of contagion from an emerging-market selloff.
The Monetary Policy Committee reduced its benchmark deposit rate by
150 basis points to 14.25% and its lending rate to 15.25%, the bank
said Thursday in a statement.
Ten of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted a cut of at
least 100 basis points.
Even with Thursday’s reduction, “Egypt remains one of the highest
yielding emerging markets in real terms for offshore investors,” said
Bilal Khan, senior economist at Standard Chartered Plc in Dubai. The
bank expects “significant additional easing” of up to 400 basis points
Cuts of 150 basis points are possible this year and “should not have
an impact on foreign appetite for local Treasury instruments,”
according to Radwa El-Swaify, head of research at Cairo-based Pharos
Foreigners have been making “very lucrative” returns due to the
strength of the Egyptian pound against the U.S. dollar “and the
relatively low level of macro and country risk in Egypt compared to
other emerging markets,” she said.
Bamburi Cement reports H1 2019 EPS +9.524% Earnings here
Par Value: 5/-
Closing Price: 106.00
Total Shares Issued: 362959275.00
Market Capitalization: 38,473,683,150
Bamburi Cement Limited H1 2019 results through 30th June 2019 vs. 30th June 2018
H1 Turnover 18.663b vs. 18.556b +0.577%
H1 Operating costs [18.331m] vs. [17.392b] +5.399%
H1 Operating profit 332m vs. 1.164b -71.478%
H1 Other gains and losses [61m] vs. [458m] -86.681%
H1 Impairment losses on Property, Plant and Equipment [73m] vs. –
H1 Finance costs - net [175m] vs. 16m -1,193.750%
H1 Profit before tax 23m vs. 722m -96.814%
H1 Taxation 370m vs. [323m] +214.551%
H1 Profit for the period 393m vs. 399m -1.504%
H1 Other comprehensive income net of tax [4m] vs. [99m] -95.960%
H1 Total Comprehensive Income 389m vs. 300m +29.667%
EPS 1.61 vs. 1.47 +9.524%
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period 1.289b vs. 2.860b -54.930%
Equity attributable to owners of the company 28.837b
Overall, the Group's turnover in the first half of 2019 remained flat
on account of a contracted cement market in Kenya and further
adversely impacted by significant drop in cement uptake by the SGR
project compared to same time last year when Phase 2A was still
In addition, the Uganda operations were impacted by the continuing
closure of the Uganda/Rwanda border, which has rendered the Rwanda
The first half of the year was challenging with operating profit
reducing to KES 0.3 billion from KES 1.2 billion. Higher depreciation
charge following the commissioning of additional capacity expansion
projects in both Kenya and Uganda mid last year impacted operating
The 2018 comparator base did not have the impact of the incremental
depreciation charge. Additionally, the difficulty in accessing the
Rwanda market has not only led to loss off profit margin, but also to
the need to impair associated assets in Rwanda.
Operationally, 2019 has been impacted by higher energy and logistics
costs fuelled by higher than prior year power tariffs and increase in
fuel prices over the same period last year.
The net impact of these being that the Group's operating profit
declined by 72% compared to first half of 2018.
Profit before tax declined to KES 0.2 billion from KES 0.7 billion
mainly influenced by lower operating profit, increase in finance cost
because of the long-term loan taken in Uganda to finance capacity
expansion, and the impairment of assets in Rwanda.
Net Comprehensive income after tax
Net comprehensive income after tax at KES 0.4 billion was however
higher than 2018 at KES 0.3 billion thanks to the tax benefit from the
capacity expansion projects commissioned in the previous year.
As a consequence, the earnings per share grew to KES 1.61 from KES 1.47 in 2018.
Cash generated from operating activities at KES 1 billion was lower
than same period prior year at KES 1.7 billion, mainly on account of
lower operating profit.
Uganda closed the first half of 2019 in a net borrowing position,
while Kenya remained cash positive.
In the second half of 2019, the Group profitability is expected to
progressively recover due to the topline growth and cost management
initiatives despite the challenging environment.
However, the impact of the difficulties experienced at the
Uganda/Rwanda border is a downside risk and the Group hopes this
matter will be resolved swiftly.
The Group will continue to execute the "Building for Growth" strategic
agenda, while maintaining focus on cost optimisation in order to grow
profitably and competitively.
The Board of Directors does not recommend payment of an interim
dividend (KES 1.00/= per ordinary share paid in 2018).
BRITAM EA reports H1 2019 EPS +50.00% Earnings here
Closing Price: 6.90
Total Shares Issued: 2523486816.00
Market Capitalization: 17,412,059,030
Britam Holdings PLC H1 2019 results through 30th June 2019 vs. 30th June 2018
H1 Gross earned premiums 12.616363b vs. 12.525964b +0.722%
H1 Reinsurance premium ceded [1.805116b] vs. [1.748042b] +3.265%
H1 Net earned premiums 10.811247b vs. 10.777922b +0.309%
H1 Investment income 2.724043b vs. 3.661583b -25.605%
H1 Net unrealized fair value gains on financial assets through profit
or loss 2.381429b vs. 1.566469b +52.025%
H1 Total revenue 16.942265b vs. 16.848393b +0.557%
H1 Insurance claims and loss adjustment expenses [5.905353b] vs.
H1 Amount recoverable from reinsurers 1.108964b vs. 1.258708b -11.897%
H1 Change in actuarial value of policyholder benefits [1.834136b] vs.
H1 Net insurance benefits and claims [6.630525b] vs. [7.540300b] -12.066%
H1 Operating and other expenses [4.165422b] vs. [4.349919b] -4.241%
H1 Total expenses [14.469047b] vs. [15.485558b] -6.564%
H1 PBT 2.426236b vs. 1.366204b +77.590%
H1 Income tax [753.159m] vs. [385.182m] +95.533%
Profit for the period 1.673077b vs. 981.022m +70.544%
Basic and Diluted EPS 0.66 vs. 0.44 +50.000%
Total equity 25.818242b
Cash and cash equivalents at end of year 6.165434b
FINANCIAL RESULTS FOR THE PERIOD ENDED 30 JUNE 2019
The Board of Directors of Britam Holdings Plc is pleased to announce
the unaudited consolidated results for the 6-month period ended 30
Commentary on the Group Results
• The Group recorded a growth in profit before tax of 78 percent to
Shs 2.4 billion compared to Shs 1.4 billion in June 2018.
• Life assurance recorded earned premium growth of 3 percent and
continues cementing its position as the market leader.
• The embedded value increased to Shs 14.9 billion, a return of 11.9
percent as at the half year.
• In line with our regional expansion strategy, our international
insurance businesses contributed 19 percent of the Group's topline and
have contributed profitably to the Group.
• Total assets increased to Shs 113.8 billion, a 10 percent growth
from 31 December 2018.
• The shareholders' funds increased to Shs 25.7 billion, an 8 percent
growth from 31 December 2018.
• The asset management business continued its accelerated growth
achieving Assets Under Management of Shs 172.7 billion.
The Board of Directors does not recommend payment of interim dividend.