|Thursday 20th of February 2020
@realDonaldTrump 'offered Julian Assange a pardon if he denied Russia link to hack' @guardian
Law & Politics
Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a pardon if he would say Russia
was not involved in leaking Democratic party emails, a court in London
has been told.
The extraordinary claim was made at Westminster magistrates court
before the opening next week of Assange’s legal battle to block
attempts to extradite him to the US, where he faces charges for
publishing hacked documents.
The allegation was denied by the former Republican congressman named
by the Assange legal team as a key witness.
Assange’s lawyers alleged that during a visit to London in August
2017, congressman Dana Rohrabacher told the WikiLeaks founder that “on
instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some
other way out, if Mr Assange … said Russia had nothing to do with the
DNC [Democratic National Committee] leaks.”
A few hours later, however, Rohrabacher denied the claim, saying he
had made the proposal on his own initiative, and that the White House
had not endorsed it.
“At no time did I talk to President Trump about Julian Assange,” the
former congressman wrote on his personal blog.
“Likewise, I was not directed by Trump or anyone else connected with
him to meet with Julian Assange. I was on my own fact finding mission
at personal expense to find out information I thought was important to
05-DEC-2016:: "We have a deviate, Tomahawk."
Law & Politics
The first thing is plausible deniability
The second thing is non-linearity
He is right, traditional media has been disrupted and the insurgents
can broadcast live and over the top. From feeding the hot-house
conspiracy frenzy on line (‘’a constant state of destabilised
perception’’), timely and judicious doses of Wikileaks leaks which
drained Hillary’s bona fides and her turn-out and motivated Trump’s,
what we have witnessed is something remarkable and noteworthy.
Putin has proven himself an information master, and his adversaries
are his information victims.
As Cases Mount, Japan Is Rapidly Becoming a Coronavirus Hotbed @business
Law & Politics
Japan is emerging as one of the riskiest places for the spread of the
coronavirus, prompting criticism that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s
government has misfired on its policies to block the outbreak.
The number of infections in Japan has more than doubled in the past
week to 74, rivaling Singapore as the country outside mainland China
with the most cases.
The government is being faulted for being too slow to bar visitors
from China and too lax in its quarantine of the Diamond Princess
cruise ship, where infections surged during two weeks docked in
While the hundreds of cases aboard the ship have grabbed the world’s
attention, they are not counted among Japan’s total.
What appears to be more troublesome is that Japan is starting to see a
surge in cases in multiple areas across the country -- sometimes with
little to link the outbreaks.
Adding to the worries is that passengers began leaving the quarantined
vessel Wednesday amid concerns some might later test positive and take
the virus to more parts of Japan.
The situation is growing more alarming as Japan’s elderly population
and work ethic present high-risk scenarios for the outbreak’s spread.
“The Japanese government’s decision to wait for the China-friendly WHO
to make its much-delayed declaration of a global health emergency led
to the first cases of domestic person-to-person transmission and
tarnished the country’s international reputation,” Richard Koo, chief
economist at Nomura Research Institute, wrote in a report.
“The coronavirus will probably cause a substantial amount of economic
damage in Japan,” Koo wrote. The Abe administration, he says, “managed
to completely drop the ball on this issue.”
A Bloomberg survey released Wednesday showed that economists see Japan
falling into recession as the coronavirus pummels an economy already
weakened by a sales tax hike.
While a handful of the cases in the country are evacuees from Hubei
province, the vast majority are Japan residents, many with no history
of traveling to China.
Among those have been several taxi drivers, suspected of having
extensive interactions with the public before their diagnoses.
A party on board a pleasure boat for a group of taxi drivers is
believed to be at the heart of one cluster of cases in Tokyo,
spreading to at least 11 people.
Among those infected was the mother-in-law of one of the drivers, who
became Japan’s only confirmed domestic death from the virus to date.
Health experts warn that the countries with the greatest public risks
for the virus are poor states with few resources to fight the disease,
such as China’s neighbor North Korea.
Developed states with advanced health-care systems like Japan are best
suited to treat patients and conduct tests to find those infected.
As the threat of the coronavirus became apparent in January, Japan’s
stance of rejecting travel bans for Chinese tourists stood in stark
contrast to nations such as Australia, which barred entry.
Chinese tourism to Japan hit a January record high, with Tokyo’s
travel curbs only taking effect on Feb 1.
And while businesses in Hong Kong and Singapore implemented
work-from-home experiments on a scale never before seen, Abe merely
acknowledged telework as “one effective strategy.”
While a growing number of companies are banning events and allowing
employees to work from home to contain the spread, there has been
little push to implement a wide-scale lockdown.
Tokyo rush-hour trains remained as packed as ever, leading Abe to call
on Japan’s famously hard-working residents to stay home from work or
students from school if they suspect they have a cold.
With the cases mounting internally, Japan received a rare rebuke from
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the way it
managed the quarantine on the cruise ship, saying “it may not have
been sufficient to prevent transmission.”
The U.S. and others placed a 14-day quarantine on repatriated
nationals, but about 500 people cleared by Japan left the ship
Wednesday to go about their normal lives, and were told to call
authorities if they feel ill.
One of the enduring images of the current coronavirus outbreak is a space-age looking thermometer pointed at an airplane passenger. @CNN
Law & Politics
While the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has screened
more than 30,000 passengers in the past month, not a single US
coronavirus case has been caught by airport temperature checks,
according to a CNN investigation.
There has long been debate about the usefulness of airport temperature
checks, but this recent experience at US airports, plus a new European
study, seem to point in the direction that they don't work.
Earlier this month, British researchers published a study showing that
temperature checks will fail to detect a coronavirus infection nearly
half the time.
Some experts are convinced that for these reasons, temperature checks
at airports are useless.
"I don't think airport temperature checks have any major effect on
stopping or even slowing down transmission," said Michael Osterholm,
an epidemiologist and professor at the University of Minnesota School
of Public Health. "We just don't have any good data to support that."
The Industrially Necessary Doctor @DrTedros The truth is that only now - TWO MONTHS INTO THE EPIDEMIC - is ⁦@WHO sending a "team" to "start investigating" the virus. ⁦@EpsilonTheory
Law & Politics
The truth is that WHO has done nothing more than parrot the official
Chinese Communist Party line since the day the world learned of
The truth is that only now – TWO MONTHS INTO THE EPIDEMIC – is WHO
sending a “team” to “start investigating” the virus.
To be sure, WHO’s Director General, Dr. Tedros, has been to China
several times since the disease broke out, glad-handing (again,
literally) President Xi and all the other CCP mandarins.
Tedros said there was no need for measures that “unnecessarily
interfere with international travel and trade,” and he specifically
said that stopping flights and restricting Chinese travel abroad was
“counter-productive” to fighting the global spread of the virus.
This is the Director General of the World Health Organization. On February 4th.
“We call on all countries to implement decisions that are
evidence-based and consistent,” said Tedros. Roger that.
There’s just one problem.
The “evidence” here – taken without adjustment or question from the
CCP – was a baldfaced lie.
And everyone at WHO knew it.
How do I know that everyone at WHO knew that the official Chinese
numbers were a crock on Feb. 4?
Because WHO-sponsored doctors in Hong Kong published independent
studies on Jan. 31 showing that the official Chinese numbers were a
In our baseline scenario, we estimated that the basic reproductive
number for 2019-nCoV was 2.68 (95% CrI 2.47–2.86) and that 75,815
individuals (95% CrI 37,304–130,330) have been infected in Wuhan as of
Jan 25, 2020.
Will this disease spread farther and faster … will more people DIE …
because WHO Director General Tedros recommended as best practice on
February 4th that flights and visa issuance in and out of China
continue without significant disruption?
Yes. I think so.
And what is this “fake news”?
Fake news is now defined as anything that disputes WHO data, which
means that fake news is now defined as anything that disputes the
official China party line.
Where possible, China wants to criminalize any speech … any social
media … that does not follow the official party line. Where it’s not
possible to criminalize that speech, China wants to ban it through the
cooperative censorship of global tech and media platforms.
Where it’s not possible to ban that speech, China wants to shame it
into the shadows by getting us to reject it as “fake news”.
But what is happening at the most senior levels of the World Health
Organization is not just a disgrace. It is not just a humiliation for
the people who are doing good and important work.
It is a betrayal of the entire world.
The Answer BY BEI DAO
Law & Politics
Debasement is the password of the base,
Nobility the epitaph of the noble.
See how the gilded sky is covered
With the drifting twisted shadows of the dead.
The Ice Age is over now,
Why is there ice everywhere?
The Cape of Good Hope has been discovered,
Why do a thousand sails contest the Dead Sea?
I came into this world
Bringing only paper, rope, a shadow,
To proclaim before the judgment
The voice that has been judged:
Let me tell you, world,
If a thousand challengers lie beneath your feet,
Count me as number thousand and one.
I don't believe the sky is blue;
I don't believe in thunder's echoes;
I don't believe that dreams are false;
I don't believe that death has no revenge.
U.S. designates five Chinese media companies as "foreign missions" via @bpolitics
Law & Politics
The U.S. designated five Chinese media companies as “foreign
missions,” a decision that reflects the Trump administration’s view
that the communist party of Xi Jinping is imposing increasingly
draconian government-control over news services, senior State
Department officials said.
The State Department’s foreign mission designation includes Xinhua
News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio
International, China Daily Distribution Corp. and Hai Tian Development
USA, the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday.
The designation requires the outlets to adhere to requirements similar
to those imposed on embassies and consulates in the U.S., including
registering their current properties and getting prior approval for
any acquisitions of new ones, the officials said.
China’s foreign ministry denounced the move, saying the country’s
media outlets helped promote understanding and adding that Beijing
would “reserve the right” to retaliate.
“We urge the U.S. to discard its ideological prejudice and Cold War
zero-sum-game mentality, and stop ill-advised measures that undermine
bilateral trust and cooperation,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told
reporters at a regular briefing Wednesday in Beijing.
Separately, Geng said that authorities had revoked the local press
credentials of three Wall Street Journal staff members over a Feb. 3
commentary with a headline describing China as the “real sick man of
Geng said China expected the newspaper to apologize for using “a
racially discriminatory title, triggering indignation and condemnation
among the Chinese people and the international community.”
The U.S. made the decision on the Chinese media outlets as it sees Xi
stepping up his control of the country’s media in an effort to better
control the government’s message and expands its overseas media
operations, the officials said.
The U.S. government doesn’t view these media outlets as independent,
the officials said.
CGTN America, the U.S. division of China’s state-owned broadcaster,
registered as a foreign agent in 2019 in response to a request from
the Justice Department.
Other U.S. partners of Chinese media entities, including the China
Daily Distribution Corp. and Hai Tian Development U.S.A., Inc., both
of which distribute newspapers, have been registered for decades.
Other international news organizations have also registered as foreign
agents with the Justice Department, including T&R Productions LLC, a
U.S. contractor for Russian state broadcaster RT, which registered in
At the time, the U.S. Congress was investigating RT’s role in Russia’s
interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as possible
influence by Sputnik, a state-run news agency.
Welcome, to the Year of the Virus @asiatimesonline
Law & Politics
Academic Xu Zhiyong, the founder of the social campaign New Citizens
Movement, was reportedly arrested at the weekend in the southern city
of Guangzhou after accusing General Secretary Xi of being “clueless.”
“The virus outbreak shows just how important values like freedom of
expression and transparency are – the exact values that Xu has long
advocated,” Yaqiu Wang, a China researcher at Human Rights Watch,
Another high-profile victim appears to be Xu Zhangrun, a
well-respected professor of law at the prestigious Tsinghua University
After publishing an online critique of Xi entitled Viral Alarm: When
Fury Overcomes Fear, he was placed under house arrest by the security
forces and barred from using the internet, according to media reports.
“They confined him at home under the pretext that he had to be
quarantined after a trip,” a close friend told the London-based
newspaper, The Guardian. “He was in fact under de facto house arrest
and his movements were restricted.”
A climate of “fear” now exists as China’s central government closes
down chatrooms of dissent. Moreover, every aspect of the coronavirus
coverage on state-run media has Xi at the center of the message.
Even so, that has failed to hide the damage which has been inflicted
on the country’s political elite, especially after the death of
“People’s Martyr” and Wuhan whistleblower Li Wenliang.
“Given that it was China’s prevailing ‘Ministry of Fear’ approach to
freedom of information that allowed the virus to silently infect
communities, it remains to be seen whether this doubling down will see
Xi emerge as China’s savior or a victim of the sunk-cost fallacy – an
increasing commitment to ever-diminishing rewards,” Chris Taylor, an
associate partner with the Access Asia Group, a risk-management firm
based in Singapore, told Asia Times.
''Xi has extensive experience at silencing viral ideas, but
controlling an actual virus itself is outside his experience, so at
the very least we can say he appears to be playing a high-risk game,”
“The myth that Xi and his supporters have sustained about the virtues
of centralized control has been demolished.
Li’s parting words, ‘A healthy society should not have only one
voice,’ will remain etched in the minds of hundreds of millions of
Chinese, who have seen for themselves that censorship can endanger
Welcome, to the Year of the Virus.
2-SEP-2019 :: the China EM Frontier Feedback Loop Phenomenon. #COVID19
China EM Frontier Feedback Loop Phenomenon. This Phenomenon was
positive for the last two decades but has now undergone a Trend
The Fall-out is being experienced as far away as Germany Inc. The ZAR
is the purest proxy for this Phenomenon.
African Countries heavily dependent on China being the main Taker are
also at the bleeding edge of this Phenomenon.
This Pressure Point will not ease soon but will continue to intensify.
Crazy times. Lebanon's yields hit 1,000% as the government calls in bond advisers. @markets @NettyIsmail H/T @PaulWallace123
A bond yield soars to more than 1,000%? It just happened with Lebanon.
The nation’s next maturing Eurobond, $1.2 billion of notes due on
March 9, fell to a record low of 60 cents on Wednesday, sending the
annualized yield to 1,290%.
The Beirut-based Al-Akhbar newspaper reported Wednesday that the
Lebanese government will formally ask financial and legal advisers how
it should handle its Eurobonds, with a view to potentially
Lebanon is reaching out to banks including Citigroup Inc., Rothschild
& Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the newspaper said. It didn’t say
where it got the information.
Most of Lebanon’s other Eurobonds have fallen to below 35 cents, while
its five-year credit-default swaps hover around 5,260 basis points,
the highest in the world, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The price of the March debt has tumbled more than 20 cents since the
start of February.
While Lebanon has enough foreign-exchange reserves to service its
external liabilities through 2021, the costs would be so high that
this strategy is “politically unrealistic,” Fitch Ratings said this
Where does Lebanon go from here?
Lebanon will most likely have to restructure its debts as it will find
it difficult to get external funding, according to Standard Chartered
While authorities seem reluctant to request financial assistance from
the IMF -- they only want technical advice for now --- a bailout
program would be the best way of restoring confidence in Lebanon’s
economic and financial outlook, the bank said.
“A default or restructuring of external-debt commitments without a
clear funding plan or economic framework would further strain
Lebanon’s already-uncertain economic, political and social situation,”
Carla Slim, an economist at Standard Chartered in Dubai, said in a
A devaluation of the currency, which has been pegged to the dollar
since 1997, is increasingly likely if the nation fails to secure
external funding of at least $10 billion this year, she said.
The Lebanese pound trades around 2,400 per dollar on the black market,
almost 40% weaker than the official rate of 1,507.5, according to
local website lebaneselira.org.
Research Announcement: Moody's - Shift in debt structure increases Sub-Saharan African sovereigns' vulnerability to financial shocks @MoodysInvSvc
Sub-Saharan African sovereigns' debt has increased and affordability
SSA sovereigns have increased their reliance on external private
creditors in recent years
Although the debt burdens of most Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) governments
will stabilise in 2020-21 after years of increase, several sovereigns
are now increasingly vulnerable to a financing shock, Moody's
Investors Service said in a report today.
Credit risks are highest in countries where unfavourable debt
structures coincide with narrow external buffers, financing
constraints on domestic banking sectors and weak debt-management
The Republic of the Congo, Mozambique and Zambia are most exposed,
while Ghana, Angola and Kenya are also vulnerable but to a lesser
"Sub-Saharan African sovereigns' debt has increased and affordability
has deteriorated, with government debt now exceeding 50% of GDP in
more than half of the sovereigns we rate in the region," said Daniela
Re Fraschini, a Moody's AVP-Analyst and the report's co-author.
"At the same time, a shift in creditor bases has increased credit
risks in several countries."
With countries having greater access to capital markets, issuance on
domestic and international capital markets has increased and the share
of borrowing from multilateral lenders has fallen.
Although this has diversified funding sources, fostered investor
scrutiny on macro-fiscal policy and provided funding for development
spending, it has also increased exposure to global financing
conditions, amplified foreign-currency exposures and increased
At the same time, in some countries bilateral lending has shifted
toward non-traditional creditors that usually offer less transparent
and predictable terms.
The domestic banking sector remains the main holder of domestic bonds
and a significant portion of total government debt and its absorption
capacities may be limited, especially when the sector is small
relative to the sovereign's financing needs.
improvements in debt management have not been commensurate to the
risks from higher debt levels and debt structures more exposed to
Indian Navy Adds 'Invisible' Anti-Submarine Warship to Indian Ocean Fleet @SputnikInt
China has been adding around 20 warships a year while the Indian Navy,
a dominant force in the Indian Ocean, has managed to add just one or
two warships a year. In December 2019 alone, China added three
anti-submarine warfare (ASW)-capable Type 056A (Jiangdao)-class
Amid competition from China to remain a dominant force, the Indian
Navy added Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) corvettes on Tuesday that will
boost its maritime strength in the Indian Ocean.
“The ASW corvettes have catapulted the Indian Navy into the elite club
of countries that have built stealth ships,” GRSE said, while adding
that the stealth features make the ships almost invisible to the
enemy, both above and below the sea surface.
Named "Kavaratti", the 109 meters long warship is the last in the
series of four Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvettes (ASWC) built by the
This class of warships is equipped to fight in nuclear, biological,
and chemical warfare conditions and features the integration of a host
of weapons and sensors.
.@SafaricomPLC Likely to Borrow to Fund Ethiopia Telecom Bid @business
Safaricom Plc., weighing an offer for Ethiopia’s telecom business
later this year, plans to take on debt to fund a joint bid by a
consortium including parent Vodacom Group Ltd. and two other entities.
“We do know the investment to build the network in Ethiopia will be
big,” Safaricom’s interim Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph said
in an interview at the company’s Nairobi headquarters.
“So all of us will have to borrow to invest. The composition of the
consortium will be on your willingness and your capability of taking
on debt and your willingness to take a risk.”
The privatization of Ethiopian Telecommunications Corp. and issuance
of two spectrum licenses has been delayed by elections that were
pushed to August from May, according to Joseph.
The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed hasn’t yet provided
guidance on the bidding process including any limits of foreign
investors ownership, he said.
East Africa’s biggest company had total borrowings of 4 billion
shillings ($39.5 million) in 2019, and 36.3 billion shillings ($358
million) in undrawn bank facilities, according to its annual report.
Revenue has been rising every year since 2003, when the company became
profitable, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Unlike Kenya, where Safaricom’s business became profitable within
three and a half years, Joseph said Ethiopia is “probably a ten year
Opening up the telecommunications industry is part of a raft of
reforms to liberalize Ethiopia’s economy as Abiy looks to increase
foreign capital inflows.
Other carriers including Orange SA and MTN Group Ltd. have expressed
interest in expanding in the nation with a relatively low level of
data penetration and internet access, as well as the second-highest
population in Africa of over 100 million people.
In December, Ethiopia’s investment-promotion agency released proposed
regulations that would reserve banking and micro-finance for local
investors, which would prevent Safaricom from providing such services
via its M-Pesa payments platform.
“We cannot go in there as Safaricom and provide mobile money services
if we have to give it all away to somebody else just under some sort
of technical support, “ Joseph said.
“We will if we have to but in the end we want to have a license to
provide those services so the regulations will have to change.”
Chinese fish found with 427 times recommended amount of lead @dailynation
Despite the long distance, the fish from China arrives at a retail
price of Sh230 a kilo. This is less than half of the Sh500 that local
fishmongers ask for.
A Nation investigation then revealed that the fish had traces of
mercury, lead, arsenic and copper. When we shared our findings with
the Kenya National Bureau of Standards (KEBS), the agency whose job it
is to set safety standards, denied that the fish imports posed any
danger to human health.
“All imports to Kenya are required to be tested in the country of
origin and if they meet the specifications in the standards, they are
issued with a certificate of conformity. Upon arrival in Kenya, the
imports are subjected to destination inspection,” Kebs said at the
A year later, the Nation went back and sampled even bigger numbers of
the fish, this time from Kisumu, and the results were shocking.
As part of the ''Rotting from the Deep'' investigative series, we
bought a 10-kg box of Tilapia fish freshly shipped from China.
The fish, after its arrival in Kenya, is repackaged in white boxes
emblazoned with “fresh and delicious” and “gutted head on and
quick-frozen” on the sides.
The fish samples had seven dangerous pesticides among them phosalone,
which was detected at 0.07 parts per million (ppm). This is seven
times more than the maximum allowable limit (MAL) of 0.01 ppm.
Other pesticides detected in the fish from China include tolyfluanid
(0.022 ppm), flutonail (0.022ppm), deltamethrin (0.026ppm),
acrinathrin (0.005ppm), pretilachlor (0.005) and tebufenpyrad at
These classes of pesticides can cause cancer, mouth ulceration,
dysphagia and abdominal pain, among other diseases, if ingested.
However, this is not all that Kenyans should worry about.
Lead in fish from China was found at 42.7 ppm. This is 427 times the
FAO/WHO recommended level of 0.1ppm.
“The Chinese fish obtained in Kisumu town had lead (Pb) at levels far
above the CODEX recommended residue levels of 0.1ppm,” a report
prepared by the scientists from the University of Nairobi said.
The same fish samples had relatively high levels of zinc (Zn) though
below the CODEX MAL of 30ppm. Excess Zinc causes stomach flu or what
is known as gastroenteritis. This is a common condition that causes
diarrhoea and vomiting.
Available data shows fish imports crossed the Sh2 billion mark in
2017, and this figure has been doubling every year.
BAT FY 2020 EPS -4.896% Earnings here
Par Value: 10/-
Closing Price: 499.50
Total Shares Issued: 100000000.00
Market Capitalization: 49,950,000,000
British American Tobacco Kenya PLC FY 2019 Results through 31st
December 2019 vs. 31st December 2018
FY Gross revenue 39.827b vs. 36.496b +9.127%
FY Excise duty and VAT [15.788b] vs. [15.746b] +0.267%
FY Net revenue 24.039b vs. 20.750b +15.851%
FY Cost of operations [18.313b] vs. [14.531b] +26.027%
FY Profit from operations 5.726b vs. 6.219b -7.927%
FY Finance costs [193m] vs. [338m] -42.899%
FY PBT 5.533b vs. 5.881b -5.917%
FY Income tax expense [1.648b] vs. [1.796b] -8.241%
FY PAT 3.885b vs. 4.085b -4.896%
FY Net fair value gain/[loss]on currency hedges 20m vs. [1m] +2,100.00%
FY Dividend per share 33.5 vs. 35 -4.286%
FY Basic and diluted EPS 38.85 vs. 40.85 -4.896%
Shareholders’ funds 9.715b vs. 9.310b +4.350%
Net cash from operating activities 7.684b vs. 5.301b +44.954%
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year 1.811b vs. 190m +853.158%
The Company performed well in Kenya and across its export markets to
deliver good revenue growth.
However, profitability was lower due to significant increases in
regulatory costs in Kenya following the introduction of a solatium
contributory levy (Solatium) impact and a 20% increase in excise duty
rates during the year.
Gross revenue increased by 9.1% to KSh 39.8 billion. This was driven
by excise-led pricing on cigarettes in Kenya, increased cutrag
(semi-processed tobacco) sales volumes into Sudan and the introduction
of new category revenue in Kenya following the launch of LYFT (modern
oral nicotine pouches without tobacco).
However, the excise-led price increases have continued to adversely
impact consumer affordability leading to lower cigarette sales volume
and a high incidence of illicit trade of 11.3%.
Net revenue increased in line with gross revenue, with excise duty and
value added tax (VAT) marginally decreasing due to the drop in sales
volumes in Kenya as explained above.
The cost of operations increased by 26% to KSh 18.3 billion, mainly
due to the estimated impact of the introduction of Solatium in 2019.
We continue to engage government authorities to clarify the basis of
computing this levy and ensure it does not adversely impact the
Company’s competitiveness especially on exports.
Higher cutrag sales volumes as well as inflationary cost increases
also drove costs up, but these were partially offset by the positive
contribution of productivity initiatives.
These incremental costs led to a decline in operating margins by 6.2pp to 23.8%.
Finance costs reduced by 43% to KSh 193 million driven by lower
overdraft utilisation in the period under review.
This is due to the higher underlying profitability and continued
improvements in working capital management in 2019.
Profit before tax reduced despite the revenue growth and reduced
financing costs due to incremental cost of operations as explained
Net cash from operating activities increased by 45% to KSh 7.7
billion, driven by the improved profitability and further gains from
working capital management.
A significant part of this cash has been reinvested in establishing a
factory for the manufacture of modern oral nicotine pouches without
tobacco in our Nairobi manufacturing hub.
Contribution to Government revenues
Taxes in the form of Excise Duty, VAT, Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and
Corporation Tax reduced by KSh 265 million (1.4%) to KSh 18.0 billion
in 2019 as a result of lower sales volumes in Kenya and lower
The Board of Directors has proposed a final dividend in respect of the
year ended 31 December 2019 of KSh 30.00 per share to be recommended
for approval by the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting to be
held on 29 April 2020.
The final dividend, when added to the interim dividend already paid,
gives a total dividend of KSh 33.50 per share. The dividend, which is
subject to withholding tax, will be paid on 29 April 2020 to the
shareholders on the register at the close of business on 20 March
PE Ratio of 12.8571.
Net Revenue gain +9.127% translated into a PBT retreat of -5.917%
Trend speaks to lowers sales volume and illicit trade of 11.3% which
could trend higher