Nairobi Stock Exchange to Launch Derivatives Market

A man walks out of the Nairobi Stock Exchange in Kenya's capital Nairobi, file. REUTERS/Noor Khamis

The Nairobi stock exchange, Kenya aims to launch a derivatives market in the first half of 2019 after long delays and wants to list at least two new firms by the end of the year, executives at the Kenyan bourse said on Wednesday.

Nairobi’s bourse which is major entry point for foreigners seeking to invest in East Africa, has worked on plans for a derivatives market for years but has previously said it was taking longer than expected to set up the infrastructure.

“The general idea is to launch within this half of the year,” said Terrence Adembesa, the exchange’s derivatives market director, adding tests had been completed and a final request for approval to start trading had been sent to the regulator.

He did not give details of contracts to be traded, but the exchange said in the past it would start with stock index futures and would add single stock and currency futures later.

Exchange executives have said launching derivatives trading would boost liquidity on the bourse, which has 65 listed firms. It will become the second exchange in Sub-Saharan Africa to take such an initiative, after Johannesburg.

Bahati Morara, NSE’s business development director who was speaking at the same news conference, said the bourse aimed to list two new companies, supermarket chain Tuskys and state-run National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK), by the end of 2019.

The government announced its intention to list NOCK in September 2017 to raise $1 billion in a dual listing on the Nairobi bourse and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) by early 2019. “We are looking at a crosslisting this year,” Morara said, adding that the Nairobi bourse had been in talks with the LSE on an initial public offering (IPO) for NOCK since last year.

The bourse’s main NSE20 Share Index fell 24 percent in 2018 and has climbed about 4 percent since the start of 2019.