AccessKenya defies downward spiral at NSE


Published on 08/06/2009

By Macharia Kamau

Last Thursday, AccessKenya marked two years of trading at the Nairobi Stock Exchange.

The company was the first and still is the only ICT firm listed and trading at the bourse.

AccessKenya Group Managing Director Jonathan Somen (right) inspects the laying of the fibre optic cable in Westlands. In anticipation of changes that will come with the cable, the firm purchased capacity in Seacom late last month. [PHOTO: EVANS HABIL/STANDARD]

Its share price has gone up 100 per cent during the two-year period from its initial public offer price of Sh10 to more than Sh20 a share today.

This is in comparison to the general trend at the market, where prices have fallen by about 60 per cent in the last year.

AccessKenya Group Managing Director Jonathan Somen said the relatively better share price performance has been due to growth in business.

“Our corporate leased line customers have more than doubled from the 1,250 at the end of 2006 to over 2,800 today. Revenues grew from Sh578 million in 2006 to over 1.5 billion last year,” he said.

“There is tremendous upsurge of ICT usage in Kenya today, and we are therefore, able to deliver higher levels of growth. This large and fast growing market and strategic positioning of the company have all contributed to a real increase in shareholder value in the past two years,” Mr Somen said

In the recent past, the company that was previously doing corporate ISP has launched products targeted at other market segments.

expansion of services

Other than its core data services for corporate and residential customers, there has been an expansion of the IT services division with the acquisition of Satori Solutions’ Small Office Home Office business and the launch of @Home in Kenya portal, an information portal mostly hosting Kenyan content. In addition, the company is deploying a metro fibre network across Nairobi expected to link up 250 buildings.

“With the impending arrival of the international fibre, it will be essential for serious competitors to be able to deliver high quality, high speed services across the local loop, otherwise you end up with a glut of international bandwidth, but not enough capacity to deliver high speeds locally,” said Somen.

The sub-marine fibre optic cable, the first of which is expected in Kenya by end of this month or early next month, is expected to change the country’s ICT landscape. In anticipation of the changes, AccessKenya bought capacity in Seacom last month.

This is in addition to 2.5 gigabytes of bandwidth the company has in the Government fronted The East African Marine System project.

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