Wednesday 27th May 2015
NEWS TICKER: WEDNESDAY, MAY 27TH: Orezone Gold Corporation (ORE-TSX) says a mining permit application has been submitted to the government of Burkina Faso for the construction and operation of its wholly owned Bomboré gold project. The application is based upon the recently announced positive Feasibility Study (April 28, 2015) and includes an environmental and social impact assessment and a relocation action plan (RAP) for the local people affected by the project. The four to eight month permitting process includes public hearings and a complete review by the Ministry of Mines and Energy1 (MEE) and the Ministry of Environment and Durable Development2 (MEDD) and the National Mining Commission3 (NMC), a technical panel. During a weekly cabinet session in parliament the recommendations of the NMC are reviewed and once approved, the permit is a Decree signed by the President of Burkina Faso, the Minister of Economy and Finances, the Minister of MEE and the Minister of MEDD - BNP Paribas Securities Services says its BNP Paribas Dealing Services subsidiary has been selected to manage the dealing activities of RPMI Railpen, the investment manager for the Railways Pension Scheme (RPS). RPS is the sixth largest pension scheme in the UK. Following its decision to bring some of its investment activities in house, RPMI Railpen says it was looking for a dealing desk solution to optimise the execution of its market transactions. RPMI Railpen manages the assets of the RPS on behalf of its parent company, the Railways Pension Trustee Company Limited. Railpen Investments, its investment arm, is an FCA authorised investment manager with assets under management exceeding £21bn - LIM Advisors Ltd, a Hong Kong based fund manager, has signed a milestone agreement to utilise SimCorp Dimension for a full front, middle and back office platform. The $2bn fund manager will leverage SimCorp Dimension to establish full operational capability across multiple asset classes, including equity, bonds, convertibles, listed futures & options and derivatives - Botswana-based grocery retailer, Choppies Enterprises Limited (Choppies) debuted on the Main Board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in the Food Retailers and Wholesalers sector and is the sixth listing on the exchange this year. The firm raised SAR575m in a secondary listing. Choppies boasts a wide FMCG portfolio, including its own private label products and leading international food brands. As a fast growing retailer on the continent, Choppies’ secondary listing on the JSE is intended to assist the company with access to capital needed to support its organic and acquisitive growth as well as establish its presence and public profile in strategic markets in Southern and East African markets. The group is currently the top supermarket chain in Botswana, holding significant market share of the overall national food retail market. Choppies currently operates 125 retail outlets in Southern Africa, comprising 72 stores in Botswana, 35 stores in South Africa and 18 stores in Zimbabwe. Through the listing, Choppies intends to increase its footprint in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia – Small World FS, the international payment services provider says it has processed £10bn in transactions since launching in 2006. The London-headquartered financial technology business now operates the third largest payout network in the world, with a global payout network of over 250,000 locations in 188 countries. This news comes after months of rapid expansion, including the extension of its digital services into 14 sending markets, as well as inking deals with the MTN Group, Africa’s largest mobile operator, and Nations Trust Bank, Sri Lanka’s fastest growing bank - Ullink, a global provider of market leading electronic trading and connectivity solutions, today announced that Kotak Institutional Equities (KIE), one of India's leading institutional brokers and a division of Kotak Securities has chosen Ullink’s UL Bridge connectivity solution. KIE has chosen UL Bridge to facilitate FIX messaging, message enrichment and order routing, to enhance its existing connectivity infrastructure. UL Bridge’s uniquely modular architecture works in conjunction with KIE’s Order Management System (OMS), allowing KIE to provide better execution services to more clients, both locally and globally - The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 35.04 points or 1.01% lower to 3424.94, taking the year-to-date performance to +1.78%. The top active stocks today were DBS, which declined 1.54%, Singtel, which declined 1.89%, OCBC Bank, which declined 0.67%, UOB, which declined 1.62% and Ascendas-hTrust, with a 1.43% advance. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index declined 0.35%, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined 0.06%. The outperforming sectors today were represented by the FTSE ST Health Care Index, which rose 0.26%. The two biggest stocks of the Index - Raffles Medical Group and Tianjin Zhongxin Pharmaceutical Group Corporation- ended 0.46% lower and 3.48% higher respectively. The underperforming sector was the FTSE ST Telecommunications Index, which slipped 1.81%. Singtel shares declined 1.89% and StarHub declined 0.50%.
Michael Levy, investment manager, Baring Frontier Markets Fund,  says a steady flow of new companies to the market marks steadily increasing liquidity in the frontier markets asset class. Michael Levy, investment manager, Baring Frontier Markets Fund, says a steady flow of new companies to the market marks steadily increasing liquidity in the frontier markets asset class. Photograph kindly supplied by Barings, November 2013.

Barings makes case for frontier markets in 2014

Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Barings makes case for frontier markets in 2014 Frontier markets such as Argentina, Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have delivered strong investment returns in 2013, and the asset class is set for continued strong performance in 2014, according to international investment firm Baring Asset Management. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/media/k2/items/cache/9392051d1c6437a4aa44d9c49269a7c6_XL.jpg

Frontier markets such as Argentina, Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have delivered strong investment returns in 2013, and the asset class is set for continued strong performance in 2014, according to international investment firm Baring Asset Management.

The firm sees every reason for investors in such markets to be positive as they look ahead to next year. Michael Levy, investment manager, Baring Frontier Markets Fund, explains why: “Frontier markets are inefficient markets at an early stage of development, providing many mispriced investment opportunities, and we expect the drivers which have supported markets in 2013 – potential for long-term structural growth combined with a low correlation to other asset classes – to remain intact. 

"We are encouraged by the political developments we have seen this year, which show that the countries in our investment universe continue to move towards economic liberalisation and democracy, albeit at a slow pace.”



Levy notes the performance of the MSCI Frontier Markets Index, which has returned +16.4% in US dollar terms to mid-November, reflecting the prospect of long-term structural economic and corporate earnings growth and continued allocations from investors attracted by low correlations to other asset classes.  The performance compares very favourably with a 7.1% decline in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index over the same period.

Two asset classes where Barings sees particular investment potential are new energy opportunities and healthcare companies.  The former encompasses exceptionally large oil and gas deposits in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq, which are likely to be brought to market shortly.  The latter reflects the rapid growth of generic pharmaceuticals production in many frontier economies as well as the increasing use of private healthcare provision to supplement public healthcare, particularly in the Middle East. 

Al Noor Hospitals, for instance, is one of the largest private healthcare providers in the United Arab Emirates and a core holding in the Baring Frontier Markets Fund.

In terms of country performance, Middle Eastern markets including the UAE stand out as one of the better performing regions, according to Barings, as the banking sector in the UAE has benefited as a safe haven at a time when continued instability has impacted some other countries in the region. 

In Africa, a continent where Barings sees the strongest long-term equity market potential, elections in Kenya have resulted in a more market-friendly government coming into power – evidence of the wider, long-term trend towards democratisation across the frontier market universe.  Nigeria’s Central Bank also continues to make good progress in managing the currency and inflation, and investments made in security and customer identification augur well for the development of Nigeria’s retail banking market, in Barings’ view.

Levy adds: “From an investment perspective, a steady flow of new companies to the market marks steadily increasing liquidity in the frontier markets asset class, and we expect further progress here next year, with potential for privatisations in Romania for example in 2014.  We recently invested in a company which has operations based in Laos, and increasingly, other Asian frontier markets, and continue to monitor new investment opportunities very closely.”

Barings launched its Frontier Market Fund in April this year, investing in markets outside developed and emerging market benchmarks.  In the six months to the end of October 2013, the Baring Frontier Market Fund has delivered a return of 9.48% versus 8% for its benchmark, the MSCI Frontier Markets Index.  The portfolio is diversified across the major Frontier markets, with significant exposure to Nigeria, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Kenya.  The top three sector holdings are Financials, Telecoms and Consumer Staples.

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