Oil pipeline bids sought

Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan were expected to invite bids this month for a single consultant to oversee the building of an oil pipeline, a senior Kenyan energy official said yesterday. Uganda and Kenya have discovered commercial quantities of oil and aim to start production in about the next three years. Their neighbour, South Sudan, is a producer that now relies on a pipeline through Sudan but ties between those two states have been strained since they split from each other in 2011. The new pipeline would transport crude to the Kenyan coast. “What we want is to procure one supervisor for the entire pipeline so that the quality of the pipeline is the same,” Joseph Njoroge, the principal secretary in the Energy and Petroleum Ministry, said. – Reuters

Eurobond talks begin today

Kenya has pushed ahead with the sale of its first eurobond, appointing banks to market the deal in the US and Europe. Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Standard Bank and QNB Capital would organise investor meetings in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, New York and London from today until June 15, according to a person familiar with the deal. A benchmark dollar offering might follow, said the source, who asked not to be identified. Kenya is entering global bond markets after record African sales last year, including a first-time sale by Rwanda and offers by Nigeria and Ghana. “It’s a good time for Kenya to be issuing because demand for African debt remains healthy in general and yields are close to recent historical lows,” Richard Segal, the head of international credit strategy at Jefferies International in London, said. – Bloomberg

Airtel asks for antitrust probe

Airtel Networks Kenya, which is targeting a share of Kenya’s mobile money transfer business, has asked the country’s competition authority to probe Safaricom for allegedly abusing its market-leading position. Airtel is teaming up with Equity Bank, the country’s biggest lender by market value, to begin operating a cellphone banking product next month. The service will compete with Safaricom’s M-Pesa, which enables users to send money by cellphone and generated 26.6 billion shillings (R3.2bn) of revenue for Safaricom last year. “There is a dominant player in the market and this makes it impossible for Kenyans to make a choice,” Airtel Kenya chief executive Adil El Youssefi said last month. – Bloomberg