Dealmaker Ngumi set to leave CfC Stanbic Bank

Investment banker John Ngumi is leaving CfC Stanbic after years of service that saw him rise to head the lender’s investment banking division for East Africa.

Mr Ngumi, who has handled some of the largest equity and debt financing deals in the region, will leave the bank at the end of the month for another stab at entrepreneurship.

He plans to help attract global capital to Africa while remaining as a special aisor to CfC Stanbic. This will be the second time Mr Ngumi, 60, will be returning to entrepreneurship where he had a short stint.

Mr Ngumi quit Barclays Bank of Kenya in 1994 and in partnership with friends established investment bank Loita Capital Partners Group.

The venture collapsed in 1997 in what Mr Ngumi attributes to a clash of egos.

“Since we were all hard chargers, glory types really, with egos to match, the inevitable had to happen, and so the great ship Loita floundered and split up,” he recalls.

The failure of Loita saw him operate as an independent investment bank for four years during which he endured financial hardship.

Mr Ngumi then decided to seek return to the comfort of regular pay cheques in 2000 when he joined Citibank NA as an executive in the corporate finance desk.

He left Citibank in 2004 to join Stanbic where he made his name as one of Kenya’s most accomplished investment bankers. Mr Ngumi has been the sole and joint arranger of the billions of shillings raised by multinationals and local firms in the form of equity and debt.

Safaricom, MTN Uganda and Telkom Kenya are some of the firms that have mandated Mr Ngumi’s Stanbic team to handle their money-raising activities.

He also clinched a first last year when he was among the team of investment bankers that helped arrange Kenya’s maiden sovereign bond.

The transaction was voted the 2014 African Deal of the Year by GlobalCapital, a news service firm targeting players in the international capital markets and which seeks to recognise the best deals in the global debt markets.

Barclays, JP Morgan, QNB Finance, and Standard Bank –the parent of CfC Stanbic— were the joint book runners of the transaction. Kenya raised $2 billion (Sh182 billion) in June last year through five and 10-year Eurobonds, marking its first sovereign issue.

The bond was heavily oversubscribed, signalling the rush for higher returns in Africa’s sovereign bonds markets by yield-starved investors in Europe and North America.

Kenya issued a $500 million five-year Eurobond at a coupon of 5.8 per cent and a $1.5 billion 10-year Eurobond at an interest rate of 6.8 per cent, making it the largest debut issuance by a sovereign in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The government in December reopened the two securities, netting an additional $750 million in a process called Tap sale. Mr Ngumi, who was born and spent his early years in Nairobi’s Kaloleni Estate, says he is fortunate in his “choice” of his parents.

“My mother passed on to me inner steel, resolve and resilience, qualities abundant in many African mothers of her generation, and qualities which came in very handy when I ran into strong financial headwinds during my time as an independent operator,” he says.

Mr Ngumi said he got his ambition from his father, who was part of an educated and highly driven African elite, who were suppressed by the colonists in the pre-independence era.

“Cream will, of course, rise to the top, and eventually he took the helm at some of the largest corporations in the country at the time, including Kenya Meat Commission and East African Airways, which morphed into today’s Kenya Airways,” Mr Ngumi said of his father in his typical pompous style.