Speculation that Zimbabwe’s stock exchange may be moving off the bottom will add to excitement around the upcoming in-country investment conference hosted by Harare stockbroker, Imara Edwards and its Johannesburg sister company, Imara Africa Securities.
Interest is already high, says Tino Kambasha, executive director of Imara Edwards, a member of the pan-African Imara financial services group and Zimbabwe’s leading stockbroker.
The annual Harare event – this year from May 27 to May 30 – is being staged some months after the Zimbabwe stock market fell casualty to the global emerging market sell-off, followed by more recent indications that the worst may be over for ZSE-listed stocks.
First hints the market may be moving up from the floor came in late April as Imara Edwards executed a series of local and international buy orders.
It was “the first serious buying activity in months”, said Kambasha.
On the buy-list were ZSE blue-chips – a category that fell 15-18% in value in the first quarter of 2014 in reaction to the slowdown of quantitative easing in the USA.
Now, at least some buyers have returned to the Zimbabwe market. They include fund managers from North America, South Africa and Europe.
The move hardened the Harare view that the market had bottomed late in the first quarter. For some weeks after that the market languished – until those buy orders came in.
Kambasha noted: “It may be premature to talk about the market turning a corner, but recent buying at least suggests asset managers and institutions are beginning a reappraisal.
“This will contribute to excitement on the run-in to our conference.
“Some local company results and investor updates already provide a hint that better times lie ahead. In fact, the positive response by invitees has in itself been an indicator that some highly sophisticated investors are keen to get close to market developments in Zimbabwe. They want to judge prospects for themselves.”
Imara’s investment indaba attracts investors from many financial centres, including New York, London, Tokyo and Johannesburg.
At the conference, senior executives from major Zimbabwean corporates will talk delegates through recent developments in sectors such as banking, insurance, food and beverages, retailing, technology, mining, construction and industrial holdings.
In addition to fund managers focused on ZSE prospects, the conference is also attended by representatives of family offices – the professionals who manage the wealth of ultra-high net worth individuals, families and trusts.
Kambasha said this indicated interest in private equity partnerships with non-listed companies that had high growth prospects.
He added: “Something appears to be stirring in our market. The conference is a perfectly timed opportunity to assess how big a stir we can expect.”