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AccessKenya Surges to 22-Month High on Buyout Bet: Nairobi Mover

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March 21 (Bloomberg) -- AccessKenya Group Ltd., the nation’s only publicly traded Internet company, surged to the highest level in almost 22 months on takeover speculation, trading more than 12 times its three-month daily average volume.

The stock advanced 6.9 percent to 7.70 shillings by the 3 p.m. close in Nairobi, the capital. This is the highest since May 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. About 3.86 million shares traded.

Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Somen, whose family owns about a third of the company, said any takeover bid would be contemplated at the right price, Nairobi-based Business Daily reported. The current share level is undervalued, he said.

“The market is interpreting the management’s remarks that in the event they receive an offer for takeover they will consider it to mean there will be a premium paid above the market price,” Eric Musau, a research analyst at Nairobi-based Standard Investment Bank Ltd., said in a phone interview today. “In addition the business is now doing well and investors feel more comfortable.”

Full-year profit rose to 151 million shillings ($1.8 million) in the 12 months through December from 109 million shillings a year earlier, the company said March 12. Sales jumped 9 percent to 1.9 billion shillings. AccessKenya declared a dividend of 0.30 shilling per share. The payout, the first in three years, needs to be approved by shareholders in a meeting scheduled for May 27.

Shares of AccessKenya have surged 75 percent this year, the best performer on the Nairobi Securities Exchange. The bourse’s All-Share Index has gained 20 percent during the period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Ombok in Nairobi at eombok@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

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