Seven Seas wants to cut some of its reliance on the Kenyan market and spread its wings to Angola and Mozambique by next year and possibly other African countries in future. The IT company has pushed back its initial public offering until 2017 to allow it time to tap new countries.
Company founder and CEO Mike Macharia, said Seven Seas aims to generate 50 percent of annual revenue from Kenya by the time it goes public, compared to 80 percent at present, and the rest from other African markets.
Part of this plan involves diversifing beyond offering information technology hardware, software and consulting services to telecom operators to serve banks, insurance firms and government as well, Macharia told the Reuters Africa Summit.
“We thought the best time to list our business is when we have a big grip on government and financial services businesses,” he said.
Macharia said there was a massive opportunity for IT firms in sub-Saharan Africa as governments race to automate services in areas like healthcare and security.
Kenya’s government plans to spend $1.5 billion in its 2014/15 financial year on information technology initiatives while the Nigerian government will spend $20 billion, he said.
Widespread graft in Kenya and the rest of the continent, however, posed a serious risk to investors that could also threaten the much heralded boom in African economies, Macharia warned.
Seven Seas is 80 percent owned by local Kenyan investors with the rest of the shares in the hands of a global private equity firm. There are about three potential new joint ventures in Africa which it hopes to conclude in the next year.