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Dahabshiil Group, one of the largest companies in Somaliland, has gone public with its wholly owned telecommunications company and of the second-largest telecommunication firm in Somaliland SOMTEL. SOMTEL is following in the footsteps of its competitor, Telesom which has offered shares to a few investors many years ago where its stock has reportedly appreciated significantly.

The initial public offering of SOMTEL in Somaliland is a continuation of Dahabshiil Group’s effort to offer shares to the public that started in Somalia in 2018. At the annual investor meeting that was held in Mogadishu concurrently with the Somaliland event, the company has opened a second round of investment in SOMTEL for the public in Somalia.

In the well-attended IPO event of SOMTEL in Hargeisa, Somaliland, the company founder, Mr. Mohamed Saeed Dualeh spoke of how he held off taking the company public and that now was the right time to offer the public an investment opportunity.

The President of the Republic of Somaliland as well as much of his cabinet and the leaders of the opposition parties attended the ceremony where they all offered words of encouragement and appreciation for the Dahabshiil Group and particularly the founder, Mr. Mohamed Saeed Dualeh. In addition, the President reiterated Somaliland’s commitment to free trade and enterprise and described the role of the government as a simple traffic cop.

The investment ecosystem and the laws that govern it in Somaliland, although complete, have not been passed by Parliament and are not in effect yet and that puts both investors and companies at risk and with Dahabshiil Group and its public offering of SOMTEL shares, brings up more questions than answers about the company and shares.

In many countries, once a company goes public its shares are considered a financial instrument and are subject to strict regulation and financial regulator such as the US’s Securities and Exchange Commission have significant oversight and require companies to meet basic criteria’s before taking a company public and these include the availability of detailed financial information about the company such as valuation, how many shares the company intends to sell, Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) and more.

With Dahabshiil Group’s IPO of its SOMTEL company, the investors have not been provided any information about the company such as the valuation or financial health including debt and exactly how many shares the company will sell to the public and who will maintain a controlling share of SOMTEL.


What is the Intrinsic Value of a SOMTEL Stock?

According to SOMTEL Somaliland Shares, a website set up by Dahabshiil Group, the price of one share of SOMTEL is 100 US dollars and the minimum number of shares an investor can buy are 20 while the maximum is 1000 shares. 

One of the biggest unanswered questions about the SOMTEL IPO is the valuation of the SOMTEL company or how much the company is worth and without this basic financial information, investors are at a major disadvantage and their ability to make an informed decision if the stock is indeed worth 100 US dollars is severely compromised.

What makes a company valuable or worthless is its financial health, profit, and loss statement and well as its market share of Somaliland telecommunication market, the latter which SOMTEL has been struggling against its much larger competitor TELESOM.

Number of Shares

How many Shares of SOMTEL is Dahabshiil Selling?

Knowing the number of shares answers an important question for a public company and that is who controls the company which is generally the majority stockholder. How many shares Dahabshiil Group is willing to sell to the public is even more pertinent since it has been offering shares in Mogadishu since November 2018 and has just begun doing so in Somaliland. Without sharing this very basic information, the company may be able to sell an unlimited number of shares and may have, in essence, got a license to print money. Simply put, offering shares of SOMTEL may be more lucrative for Dahabshiil Group than the company is worth.

In a more basic sense, the number of shares being offered is how investors would know exactly what percent of the company they own. Without the regulation that compels a company to reveal financial data as well as the number of shares or percent being offered to the public, nothing stops Dahabshiil or any other company from selling an infinite number of shares.

20% Service Charge

Is Dahabshiil Charging its Investors to Operate SOMTEL?

In the limited information published on SOMTEL Somaliland Shares, there is an odd clause that states 20% will be the company’s service charge, which means Dahabshiil is charging 20 US dollars for each share sold. This is confirmed by multiple investors who have purchased shares of SOMTEL shares.

What makes this 20% service fee odd if not outright predatory is the fact that an investor regardless of how many shares of the company they own is sharing the risk, potential gain, the operating cost, and the holding company or operator does not charge them a separate fee to run the company for them. Unless Dahabshiil Group is selling 100% of SOMTEL to the public and that brings up more dilemmas for the investors.

In other words, Facebook does not charge a service fee to purchase its stocks, but a stockbroker would charge a one-time transaction fee or a commission, usually around 10 US dollars regardless of the size of the transaction

20% service charge proceeds for 100k, 200k and 300k shares sold.

The owners of Dahabshiil Group have worked in many international markets and are aware of how stocks work outside of Somaliland’s embryonic investment ecosystem and that companies do not charge their investors a 20% premium to own their stock. In the case of Somaliland where stock brokerage services do not exist yet, Dahabshiil Group will be the custodian of the shares it is has sold to the public.

Sample US brokerage house service and transaction fees.

There are many ways of looking at the 20% service fee Dahabshiil Group is charging SOMTEL investors but the one that concerns the investors the most is that they are taking a 20% loss just for the privilege of owning SOMTEL stocks.

Dahabshiil Group did not respond to our questions below for this report

  1. How many shares are being offered to the public?
  2. What is the current valuation of SOMTEL?
  3. What is the Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) of SOMTEL? 
  4. The limited literature published on https://somtelsomalilandshares.com/ points to a 20% service fee. Is this a 20% fee per share of $100 and could you provide more information on the 20% service charge.
  5. What is the current market share of SOMTEL in both internet and mobile phone in the Somaliland market?

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Notice: This is an article by Somaliland Chronicle. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Under this license, all reprints and non-commercial distribution of this work are permitted.