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BSE axes Serowe bound Australian gas explorer

Primarily listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and having prospects to develop gas exploration and production projects for Serowe Coal Seam Gas Project in Botswana, Gasfields Limited will be kicked out of the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE).

Fresh information received by BusinessPost is that the Australian coal and gas explorer has been keeping BSE on the dark about any information regarding the entity, like change of name or company directors. However the Australian media has been awash with all the latest developments about the company which has been going through transition in February this year.

Gasfields Limited is engaged in developing gas exploration and production projects for Serowe Coal Seam Gas Project in Botswana. Gasfields operates a portfolio of projects, including coal bed methane and petroleum in Botswana and coal steam gas in Australia. Gasfields is primary listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and secondary listed on the BSE Foreign Venture Capital Board. The BSE Foreign Venture Capital Board houses small foreign companies with small business operations. For a company to be listed in the Venture Capital Board it has to have P500 000 as capital. It should also have at least 1 million shares even though it does not show any profit history.

BSE was on the dark as to the Australian explorer changing its name as it was previously known as Raven. The Australian media and investors knew about this change of name, but not the local bourse. A communication by ASX on 28 February 2019 notified the change of name by the company from Raven Energy Limited to Gasfieds Limited which is also the current name being used and incorporated in the Australian companies register. The new name was approved on 22 February 2019 in the company’s Annual General Meeting according to a communication by the company secretary Kar Chua.

Information reaching this publication is that Gasfield is planning to disinvest on BSE amidst venturing into a big US energy acquisition. According to recent communication by Raven Energy Limited, now Gasfields Limited, executive chairman Nathan Featherby Gasfield has been suspended on the ASX. “The company will remain in voluntary suspension pending an announcement in respect of the corporate activities relating to divestments in Botswana and finalization of its ongoing negotiations with respect to a potentially significant and strategic US domiciled energy acquisition,” said Featherby.

Keeping company information from BSE infringes BSE Equity Listings Requirements as it is the case of Gasfield Limited, hence the local bourse suspension of the company’s shares last week. “The market is hereby informed of the BSE intention to delist Gasfields (previously known as Raven) shares from the Foreign Venture Capital Board as per section 13.3 of the BSE Equity Listings Requirements (the Requirements),” said a communication from BSE.

According to BSE, Gasfields has failed to remedy various non-compliances with the Requirements and there are no efforts from the company to remedy the contraventions hence the BSE’s intention to delist the Company’s shares. Non-compliance being failure to release important information to BSE while a lot has been published on the ASX.

“Stakeholders are given twenty one (21) days from the date of the notice to make representation to the BSE on the proposed delisting for consideration. If no representations are brought forth by the stipulated time period, the BSE will issue a delisting order. The trading of Gasfields shares is currently halted on both ASX and the BSE,” says last week communication from BSE.

According to Bloomberg, Gasfield which was founded on 23 January 2004 belongs to the energy sector and performs on the oil, gas and coal industries. It is categorized on the exploration and production sub-industries. According to the BSE Listings and Trading Department a lot of information has been emerging about Raven change of name to Gasfield, but the local bourse was not formally informed.

Despite making its announcements of disinvesting from Botswana, the company never bothered to inform the BSE. The local stock exchange format wrote to Gasfield after seeing lack of compliance by the company but no response has been made so far. After seeing the ASX suspending Gasfield shares, BSE followed suit and further threatened to delist the company after 21 days.

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Gambling Authority tender dangles as a jittery lottery quandary

30th November 2020

Lucrative and highly anticipated national lottery tender that saw several Batswana businessmen partnering to form a gambling consortium to pit against their South African counterparts, culminates into a big power gamble.

WeekendPost has had a chance to watch lottery showcase even before the anticipated and impending national lottery set-up launches. A lot has been a big gamble from the bidding process which is now set for the courts next year January following a marathon legal brawl involving the interest of the gambling fraternity in Botswana and South Africa.

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The uncertainty of getting the next meal in Botswana

30th November 2020
uncertainty of getting the next meal

Households representing more than half of Botswana’s population-mostly residing in rural areas- do not know where their next meal will come from, but neither do they take into consideration the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume.

This is according to the latest Prevalence of Food Insecurity in Botswana report which was done for the 2018/19 period and represents the state of food insecurity data even to this time.
The Prevalence of Food Insecurity was released by Statistics Botswana and it released results with findings that the results show that at national level 50.8 percent of the population in Botswana was affected by moderate to severe food insecurity in 2018/19, while 22.2 percent of the population was affected by severe food insecurity only.

According to the report, this translates to 27 percent of the population being food secure that is to say having adequate access to food in both quality and quantity. According to Statistician General, Burton Mguni, when explaining how the food data was compiled, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is custodian of the “Prevalence of Undernourishment (PoU)” and “Prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the population based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)” SDG indicators, for leading FIES data analysis and the resultant capacity building.

“The FIES measures the extent of food insecurity at the household or individual level. The indicator provides internationally comparable estimates of the proportion of the population facing moderate to severe difficulties in accessing food. The FIES consists of eight brief questions regarding access to adequate food, and the questions are answered directly with a yes/no response. It (FIES) complements the existing food and nutrition security indicators such as Prevalence of Undernourishment.

According to the FIES, with increasing severity, the quantity of food consumed decreases as portion sizes are reduced and meals are skipped. At its most severe level, people are forced to go without eating for a day or more. The scale further reveals that the household’s experience of food insecurity may be characterized by uncertainty and anxiety regarding food access and compromising the quality of the diet and having a less balanced and more monotonous diet,” says Mguni.

The 50.8 percent of the population in Botswana which was affected by moderate to severe food insecurity are characterized as people experiencing moderate food insecurity and face uncertainties about their ability to obtain food. These people have been forced to compromise on the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume according to the report on food insecurity.

Those who experience severe food insecurity, the 22.2 percent of the population, are people who have typically run out of food and, at worst, gone a day (or days) without eating. According to the statistics, rural area population experienced moderate to severe food insecurity at 65 percent while urban villages were at 46.60 percent and cities/town were at 31.70 percent. Those experiencing the most extreme and severe insecurity were at rural areas making 33.10 percent while urban villages and towns were at 11.90 percent and 17.50 respectively.

According to a paper compiled by Sirak Bahta, Francis Wanyoike, Hikuepi Katjiuongua and Davis Marumo and published in December 2017, titled ‘Characterization of food security and consumption patterns among smallholder livestock farmers in Botswana,’ over 70 percent of Botswana’s population reside in rural areas, and majority (70%) relies on traditional/subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods.

The study set out to characterize the food security situation and food consumption patterns among livestock keepers in Botswana. “Despite the policy change, challenges still remain in ensuring that all persons and households have access to food at all times. For example, during an analysis of the impacts of rising international food prices for Botswana, BIDPA reported that food prices tended to be highest in the rural areas already disadvantaged by relatively low levels of income and high rates of unemployment,” said the study.

According to the paper, about 9 percent of households were found to be food insecure and this category of households included 6 percent of households that ranked poorly and 3 percent that were on the borderline according to the World Food Programme’s (WFP) definition of food security.

Media reports state that the World Bank has warned that disruption to production and supply chains could ‘spark a food security crisis’ in Africa, forecasting a fall in farm production of up to 7 percent, if there are restrictions to trade, and a 25 percent decline in food imports.

Food security in Botswana or food production was also attacked by the locust pandemic which swept out this country’s vegetation and plants. The locust is said to have contributed to 25 percent loss in production.

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Solid demand for diamonds towards the ‘gift’ season

30th November 2020

Global lockdown have been a thorn in diamonds having shiny sales, but a lot of optimism shows with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the precious stones will be bought with high volumes towards festive season. The diamond market is however warned of the resurgence of Covid-19 in key markets presents ongoing risks amid the presence and optimist about the new Covid-29 vaccines.

The latest findings published as De Beers Group’s latest Diamond Insight ‘Flash’ Report, which looks at the impact of the pandemic on relationships and engagements, has revealed that in the US that more couples than ever are buying diamond engagement rings. Bridal sales is mostly the primary source of diamond jewellery demand in recent months, De Beers said.

According to De Beers, interviews with independent jewellers around the US revealed that the rate of couples getting engaged has increased compared with the period when Covid-19 first had an impact in the US in the spring.

“In addition, despite challenging economic times, consumers were spending more than ever on diamond engagement rings – often upgrading in colour, cut and clarity, rather than size. Several jewellers speculated that with consumers spending less on elaborate weddings and/or honeymoons in the current environment, they had more to spend on choosing the perfect ring,” said De Beers.

According to De Beers, a national survey of 360 US women in serious relationships, undertaken in late October in collaboration with engagement and wedding website, The Knot. This survey is said to have found that the majority of respondents (54%) were thinking more about their engagement ring than the wedding itself (32%) or the honeymoon (15%), supporting jewellers’ hypothesis that engagement ring sales were benefiting from reduced wedding and travel budgets in light of Covid-19 restrictions.

When it came to researching engagement rings, online was by far the predominant channel for gaining ideas/inspiration at 86% of consumers surveyed, with 85% saying they had saved examples of styles they liked, according to De Beers. According to the survey, only a uarter of respondents said they had looked in-store at a physical location for design inspiration.

“For many couples, the pandemic has brought them even closer together, in some instances speeding up the path to engagement after forming a deeper connection while experiencing lockdown and its associated ups and downs as a partnership. Engagement rings are taking on even greater symbolism in this environment, with retailers reporting couples are prepared to invest more than usual, particularly due to budget reductions in other areas,” De Beers CEO Cleaver said.

According to De Beers Group, its Diamond Insight Flash Report series is focused on understanding the US consumer perspective in light of Covid-19 and monitoring how it evolves as the crisis evolves. Also, the company said, it is augmenting its existing research programme with additional consumer, retailer and supply chain touch-basis to understand the pain points and the opportunities for stakeholders across the diamond pipeline.

Demand for diamonds is as hard and resilient as the precious stone itself. De Beers pocketed US$ 450 million in its recently held ninth rough diamond sales cycle, and the company says it is more flexible approach to rough diamond sales during the ninth sales cycle of 2020, with the Sight event extended beyond its normal week-long duration.

“Steady demand for De Beers Group’s rough diamonds continued in the ninth sales cycle of the year, reflecting stable consumer demand for diamond jewellery at the retail level in the US and China, and expectations for reasonable demand to continue throughout the holiday season. However, the resurgence of Covid-19 infections in several consumer markets presents ongoing risks,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver recently.

High expectations are on diamonds being a sentimental gift for holiday season or as the most fetished gift. However the ninth cycle was lower than the eighth which registered US$ 467 million. For the last year period which corresponds with the current one, De Beers managed to raise US$ 400.

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