Local security services giant Group 4 Securities (G4S) suffered a 6 percent contraction in Group revenue during the year 2018. According to company audited financial statements for the year ended December 2018 released on Thursday the decline in revenues is mainly attributable to shrink in some of G4S’ major business segments.
The Group states that unfavourable market conditions suppressed in particular manned guarding and cash services therefore putting pressure on the margins. G4S explains that exclusion from government and other quasi-government agencies business has also impacted on the Manned Guarding business. The 6 percent Group revenue decline also comprises of major losses identified from Facilities Management Services business as a result of termination of non-profitable contracts.
In addition, G4S customers who had not honoured their direct debits also led to ultimate revenue downward adjustment in the company’s Security systems business. In more segmental details, the Manned guarding business closed the year at P1,035 ,000 Profit Before Taxation compared to P4,968,000 registered in the prior year ended December 2017 mirroring a whopping 79.167 percent decline.
Another segment that suffered at the hands of sluggish 2018 market is the cash solutions business which closed the year at 18.6 percent decline in profit before tax, the segment registered a year end of P17.899 million compared to 2017-year end of P21.989 million. G4S cleaning services profits before tax for the year were reduced by 3.29 percent closing the year at P3.318 million compared to P3.431 million gathered during the prior year ended December 2017.
G4S segments are distinguishable components of the group that are engaged either in providing related products or services or in providing products or services within a particular economic environment which is subject to risks and rewards that are different from those of other segments.
The company business activities are concentrated in the segment of security related services and are provided within the geographical region of Botswana. The Group consists of five segments all provided within the geographical region of Botswana, being Manned Guarding services, Cash solutions, Facilities Management, Cleaning services and Security Systems.
On a positive note the security systems business picked up by 39.15 percent to close the year at P18.989 million compared to P11.554 million recorded at 2017-year end. In total figures the Botswana Stock Exchange listed security outfit closed the 2018 trading year at P38.843 million in profit before tax compared to P40 .233 million gathered during the prior year mirroring a 3.4 percent drop.
G4S Group Managing Director Mokgethi Magapa says his company’s strategic priority of cost containment in the prior year and 2018 has built a solid cost run-rate into the business which has ensured that a very strong PBITA of P35m, which is -5 percent lower than Prior year and PBITA margin of 17 percent in line with prior year and thereby ensuring a strong profitability position for the group.
“We continue to automate our key processes which as delivered on efficiency gains and will set us up for enhanced cash collections from our customer in the Security Systems space being Alarm Monitoring and Response,” observes Magapa in the financial statement. On the outlook G4S says it’s going forward into the year 2019 financial year and beyond with a well-resourced and capitalized business. The company further reveals that it has in this current year going into 2022 unlocked a 5-year strategy to push the group business into consolidated growth.
“We now shall be accelerating consolidation with organic top line growth in growing revenue in current year and the next 4 years, we are optimistic that our growth should come at above GDP growth for 2019 and generally over a period of 5 years,” explains G4S management in the statement. G4S further highlights that its new products in technology solutions space and cash space will drive this growth while expansion to other geographical areas will also add to the volume in the Security Systems and Cash business.
“We now are ready to deploy integrated security solutions aiming at offering a full package to our clients in order to include all our service lines offered. This will assist on customer retention and expansion on the already existing relationships bolstering towards business growth,” reveals the BSE listed security Group. The company says its 5-year strategic plan intends to raise revenue by 6 percent and achieve average PBITA growth at 9 percent and OCF growth at 10 percent.
“While competition is getting stiffer, our strong market position, commercial discipline and growing expertise in technology and positive cash growth will provide reassurance to the stakeholders to a positive outlook as outlined on our management’s 5-year strategy plan.”
Marcian Concepts have been contracted by Selibe Phikwe Economic Unit (SPEDU) in a P230 million project to raise the town from its ghost status. The project is in the design and building phase of building an industrial hub for Phikwe; putting together an infrastructure in Bolelanoto and Senwelo industrial sites.
This project comes as a life-raft for Selibe Phikwe, a town which was turned into a ghost town when the area’s economic mainstay, BCL mine, closed four years ago. In that catastrophe, 5000 people lost their livelihoods as the town’s life sunk into a gloomy horizon. Businesses were closed and some migrated to better places as industrial places and malls became almost empty.
However, SPEDU has now started plans to breathe life into the town. Information reaching this publication is that Marcian Concepts is now on the ground at Bolelanoto and Senwelo and works have commenced. Marcian as a contractor already promises to hire Phikwe locals only, even subcontract only companies from the area as a way to empower the place’s economy.
The procurement method for the tender is Open Domestic bidding which means Joint Ventures with foreign companies is not allowed. According to Marcian Concepts General Manager, Andre Strydom, in an interview with this publication, the project will come with 150 to 200 jobs. The project is expected to take 15 months at a tune of P230 531 402. 76. Marcian will put together construction of roadworks, storm-water drains, water reticulation, street lighting and telecommunication infrastructure. This tender was flouted last year August, but was awarded in June this year. This project is seen as the beginning of Phikwe’s revival and investors will be targeted to the area after the town has worn the ghost city status for almost half a decade.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has slashed its outlook the world economy projecting a significantly deeper recession and slower recovery than it anticipated just two months ago.
On Wednesday when delivering its World Economic Outlook report titled “A long difficult Ascent” the Washington Based global lender said it now expects global gross domestic product to shrink 4.9% this year, more than the 3% predicted in April. For 2021, IMF experts have projected growth of 5.4%, down from 5.8%. “We are projecting a somewhat less severe though still deep recession in 2020, relative to our June forecast,” said Gita Gopinath Economic Counsellor and Director of Research.
The struggle of humanity is now how to dribble past the ‘Great Pandemic’ in order to salvage a lean economic score. Botswana is already working on dwindling fiscal accounts, budget deficit, threatened foreign reserves and the GDP data that is screaming recession.
Latest data by think tank and renowned rating agency, Moody’s Investor Service, is that Botswana’s fiscal status is on the red and it is mostly because of its mineral-dependency garment and tourism-related taxation. Botswana decided to close borders as one of the containment measures of Covid-19; trade and travellers have been locked out of the country. Moody’s also acknowledges that closing borders by countries like Botswana results in the collapse of tourism which will also indirectly weigh on revenue through lower import duties, VAT receipts and other taxes.
Latest economic data shows that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2020 with a decrease of 27 percent. One of the factors that led to contraction of the local economy is the suspension of air travel occasioned by COVID-19 containment measures impacted on the number of tourists entering through the country’s borders and hence affecting the output of the hotels and restaurants industry. This will also be weighed down by, according to Moody’s, emerging markets which will see government losing average revenue worth 2.1 percentage points (pps) of GDP in 2020, exceeding the 1.0 pps loss in advanced economies (AEs).
“Fiscal revenue in emerging markets is particularly vulnerable to this current crisis because of concentrated revenue structures and less sophisticated tax administrations than those in AEs. Oil exporters will see the largest falls but revenue volatility is a common feature of their credit profiles historically,” says Moody’s. The domino effects of containment measures could be seen cracking all sectors of the local economy as taxes from outside were locked out by the closure of borders hence dwindling tax revenue.
Moody’s has placed Botswana among oil importers, small, tourism-reliant economies which will see the largest fall in revenue. Botswana is in the top 10 of that pecking order where Moody’s pointed out recently that other resource-rich countries like Botswana (A2 negative) will also face a large drop in fiscal revenue.
This situation of countries’ revenue on the red is going to stay stubborn for a long run. Moody’s predicts that the spending pressures faced by governments across the globe are unlikely to ease in the short term, particularly because this crisis has emphasized the social role governments perform in areas like healthcare and labour markets.
For countries like Botswana, these spending pressures are generally exacerbated by a range of other factors like a higher interest burden, infrastructure deficiencies, weaker broader public sector, higher subsidies, lower incomes and more precarious employment. As a result, most of the burden for any fiscal consolidation is likely to fall on the revenue side, says Moody’s.
Moody’s then moves to the revenue spin of taxation. The rating agency looked at the likelihood and probability of sovereigns to raise up revenue by increasing tax to offset what was lost in mineral revenue and tourism-related tax revenue. Moody’s said the capacity to raise tax revenue distinguishes governments from other debt issuers. “In theory, governments can change a given tax system as they wish, subject to the relevant legislative process and within the constraints of international law. In practice, however, there are material constraints,” says Moody’s.
‘‘The coronavirus crisis will lead to long-lasting revenue losses for emerging market sovereigns because their ability to implement and enforce effective revenue-raising measures in response will be an important credit driver over the next few years because of their sizeable spending pressures and the subdued recovery in the global economy we expect next year.’’
According to Moody’s, together with a rise in stimulus and healthcare spending related to the crisis, the think tank expects this drop in revenue will trigger a sizeable fiscal deterioration across emerging market sovereigns. Most countries, including Botswana, are under pressure of widening their tax bases, Moody’s says that this will be challenging. “Even if governments reversed or do not extend tax-easing measures implemented in 2020 to support the economy through the coronavirus shock, which would be politically challenging, this would only provide a modest boost to revenue, especially as these measures were relatively modest in most emerging markets,” says Moody’s.
Botswana has been seen internationally as a ‘tax ease’ country and its taxes are seen as lower when compared to its regional counterparts. This country’s name has also been mentioned in various international investigative journalism tax evasion reports. In recent years there was a division of opinions over whether this country can stretch its tax base. But like other sovereigns who have tried but struggled to increase or even maintain their tax intake before the crisis, Botswana will face additional challenges, according to Moody’s.
“Additional measures to reduce tax evasion and cutting tax expenditure should support the recovery in government revenue, albeit from low levels,” advised Moody’s. Botswana’s tax revenue to the percentage of the GDP was 27 percent in 2008, dropped to 23 percent in 2010 to 23 percent before rising to 27 percent again in 2012. In years 2013 and 2014 the percentage went to 25 percent before it took a slip to decline in respective years of 2015 up to now where it is at 19.8 percent.