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BSE 2019 Q1 1 report card

Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) this week released its 2019 Quarter 1 market performance report. Gauging  and analyzing stock market outcomes for  the three months ended March 31st, BSE‘s The Domestic Company Index (DCI) experienced a better start to the year with a marginal improvement of 0.43% in the period 1 January to 31 March 2019 in comparison to a 3.1% decrease registered in the same period in 2018.

The Domestic Company Total Return Index (DCTRI) appreciated by 1.03%, boosted by a combination of price and dividend improvements during the quarter. On the foreign companies’ front, the Foreign Company Index (FCI) registered a depreciation of 0.26% in Quarter 1 of 2019 relative to a decrease of 0.05% over the same period in 2018. Worth noting  is  the equity trading activity which closed  2019 Q 1 at a turnover of P346.9 Million, reflecting  46.9% jump  from  P236.2 million turnover recorded in  first quarter of 2018. The number of shares traded amounted to 156.1 Million shares and 100.7 Million shares in Quarter 1 of 2019 and Quarter 1 of 2018 respectively. Further analysis on the equity performance indicates that during the first quarter of 2019 the stability of turnover improved compared to the same period in 2018. 

This is supported by a lower coefficient of variation (CoV) of turnover of 2.1 in 2019 compared to 2.2 in 2018. However, the CoVs are still above the average of 1.9 across a four year period from 2016 to 2019. “This shows that more companies contributed to turnover during this period in comparison to the same period in 2018. Hence the improved stability of turnover in comparison to the corresponding period in 2018,” reads the BSE report.

Assessing the leading companies in terms of traded value during the period under review, local brewer Sechaba Holdings Limited tops the front with P107.69 Million traded equity value followed by Furnmart Limited at P68.4 Million while New African Properties Limited came third at P31.2 Million. These accounted for 64.8% of total turnover compared to the 76.2% accounted for by the top three traded companies in the same period in 2018. On the Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) space, market was less active compared to Quarter 1 of 2018. The volume of ETF units traded was 304,588 in 2019 while the turnover registered was P26.6 Million. Over the same period in 2018, the number of units traded amounted to 451,869 yielding a turnover of P41.4 Million.

The contribution by local companies amounted to 22.6% in Quarter 1 2019 in comparison to 34.8% in Quarter 1 2018. Local individual investors contributed an improved 7.3% relative to 5.7% in the corresponding period in 2018. Furthermore   it can be noted that the comparative indices were impacted in various ways by what is primarily attributed to the volatility exhibited by the US Dollar due to uncertainty of trade negotiations between the United States and China. The DCI’s US Dollar return over the quarter amounted to a negative 0.1% on the back of the Pula depreciation of 0.5% against the dollar. 

In the Bond Market sphere trading activity in the increased significantly during 2019 Quarter 1 compared to the same period in 2018. The value of bonds traded over the period was P251.9 Million in comparison to P27.4 Million traded over the same period in 2018.  At the 1 March 2019 Government Bonds and Treasury Bill auction, the Bank of Botswana (BoB), on behalf of the Government offered additional tranches of the BW013 allotting P137.00 Million ,  increasing its total nominal amount in issue to P1,076.00 Million as well as BW014 allotting P335.00 Million hiking up its total nominal amount in issue to P931.00 Million. On the back of Government bonds tap issuances and new issuances, the market capitalization of listed bonds increased to P15.4 Billion compared to P14.7 Billion as at the same period in 2018.

At the beginning of 2019 the BSEL implemented the new Equity Listings Requirements aimed at providing a comprehensive process of how companies can list their equity securities on the Exchange. The new requirements include improved disclosure requirements across the different boards; provide rules for the listing of investment entities, and Special Acquisition Companies (SACs), among others.

Still during the first quarter of 2019 Botswana Stock Exchange and the Central Securities Depository Botswana (CSDB) kick started the implementation of a new CSD system that comes with new functionalities such as Securities Borrowing and Lending (SBL), management of the Settlement Guarantee Fund, IPO processing, E-Voting for listed entities, repo management and online investor access. 

The system is an integral element of the ongoing Single CSD project pioneered the Ministry of Finance, NBFIRA and BSEL. With its ability to connect real time to the Botswana Interbank Settlement System (BISS). BSEL says the system will ensure settlement in central bank money and reduce counterparty risk, in the process helping improve settlement efficiency and compliance with the IOSCO Principles for Financial Markets Infrastructures (PFMIs). “This will also automatically increase the CSD system ratings by Thomas Murray, an assessment of which will be conducted once the system has been commissioned in early 2020” explains Botswana Stock Exchange.

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CA SALES revenues rose to R9.5 billion

27th March 2023

The Botswana and Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed distributor of fast-moving consumer goods

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Grit divests from Letlole La Rona

22nd March 2023

Grit Services Limited, a member of the pan African real estate group, London Stock Exchange listed Grit Real Estate Income Group is divesting from Letlole La Rona Limited (LLR), a local real estate company established by government investment arm Botswana Development Corporation over a decade ago.

The Board of Directors of Letlole La Rona Limited this week announced in a statement to Unitholders that Grit Services Limited (‘Grit’) has informed them of its intention to exit its investment in the company.

Grit has been a material shareholder in LLR since 2019. On 07 March 2023, Grit sold 6 421 000 linked units, representing 2.29% of the Company’s total securities in issue, at a market value of BWP 22 537 710.

This trade follows previous sales of 6.79% in December 2022, as communicated to Unitholders on 10 January 2023, as well as a further sale of 4.78% (representing 13 347 068 linked units) on 24 February 2023 to various shareholders.

In aggregate, Grit has sold 13.9% shareholding in the Letlole La Rona between December 2022 and March 2023, resulting in current shareholding of 11.25% in the Company.

Letlole La Rona said in the statement that the exit process will take place in an orderly manner so as to maintain stability of the Company’s share price.

The statement explained that Grit’s sale of its entire shareholding in LLR is in line with its decision to exit investments where it does not have majority control, or where it has significant exposure to currencies other than US dollar, Euro or hard-currency-pegged revenue streams.

“Grit has announced similar decisions pertaining to certain of its hospitality assets in Mauritius recently. The Company would like to advise Unitholders that it remains focused on long-term value delivery to all stakeholders” LLR said

In July last year as part of their Go-to-Africa strategy Letlole La Rona acquired an initial 30% equity stake in Orbit Africa Logistics, with an option to increase this investment to 50%. OAL is a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Mauritius, owning an industrial asset in a prime industrial node in Nairobi, Kenya.

The co-investment was done alongside a wholly owned subsidiary of London listed Grit. The Orbit facility is situated on a prime industrial site on Mombasa Road, the principal route south of Nairobi center, serving the main industrial node, the port of Mombasa and the industrial town of Athi River and is strategically located 11 kilometers south of the international airport and 9.6 kilometers from the Inland Container Depot.

Grit shareholding in Letlole La Rona was seen as strategic for LLR, for the company to leverage on Grit’s already existing continental presence and expand its wings beyond Botswana borders as already delivered by Kenya transaction.

Media reports have however suggested that LLR and Grit have since late last year had fundamental disagreements on how to go about the Go-to-Africa strategy amongst other things, fuelled by alleged Botswana government interference on the affairs of LLR.

Government through LLR founding shareholder – Botswana Development Corporation has a controlling stake of around 40 percent in the company. Government is the sole shareholder of Botswana Development Corporation.

Letlole La Rona recently released their financial results for the six months ended December 2022, revenue increased by 4% to P50.2 million from P48.4 million in the prior comparative six months, whilst operating profit was up 8% to P36.5 million. Profit before tax of P49.7 million was reported, an increase of 8% on the prior comparative six months.

“We are encouraged by the strong results, notwithstanding a challenging economic environment. Our performance was mainly underpinned by annual lease escalations, our quality tenant base and below average market vacancy levels, especially in our warehouse portfolio,” Kamogelo Mowaneng, Letlole La Rona Chief Executive Officer commented.

LLR reported a weighted average lease expiry period of 3.3 years and escalation rates averaging 6.8% per annum for the period ended 31 December 2022.Its investment portfolio value increased by 14% year-on-year to close the period at P1.4 billion, mainly driven by the acquisition of a 30% stake in OAL in July 2022.

The Company also recorded a significant increase in other income, predominantly due to foreign exchange gains on the OAL shareholder loan. “We continue to explore pipeline opportunities locally, and regionally in line with our Go-to-Africa strategy and our interest remains on value-accretive investments,” Mowaneng said.

An interim distribution of 9.11 thebe per linked unit was declared on the 6th of February 2023 for the half-year period to 31 December 2022, comprising of a dividend of 0.05 thebe and debenture interest of 9.06 thebe per linked unit which will be paid to linked unit holders registered in the books of the Company at the close of business on 24 February 2023.

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Stargems Group establishes Training Center in BW

20th March 2023

Internationally-acclaimed diamond manufacturing company StarGems Group has established the Stargems Diamond Training Center which will be providing specialized training in diamond manufacturing and evaluation.

The Stargems Diamond Training Institute is located at the Stargems Group Botswana Unit in Gaborone.

“In accordance with the National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS) which holds the principle that through education and skills development as well as the strategic alignment between national ambitions and individual capabilities, Botswana will become a prosperous, productive and innovative nation due to the quality and efficacy of its citizenry. The Training Centre will provide a range of modules in theory and in practice; from rough diamond evaluation to diamond grading and polishing for Batswana, at no cost for eight weeks. The internationally- recognized certificate offered in partnership with Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Training School presents invaluable opportunities for Batswana to access in the diamond industry locally and internationally. The initiative is an extension of our Corporate Social Investment to the community in which we operate,” said Vishal Shah, Stargems Group Managing Director, during the launch of the Stargems Diamond Training Center.

In order to participate in this rare opportunity, interested candidates are invited to submit a police clearance certificate and a BGCSE certificate only to the Stargems offices.  Students who excel in these programs will have the chance to be onboarded by the Stargems Group. This serves as motivation for them to go through this training with a high level of seriousness.

“Community empowerment is one of our CSR principles. We believe that businesses can only thrive when their communities are well taken of. We are hoping that our presence will be impactful to various communities and economies. In the six countries that we are operating in, we have contributed through dedicating 10% of our revenues during COVID-19 to facilitate education, donating to hospitals and also to NGOs committed to supporting women and children living with HIV. One key issue that we are targeting in Botswana is the rate of unemployment amongst the youth. We are looking forward to working closely with the government and other relevant authorities to curb unemployment,” said Shah.

Currently, Stargems Group has employed 117 Batswana and they are looking forward to growing the numbers to 500 as the company grows. Majority of the employees will be graduates from the Stargems Diamond Training Center. This initiation has been received with open arms by the general public and stakeholders. During the launch, the Minister of Minerals and Energy,  Honorable Lefoko Moagi, stated that the ministry fully endorses Stargems Diamond Training and will work closely with the Group to support and grow the initiative.

“As a ministry, we see this as an game changer that is aligned with one of the United Nations’ Six Priority Sustainable Development Goals, which is to Advance Opportunity and Impact for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). What Stargems Group is launching today will have a huge impact on the creation of employment in Botswana. An economy’s productivity rises as the number of educated workers increases as its skilled workmanship increases. It is not a secret that low skills perpetuate poverty and widen the inequality gap, therefore the development of skills has the potential to contribute significantly to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and helping the country become more competitive. We are grateful to see the emergence of industry players such as Stargems Group who have strived to create such opportunities that mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy,” said the Minister of Minerals and Energy.

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