Connect with us
Advertisement

Watershed Piazza the new Letlole La Rona flagship

An addition of Watershed Piazza to Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE)-listed property giant Letlole La Rona (LLR)’s portfolio has come with gold — it is obviously the reason for the company’s spike in revenue with its notable 99.63 percent Gross Leasable Area (GLA).

According to LLR’s unaudited financial results and distribution announcements of the half year ended 31 December 2018, the company has recorded a 32 percent rise in revenue-from P38.8 million in the previous year to P51.2 million in the current period. According to LLR such big rise in revenue should be credited to the addition of Watershed Piazza in Mahalapye to the property company portfolio. Watershed Piazza stands towering in the company’s portfolio with its fully let 40 square meter space which is believed to be collecting notable money from rental, hence the huge increase in revenue.

Watershed Piazza, boasting 99.63 percent GLA, has become LLR’s sudden poster boy and its success is pivoted by its major tenants including retail giants like Choppies, Woolworths, Pep, Dunns and Jet. Top two big players in the commercial banking sector Barclays and First National Bank also occupies a rental space at the mall.

New entrants with Watershed Piazza to LLR for half year ended 31 December 2018 includes a industrial estate with nine mini-warehouses coming with the measure between 300 square meter and 700 square meter. LLR investment portfolio grew by 26 percent by registering P1.017 million in December 2018 from P805 million in December 2017. This reflected a gross yield of 10 percent.

According to LLR, the operating profit which is surging at 32 percent and net cash flow which is pegged at 38 percent were buoyed by tighter working capital management and collections. Resultant cash and equivalent for the 2018 half year results are at P42.1 million and it is almost double the P23.1 million of the same period for 2017.

LLR investors have more reasons to smile all the way to the bank when looking at the half year results for the year ending in December 2018-the company declared a half year distribution totaling P27 million which is a mammoth increase of 52 percent from the comparative period of 2017. According to LLR this was made up of an interim distribution comprising of a dividend of 0.005 thebe per linked unit and interest of 7.14 thebe per unit and a special distribution in the form of interest of 2.53 thebe per linked unit. LLR has announced in its latest financial results that the declared distribution is payable to linked unit holders registered in the books of the company at the close of business on 15 April 2019. Therefore, the ex-dividend date is 11 April 2019.

Despite a flourishing season LLR registered a decline in its profit before tax. Its profit before tax dropped to P39.3 million in December 2018 from P54.7 million in December 2017. According to LLR this was directly as a result of impairment of the hospitality assets by P7.4 million and an once non-recurring revaluation gain of P15.5 million booked on one of the properties during the prior period. As if that was enough, the LLR poster boy Watershed Piazza made the property company to get on a backfoot when the mall’s acquisition was funded with debt. This escalated the company’s financial costs from P1.8 million in 2017 to P6.3 million in 2018.

“LLR continues to consolidate its position as a significant player in the local property market with a portfolio of just over P1 billion. The portfolio is diverse, invested across the industrial, commercial office, retail, residential and leisure sectors and remains well managed with vacancy levels at approximately 1.24 percent of GLA and minimal arrears,” said LLR CEO Chikuni Shenjere.

Shenjere said imminent sale of the hotel properties has given the company a wonderful opportunity to ensure the continued predictability of LLR’s rental streams. The company’s mission is to go regional and spread its wings to countries like Zambia and Namibia. “We concluded that the assets that were considering Zambia were not an appropriate fit for the portfolio at this time.

We definitely remain on the hunt there, keeping of cource an eye on the macroeconomic developments. We also have a great opportunity in Namibia which we are right in the middle of, and depending on how it progresses, look to be updating unit holders before the financial year end,” said Chikuni.

Continue Reading

Business

Banking on Your Terms: Exploring the World of Self-Service Banking

23rd February 2024

In today’s digital age, banking is no longer just about visiting a branch during business hours. It’s about putting you, the customer, in the driver’s seat of your financial journey. But what exactly is self-service banking, and how do you stand to benefit from it as a customer?

Self-service banking is all about giving you the power to manage your finances on your terms. Whether you want to check your account balance at midnight, transfer money while on vacation, or deposit cash without waiting in line, self-service banking makes it possible. It’s like having a virtual branch at your fingertips, ready to assist you 24/7.

This shift towards self-service banking was catalyzed by various factors but it became easily accessible and accepted during the COVID-19 pandemic. People of all ages found themselves turning to digital channels out of necessity, and they discovered the freedom and flexibility it offers.

Anyone with a bank account and access to the internet or a smartphone can now bank anywhere and anytime. Whether you’re a tech-savvy millennial or someone who’s less comfortable with technology, you as the customer have the opportunity to manage your finances independently through online banking portal or downloading your bank’s mobile app. These platforms are designed to be user-friendly, with features like biometric authentication to ensure your transactions are secure.

Speaking of security, you might wonder how safe self-service banking really is. Banks invest heavily in encryption and other security measures to protect your information. In addition to that, features like real-time fraud detection and AI-powered risk management add an extra layer of protection.

Now, you might be thinking, “What’s the catch? Does self-service banking come with a cost?” The good news is that for the most part, it’s free. Banks offer these digital services as part of their commitment to customer satisfaction. However, some transactions, like wire transfers or expedited bill payments, may incur a small service fee.

At Bank Gaborone, our electronic channels offer a plethora of services around the clock to cater to your banking requirements. This includes our Mobile App, which doesn’t require data access for Orange and Mascom users. We also have e-Pula Internet Banking portal, available at https://www.bankgaborone.co.bw as well as Tobetsa Mobile Banking which is accessible via *187*247#. Our ATMs also offer the flexibility of allowing you to deposit, withdraw cash, and more.

With self-service banking, you have the reins of your financial affairs, accessible from the comfort of your home, workplace, or while you’re on the move. So why wait? Take control of your finances today with self-service banking.

Duduetsang Chappelle-Molloy is Head: Marketing and Corporate Communication Services

 

Continue Reading

Business

Botswana records over P6 billion trade deficit

7th February 2024

Botswana has recently recorded a significant trade deficit of over P6 billion. This trade deficit, which occurred in November 2023, follows another deficit of P4.7 billion recorded in October of the same year. These figures, released by Statistics Botswana, highlight a decline in export revenues as the main cause of the trade deficit.

In November 2023, Botswana’s total export revenues amounted to P2.9 billion, a decrease of 24.3 percent from the previous month. Diamonds, a major contributor to Botswana’s exports, experienced a significant decline of 44.1 percent during this period. This decline in diamond exports played a significant role in the overall decrease in export revenues. However, diamonds still remained the leading export commodity group, contributing 44.2 percent to export revenues. Copper and Machinery & Electrical Equipment followed, contributing 25.8 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.

Asia emerged as the leading export market for Botswana, receiving exports worth P1.18 billion in November 2023. The United Arab Emirates, China, and Hong Kong were the top destinations within Asia, receiving 18.6 percent, 14.2 percent, and 3.8 percent of total exports, respectively. Diamonds and Copper were the major commodity groups exported to Asia.

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) received Botswana’s exports worth P685.7 million, with South Africa being the main recipient within SACU. The European Union (EU) received exports worth P463.2 million, primarily through Belgium. Australia received exports worth P290 million, while the United States received exports valued at P69.6 million, mostly composed of diamonds.

On the import side, Botswana imported goods worth P9.5 billion in November 2023, representing an increase of 11.2 percent from the previous month. The increase in imports was mainly driven by a rise in Diamonds and Chemicals & Rubber Products imports. Diamonds contributed 23.3 percent to total imports, followed by Fuel and Food, Beverages & Tobacco at 19.4 percent and 15.0 percent, respectively.

The SACU region was the top supplier of imports to Botswana, accounting for 77.7 percent of total imports. South Africa contributed the largest share at 57.2 percent, followed by Namibia at 20.0 percent. Imports from Asia accounted for 9.8 percent of total imports, with Diamonds, Machinery & Electrical Equipment, and Chemicals & Rubber Products being the major commodity groups imported. The EU supplied Botswana with imports worth 3.2 percent of total imports, primarily in the form of Machinery & Electrical Equipment, Diamonds, and Chemicals & Rubber Products.

Botswana’s recent trade deficit of over P6 billion highlights a decline in export revenues, particularly in the diamond sector. While Asia remains the leading export market for Botswana, the country heavily relies on imports from the SACU region, particularly South Africa. Addressing the trade deficit will require diversification of export markets and sectors, as well as efforts to promote domestic industries and reduce reliance on imports.

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Business

Business sector optimistic about 2024

7th February 2024

The business sector in Botswana is optimistic about the year 2024, according to a recent survey conducted by the Bank of Botswana (BoB). The survey collected information from businesses in various sectors, including agriculture, mining, manufacturing, construction, and finance, among others. The results of the survey indicate that businesses expect trading conditions to improve in the first quarter of 2024 and remain favorable throughout the year.

The researchers found that firms anticipate improvements in investment, profitability, and goods and services exported in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the previous quarter. These expectations, combined with anticipated growth in all sectors except construction and real estate, contribute to the overall confidence in business conditions. Furthermore, businesses expect further improvements in the first quarter of 2024 and throughout the entire year.

Confidence among domestic market-oriented firms may decline slightly in the first quarter of 2024, but overall optimism is expected to improve throughout the year, consistent with the anticipated domestic economic recovery. Firms in sectors such as mining, retail, accommodation, transport, manufacturing, agriculture, and finance are driving this confidence. Export-oriented firms also show increased optimism in the first quarter of 2024 and for the entire year.

All sectors, except agriculture, which remains neutral, are optimistic about the first quarter of 2024 and the year ending in December 2024. This optimism is likely supported by government interventions to support economic activity, including the two-year Transitional National Development Plan (TNDP) and reforms aimed at improving the business environment. The anticipated improvement in profitability, goods and services exported, and business investment further contributes to the positive outlook.

Firms expect lending rates and borrowing volumes to increase in the 12-month period ending in December 2024. This increase in borrowing is consistent with the expected rise in investment, inventories, and goods and services exported. Firms anticipate that domestic economic performance will improve during this period. Domestic-oriented firms perceive access to credit from commercial banks in Botswana to be relaxed, while export-oriented firms prefer to borrow from South Africa.

During the fourth quarter of 2023, firms faced high cost pressures due to increased input costs, such as materials, utilities, and transport, resulting from supply constraints related to conflicts in Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas. According to the survey report, the firms noted that cost pressures during the fourth quarter of 2023 were high, mainly attributable to increase in some input costs, such as materials, utilities, and transport arising from supply constraints related to the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas wars. “However, firms’ expectations about domestic inflation decreased, compared to the previous survey, and have remained within the Bank’s 3 – 6 percent objective range, averaging 5.4 percent for 2023 and 5.4 percent for 2024. This suggests that inflation expectations are well anchored, which is good for maintenance of price stability,” reads the survey report in part.

However, firms’ expectations about domestic inflation decreased compared to the previous survey, and inflation expectations remained within the Bank’s objective range of 3-6 percent. This suggests that inflation expectations are well anchored, which is beneficial for maintaining price stability.

In terms of challenges, most firms in the retail, accommodation, transport, manufacturing, construction, and finance sectors considered the exchange rate of the Pula to be unfavorable to their business operations. This is mainly because these firms import raw materials from South Africa and would prefer a stronger Pula against the South African rand. Additionally, firms in the retail, accommodation, transport, and mining sectors cited other challenges, including supply constraints from conflicts in Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas, as well as new citizen economic empowerment policies that some firms considered unfavorable to foreign direct investment.

On the positive side, firms highlighted factors such as adequate water and electricity supply, a favorable political climate, an effective regulatory framework, the availability of skilled labor, and domestic and international demand as supportive to doing business in Botswana during the fourth quarter of 2023.

Overall, the business sector in Botswana is optimistic about the year 2024. The anticipated improvements in trading conditions, supported by government interventions and reforms, are expected to drive growth and profitability in various sectors. While challenges exist, businesses remain confident in the potential for economic recovery and expansion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading