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First Capital Bank devours Bank of India

First Capital Bank Botswana is moving to sweep out the footprints of Bank of India Botswana, by taking over its local business, following the Indian banker last year decision to shut down its local subsidiary. 

Bank of India Botswana was said to be among culprits contributing to the Indian born financial institution being dogged by “a sharp rise in non-performing assets (NPAs)” for almost two years since the last quarter of December 2017.  The operations in India, positive and negative, directly affect Bank of India’s subsidiaries including the one in Botswana. As if being marred by failure to compete financially and having ballooning NPAs due to worsening asset quality, the Reserve Bank of India (Indian central bank) has currently raised a red flag on Bank of India and other 10 private bankers by placing stern restrictions on them “not to issue any fresh loans and should hire new personnel.”

According to reports from the Asian country, the Indian central bank is imposing sanctions “as restrictions on couple to enforce certain restrictions on couple of more public sector lenders under the Prompt Corrective Action mechanism due to worsening asset quality and Bank of India has been failing to put down the red flag placed against it. 
 Last year’s reports said Bank of India will close three subsidiaries in Botswana, Uganda and New Zealand in a desperate move to salvage capital.

 According to reports Bank of India is selling its operations so that it can raise P500 million in capital which it can then use to shore up its domestic capital. Since setting its footprints in Botswana six years ago, Bank of India has managed to plough only on e branch cum head office in Botswana. Regarded as one of the top five banks in India is 113 years old and it was once state-owned entity before becoming nationalized in 1969.

First Capital Bank, the entity acquiring, has been ongoing a process of rebranding and seeks to grow according to its Botswana management.  Formerly Capital Bank, First Capital Bank has banking and finance operations in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It has four branches in Botswana and it will be clenching its claws on the two operations which are run by Bank of India.

First Capital Bank has so far proposed acquisition of 100 percent issued and paid up ordinary shares of Bank of India Botswana to Competition Authority of Botswana. The antitrust body is currently assessing to see if there arises any anti-competition practice in this acquisition.
“According to section 57(3), of the Competition Act, “any person, including a third party not a party to the proposed merger, may voluntarily submit to the inspector or the Authority any document, affidavit, statement or other relevant information in respect of a proposed merger”.

The Competition Authority therefore seeks any stakeholder views for or against the proposed merger, which may be sent within 10 days from date of this publication (12 February 2019),” said the Competition Authority. While investigating the acquisition, the Competition Authority has found that First Capital Bank is a company incorporated in accordance with the Laws of Botswana but controlled by First Capital Bank Plc Malawi; Everglades Holdings (Pty) Ltd, Botswana; Premier Capital Ltd, Mauritius; Prime Bank Ltd, Kenya; and members of the Anadkat Family.

“First Capital Bank Plc is a commercial bank registered in Malawi and listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange, with no other business interests in Botswana. Everglades Holdings (Pty) Ltd is an investment holding company wholly owned by Hemantkumar Kantilal Patel, a British citizen with other diverse business interests in Botswana, not within the banking sector. Prime Bank Ltd is a commercial bank registered in Kenya, with no other business interests in Botswana.

Premier Capital Mauritius Ltd is wholly owned by Hitesh Natwarial Anadkat (the non-executive Chairman of First Capital Bank plc Malawi) with no other business interests in Botswana. The Anadkat family being Hitesh N. Andakat’s wife and children holds British passports with no other business interests in Botswana,” says the local antitrust body. Competition Authority further states that First Capital Bank is a commercial bank, providing deposits, loans to corporates, individuals and Small Medium Micro Enterprises [SMMEs].

First Capital Bank operates a total of four branches and five loan centres across Botswana, specifically in Francistown, Gaborone, Kanye, Mochudi, Mogoditshane and Palapye, according to the antitrust body.  It further states that First Capital Bank has two subsidiaries: Diron Ridge (Pty) Ltd and Jetwig Enterprises (Pty) Ltd; both of which are not in operation.The Directors of FCBL are Hitesh N. Anadkat; Hemantkumar K. Patel; Stephen D. Pezarro (all British); Daniel Swabi, Judy N. Tsonope and Boitumelo K. Tibone (all Batswana), says Competition Authority.

The Directors of Bank of India Botswana, the entity targeted for acquisition by First Capital Bank, are Atanu K. Das; Uddalok Bhattacharya (both Indians); Naseem B. Lahri; Tlhopane N. Motsepe; Felicia B. January and Pauline Oreeditse Motswagae (all Batswana).

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Payless to partake in BSE’s Flagship Tshipidi program

28th June 2022
PAYLESS

Newly established wholly indigenous citizen owned retail chain Payless Retail (PTY) Ltd is set to partake in the first session of Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE)’s Tshipidi Mentorship Program (TMP) on Monday June 29th.

The TMP aims to train and capacitate SMEs so they can operate as corporates and eventually list on the local bourse. According to local bourse, BSE, the program aims to provide practical training to potential issuers through a comprehensive and interactive program that covers the key themes necessary to position a company to list on the BSE.

Payless Retail is a newly established supermarket chain whose mission is to become a convenient one-stop shopping destination as it is one of the Botswana oldest retailing brands.  It started off as Corner Supermarket in January 1976, and to date boasts of nine stores in, among others, Gaborone, Mochudi, Molepolole and Tlokweng. Payless was recently acquired by Ellis Retail Group, which is led by businessman Elliot Moshoke.

The takeover catapulted Ellis Retail to the envious position of being the first wholly indigenous owned major retail chain. “We jumped at this opportunity because it gave us a chance to prove to Batswana that the retail business is open and lucrative.”

The objective is to create a proudly Botswana retail chain that fully supports our national Vision, economic development and citizen economic empowerment ambitions,” Moshoke told BusinessPost.

He further emphasized that Batswana are capable and able to run large scale businesses hence they need to accept invite foreign investors who will come in to support us not take the business.
“Our win as Payless in the Fast Moving Consumer goods (FMCG) industry is a win for Batswana. We need their support in this difficult and challenging journey.

As you are aware, Payless is the only retail chain in the hands of Batswana ba Sekei. We need to take advantage of this to generate employment and create small businesses in retail and Agri businesses,” he explained.

The retailer has also partnered with Botswana Investment & Trade Center (BITC) on their #PushaBW campaign with a view to initiating earnest engagement with local producers to iron out bottlenecks and ensure seamless trading.

“Local producers have to be part of the phenomenal growth of the Payless brand. This will in turn facilitate employment creation and economic growth. We did this because we have the utmost respect for local manufacturers and producers,” he mentioned.

Payless is currently restocking all of its stores; a development that Moshoke says is testament to the retailer’s commitment to growing the brand and ensuring continuity of business. He further revealed that renowned retail suppliers like PST and CA Sales have reignited their trust in Payless, opening their doors for Payless as they have faith in the retailer’s new owners.

The takeover has reportedly saved more than 200 jobs and gave a new lease of life to the previously fledging Payless brand. According to a press release from the management team, the Payless work forces are also extremely excited about what the future holds. The TMP is a comprehensive and interactive program that covers the key themes necessary to position a company to list on the BSE.

The program is administered by experts within the listing ecosystem and seeks to bring the potential issuers closer to the listings advisers, investors and leaders of already listed companies.  “As a strategic initiative, the BSE decided to set up this mentorship program in a bid to assist SMEs to strategize, corporatize and acclimatize in order to list to access equity finance and expand operations,” said the BSE.

The TMP will avail to SMEs practical insights, knowledge and feedback from institutional investors, increased awareness of the BSE listing requirements as well as an intimate network of advisors and CEOs of listed companies. After training, Payless will graduate with improve governance structures and better knowledge of articulating its business strategy. The retailer will also gain increased visibility through BSE marketing platforms.

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BITC assisted companies rake in P2.96 billion in export earnings

21st June 2022
BITC-CEO-Keletsositse-Olebile

Despite Covid-19 interrupting trade worldwide, exporting companies in Botswana which benefited from the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) services realised P2.96 billion in export earnings during the period from April 2020 to March 2021.

In the preceding financial year, the sale of locally manufactured products in foreign markets had registered export revenue of P2, 427 billion against a target of P3, 211 billion BITC, which celebrates 10 years since establishment, continues to carry out several initiatives targeted towards expanding the Botswana export base in line with Botswana’s desire to be an export led economy, underpinned by a robust export promotion programme in line with the National Export Strategy.

The main products exported were swamp cruiser boats, pvc tanks and pvc pipes, ignition wiring sets, semi-precious stones, veterinary medicines, hair braids, coal, textiles (towels and t-shirts) and automobile batteries. These goods were destined mainly for South Africa, Zimbabwe, Austria, Germany, and Namibia.

With Covid-19 still a problem, BITC continues to roll out targeted virtual trade promotion missions across the SADC region with a view to seeking long-lasting market opportunities for locally manufactured products.

Recently, the Centre facilitated participation for Botswana companies at the Eastern Cape Development Council (ECDC) Virtual Export Symposium, the Botswana-Zimbabwe Virtual Trade Mission, the Botswana-Zambia Virtual Trade Mission, Botswana-South Africa Virtual Buyer/Seller Mission as well as the Botswana-Namibia Virtual Trade Mission.

BITC has introduced an e-Exporting programme aimed at assisting Botswana exporters to conduct business on several recommended e-commerce platforms. Due to the advent of COVID-19, BITC is currently promoting e-trade among companies through the establishment of e-commerce platforms and is assisting local companies to embrace digitisation by adopting e-commerce platforms to reach export markets as well as assisting local e-commerce platform developers to scale up their online marketplaces.

During the 2019/2020 financial year, BITC embarked on several initiatives targeted at growing exports in the country; facilitation of participation of local companies in international trade platforms in order to enhance export sales of local products and services into external markets.

BITC also helped in capacity development of local companies to compete in global markets and the nurturing of export awareness and culture among local manufacturers in order to enhance their skills and knowledge of export processes; and in development and implementation of trade facilitation tools that look to improve the overall ease of doing business in Botswana.

As part of building export capacity in 2019/20, six (6) companies were selected to initiate a process to be Organic and Fair Trade Certified. These companies are; Blue Pride (Pty) Ltd, Motlopi Beverages, Moringa Technology Industries (Pty) Ltd, Sleek Foods, Maungo Craft and Divine Morula.

In 2019 seven companies which were enrolled in the Botswana Exporter Development Programme were capacitated with attaining BOBS ISO 9001: 2015 certification. Three (3) companies successfully attained BOBS ISO 9001:2015 certification. These were Lithoflex (Pty) Ltd, General Packaging Industries and Power Engineering.

BITC’s annual flagship exhibition, Global Expo Botswana (GEB) to create opportunities for trade and strategic synergies between local and international companies. The Global Expo Botswana) is a premier business to business exposition that attracts FDI, expansion of domestic investment, promotion of exports of locally produced goods and services and promotion of trade between Botswana and other countries.

Another tool used for export development by BITC is the Botswana Trade Portal, which has experienced some growth in terms of user acceptance and utilisation globally. The portal provides among others a catalogue of information on international, regional and bilateral trade agreements to which Botswana is a party, including the applicable Rules, Regulations and Requirements and the Opportunities for Botswana Businesses on a product by product basis.

The portal also provides information on; measures, legal documents, and forms and procedures needed by Botswana companies that intend on doing business abroad. BITC continues to assist both potential and existing local manufacturing and service entities to realise their export ambitions. This assistance is pursued through the ambit of the Botswana Exporter Development Programme (BEDP) and the Trade Promotion Programme.

BEDP was revised in 2020 in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with a vision to developing a diversified export-based economy. The programme focuses mostly on capacitating companies to reach export readiness status.

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Business

Inflation up 2.3 percent in May

21st June 2022
Inflation

Prices for goods and services in this country continue to increase, with the latest figures from Statistics Botswana showing that in May 2022, inflation rate rose to 11.9 percent from 9.6 percent recorded in April 2022.

According to Statistics Botswana update released this week, the largest upward contributions to the annual inflation rate in May 2022 came from increase in the cost of transport (7.2 percent), housing, water, electricity, gas & other Fuels (1.4 percent), food & non-alcoholic beverages (1.1 percent) and miscellaneous goods & services (0.8 percent).

With regard to regional inflation rates between April and May 2022, the Rural Villages inflation rate went up by 2.5 percentage points, from 9.6 percent in April to 12.1 percent in May 2022, according to the government owned statistics entity.

In the monthly update the entity stated that the Urban Villages inflation rate stood at 11.8 percent in May 2022, a rise of 2.4 percentage points from the April rate of 9.4 percent, whereas the Cities & Towns inflation rate recorded an increase of 1.9 percentage points, from 9.9 percent in April to 11.8 percent in May.

Commenting on the national Consumer Price Index, the entity stated that it went up by 2.6 percent, from 120.1 in April to 123.2 in May 2022. Statisticians from the entity noted that the transport group index registered an increase of 7.3 percent, from 134.5 in April to 144.2 in May, mainly due to the rise in retail pump prices for petrol and diesel by P1.54 and P2.74 per litre respectively, which effected on the 13th of May 2022.

The food & non-alcoholic beverages group index rose by 2.6 percent, from 118.6 in April 2022 to 121.6 in May 2022 and this came as a result of increase in prices of oils & fats, vegetables, bread & cereal, mineral waters, soft drinks, fruits & vegetables juices, fish (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen) and meat (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen), according to the Statisticians.

The Statisticians said the furnishing, household equipment & routine maintenance group index rose by 1.0 percent, from 111.6 in April 2022 to 112.7 in May 2022 and this was attributed to a general increase in prices of household appliances, glassware, tableware & household utensils and goods & services for household maintenance.

The prices for clothing & footwear group index moved from 109.4 to 110.4, registering a rise of 0.9 percent during the period under review. Bank of Botswana has projected higher inflation in the short term, associated with the likelihood of further increases in domestic fuel prices in response to persistent high international oil prices and added that the possible increase in public service salaries could add also upward pressure to inflation in this country.

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