Fresh information from BancABC which is currently undergoing through a process of listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) is that the bookrunner had received irrevocable undertakings from institutional investors to purchase 148.6 million offered shares, representing 82.3 percent of the offer.
BancABC shares sale opened on Tuesday and would close on November 23, then the local bank will be officially listed on 10 December. The Pan-African financial services provider ABC Holdings, Atlas Mara subsidiary, has decided to sell 24.9 percent of BancABC to raise P360 million for upgrading its banking infrastructure.
“BancABC has invited selected investors to apply to purchase up to 180 525 000 ordinary shares (“the offer shares”) at a price of P2.00 per share. With 725 million available shares of no par value, ABC Holdings Limited proposes to sell 24.9 percent of the ordinary issued shares. Furthermore, 30 percent of the offer shares will be offered to clients of the Sponsoring Broker and other registered stock broker, who may be members of the public as defined in Section 297 of the Companies Act,” said the banker on a statement released this week.
Of the 82.3 percent offered shares for institutional investors, BancABC Managing Director Kgotso Bannalotlhe revealed that even though their current target is mainly private institutional investors, “members of the public have an opportunity to participate in the offer through the brokers.”An institutional investor is a non-bank person or organization that trades securities in large enough share quantities or dollar amounts that it qualifies for preferential treatment and lower commissions.
If members of the public take up the Offer Shares available to them, the number of shares committed for institutional investors will be reduced pro rata by the number of shares taken up by the public. Of the P360 million which is offered and will be a dedication to develop IT infrastructure and banking platforms not excluding; migrating and upgrading core banking software of all banks, migrating onto a common mobile and internet banking platform, establishment of a centralized card processing platform, ATM upgrades and implementation of a centralized Point of Sale (“POS”) processing platform.
According to BancABC, this is why the bank listed, which is, to attract important stakeholders in Botswana into the shareholding of the bank which will serve the long term interest of the ABCH Group; to enable the Company to attain greater access to efficient capital markets in raising local funding to support future growth plans and to serve as an opportunity for the Selling Shareholder to monetise part of its shareholding in the company.
According to the latest available financial statements of other commercial banks in the industry, BancABC is Botswana’s 4th most profitable bank, and 5th largest in terms of assets. BancABC is confident that it has a competitive advantage over its rivals because it has a platform positioned for scale and profitability.The bank also believes it offers a low non-performing loan book supported by robust credit model. BancABC has a leverage unique and adventageous partnership with key institutions and has a sound performance on key financial metrics.
Challenges of Banc ABC
According to BancABC sponsoring broker Motswedi Securities, the bank needs to work hard on its non-interest income which is a low contribution to the bank.“BancABC lags the industry in terms of non-interest income. This revenue stream is key especially in the current environment where interest rates are at ultra-low levels. Some commercial banks are able to cover their non-interest expenses with non-interest income. For example FNBB non-interest income/total income stands around 45.7 percent while for BancABC it’s around 18.8 percent. The industry average is 38.5 percent according to Bank of Botswana 2017 Banking Supervision Annual Report,” said Motswedi Securities.
The broker further highlighted the bank’s higher cost to income. According to Motswedi Securities BancABC cost to income ratio of 62.1 percent is above the industry average of 59.9 percent and we believe the bank has scope to reduce operating cost.The broker says investment in IT infrastructure will bear fruits in the long term through income growth and improved efficiencies which will help bring costs down. It is understood that BancABC management is targeting a cost to income ratio of less than 55 percent in the medium term and Motswedi Securities approves this move as it is “attainable.”
In its latest analysis received this week, the bank’s loan book skewed to the retail sector.“The composition of BancABC loan book is more skewed towards consumer lending at 73 percent. The corporate and lending book make up 15 percent and 10 percent respectively. The large part of the loan book is unsecured personal loans. However, the bank collects over 96 percent of all repayments directly through deduction codes and this model has worked very well for other micro lenders such as Letshego.
There is need for the bank to diversify its loan book to manage this risk. This can be done through growing the book from the corporate sector, SME’s and mortgage lending.The biggest concern in the banking sector is the high levels of households’ indebtedness and diversifying the book from the household will go a long way in managing this risk.Vehicle and asset finance is another area that the bank needs to focus on as currently it doesn’t have a presence at car dealerships in Botswana,” said Motswedi Securities.
Another point by Motswedi Securities is that the bank has a high cost of funds. According to the broker, as at December 2017, BancABC cost of funding stood at 4.0 percent and is relatively higher than its competitors.The broker says this is due to the fact that the bank’s deposit base is mainly comprised of institutional clients who mostly come with short term deposits that are somewhat costly as compared to retail deposits.In addition competition is very intense for this type of funding and this all reduces margins. Motswedi Securities further advised that the bank needs to diversify its streams and attract more deposits from the retail sector, which is less costly.
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
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.
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.