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Choppies on the rebound

While there is rife speculation on the abrupt drop of giant retailer Choppies shares few days ago, the Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Stock Exchange Limited(BSEL) Thapelo Tsheole has seen the bright side. Choppies is estimated to have lost about P1.7 billion in value following the drop in share price.

When addressing journalists just after BSEL’s 5th Bell Opening Ceremony, Tsheole said there was a lot of interest by investors on Choppies and many were demanding information, a positive thing according to him. Choppies’s fall in share price has also been marred by a lot of speculation and controversy with some alleging that the increase in stock is because of the entity’s allegations of money laundering and fraud. Tsheole said they saw the allegations in media platforms and remain just that, “allegations will remain allegations”. Meanwhile experts believe the fall of Choppies emanated to the entity’s failure to release financial results.

 “The interesting thing is that at least now we are seeing a lot of activism among the shareholders which is what we have always encourage. A lot of people sometimes who own shares have a tendency to sit back thinking that the stock exchange is there to do something for them,” said Tsheole.

Tsheole revealed that even though they are practically owners of entities, investors tend to only ask questions when share prices fall, like the current case of Choppies. The BSEL said some even contact him but mistake BSEL’s role by asking the stock exchange “to save Choppies investors” especially when share prices fall drastically like in the case of Choppies. Some even want BSEL to investigate Choppies money laundering, according to Tsheole, the role to investigate such financial crimes rests with serious crime units or relevant authorities that deals with such lawlessness.

“Our role is not to investigate fraud or money laundering but to facilitate that listed entities complies in terms of the listing rules that any material information that could potentially affect the value of the shares is out to the investors,” said Tsheole.
Tsheole also explained that BSEL does not control share prices but only offers a platform for trading shares.

Also to provide sufficient information on a listed entity to avoid some people who would use privilege information to their advantage when taking investment decisions, said Tsheole. The BSEL chief also stated that the stock broker’s role is to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities to sufficient, quality or privilege information when taking any decision to trade.

THE DOUBLE EDGED SWORD OF FALL OF PRICE

Tsheole explained to journalists this week that the drop in shares of Choppies should not only be seen in the negative as some would see the positives. He said in the realities of the market or the game of stock exchanges, when prices fall some sees hope and buy shares while the prices are still low while others see gloom and walks out of.

Tsheole also said the speculation of Choppies going down because it is involved in controversies may be a tact used by those who wish to see the retailer’s price go down so that they can take it by hostile takeover. He hinted that probably Choppies has many rivals as it traverses Southern Africa to mark its footprint, giving completion to older retailers who may come with other tactics of taking the local supermarket down.

While he confirmed that they are currently giving Choppies a hard time to release share and that they are also hitting it with charges, Tsheole lauded the giant retailer that “it is a credible company and a big brand and it has expanded into Africa and giving those big South African companies competition.”

Tsheole also said Batswana are in a panic mode maybe because of their familiarity with Choppies as the common local retailer, but fall of shares have happened many times in the history of stock markets. He gave example of giant social network Facebook whose stock fell drastically earlier this month due to involvement in a ‘data theft’ scandal.  He said it is the reality of the game that some lose badly in the stock market while some see big opportunities.

THE SHARE PRICE REBOUND

Choppies’ share price fell as much as 85% on Tuesday morning after the Botswana-based food retailer said it would miss a deadline to publish its financial results for the year to June. The group, which is reportedly in a dispute about its shareholding structure in Zimbabwe, said "a number of matters requiring the attention of the board and management, which may impact materially on the results, are being considered.

"The possible reporting impacts of these matters have not yet been finally and fully determined," the company said in a statement, adding it would miss the reporting deadline of September 30 2018. The group said its profit after tax would fall by at least 20%, though it could not yet quantify the decline. Choppies’ shares closed 73% lower on the Botswana Stock Exchange and 72% lower at 46c on the JSE.

The group, which operates across Southern and East Africa, listed on the JSE in May 2015 at R4.90 per share. The Choppies shares were trading again on wednesady and were on a rebound, trading at 65thebe after dropping to 40 thebe on Tuesday.

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The Bulb World starts operations in South Africa

8th April 2021

Homegrown LED light manufacturing company, The Bulb World, has kick started operations in South Africa, setting in motion the company’s ambitious continental expansion plans.

The Bulb World, which was partly funded by Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) at the tune of P4 million, to manufacture LED lighting bulbs for both commercial and residential use in 2017, announced last year that it will enter the South African market in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of North West province under the auspices of North West Development Corporation (NWDC).

The company has already secured a deal with South Africa authorities which entails production factory shells and tax incentives arrangements.

The company founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ketshephaone Jacob has also previously stated that the company is looking for just under P50 million to finance its expansion strategy and is reaching out to institutional investors such as Botswana Public Officers Pensioners Fund (BPOPF) and government investment arm, Botswana Development Corporation (BDC).

However, Jacob told WeekendPost that instead of sitting and waiting for expansion funding the company has started hitting the ground running.

“We have decided to get in the streets of SA, start selling lights from door to door, ” said Jacob who is in currently in Rusternburg to oversee the introduction of The Bulb World products in the market.

Jacob explained more brand activations will be undertaken in South Africa. “The plan is to do it the whole of North West and Limpopo province, through hawkers, we give the hawkers the lights to sell at a factory price and they put a mark up and make a living,” he said.

The Bulb World operates from Selibe Phikwe, it currently employees 65 young people, 80 % of which are Phikwe youth. The company plans to add 100 jobs this year alone as it forges ahead with its regional and continental expansion plans.

In July this year Bulb World products will hit South African Shelves:  Pick n Pay, Checkers and Africa’s largest retailer Shoprite.

The Bulb World has been registered as a company in South Africa; the company will start producing lights from Mogwasa after striking a special economic zones deal with North West Development Corporation in North West Province South Africa.

“Over the next 10 years we are looking to create over 5,000 jobs in Africa. Through our expansion into all of Africa we will be able to create employment for various individuals in different sectors namely; manufacturing, distribution electronics and retail,” Jacob told this publication earlier this year.

Jacob said if all goes well, the plan is to have taken over Africa or rather penetrated, and have prevalent presence in the African market.

“We are gunning to have at least 30 percent market share by then. According to a 2016 Market Survey, the total valuation of sales for LED Lighting was 57BN, a portion of which we plan to have taken over by then,” he said.

 

While the company has set its eyes on Africa, Jacob said, the company has not fully exploited its local growth, indicating that there could be strategic factories built to supply neighbouring countries of Angola and Zimbabwe.

“There is potential for further local expansion as well to other areas of Botswana if things run smoothly as anticipated. Hopefully in the long-term if our fellow Africans and all these markets receive us well we are planning to build another factory,” he said.

“We are looking to build another factory in the Chobe/Ngamiland Area that will give priority to markets in Zimbabwe and Angola,” he said

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‘Oil exploration will have minimal impact’

30th March 2021
Okavango-River-Basin

The Maun based Okavango Research Institute (ORI) has downplayed the impacts of oil and gas exploration in part of Okavango delta arguing that given the distance proposed the likelihoods of negative impacts drilling these exploration wells on the surface water systems is likely to be negligible.

The Institution released a position paper titled ‘Proposed Petroleum (Oil and Gas) Exploration Operations in the Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) No. 73,’ with findings stating that, in the event of discovery of economically viable hydrocarbon deposits, much more careful consideration of the impacts and economic benefits of development of the resource will be needed.

For example, the fracking process for gas and oil extraction is known to require large volumes of underground water.

It further argues that increased extraction of the underground water is likely to affect the water table level and further affect the overall water availability in the river-basin.

“The effect on water availability and use may become worse if surface water is reticulated or sourced by any means from the Kavango River. Should the exploration and fracking for oil and gas expand to Block 1720, 1721 and 1821, the impact on water availability and quality will be significant, especially if the wastewater is not well managed,” said the paper.

The research unit recommends close communication between the relevant Basin State Ministries (Mineral Resources, Environment) and the Permanent Commission on the Okavango River Basin, OKACOM, and other stakeholders must be facilitated.

This will facilitate sharing of the correct information on the desired intentions of the basin states and compromises sought for the sustainability of the ecosystems in the downstream of the Cubango-Okavango river Basin, states the position paper.

ORI as a key stakeholder with scientific information says it is positioned to provide scientific advice and guidance to decision-makers on the potential impacts of both exploration and development and operation activities.

It also recommends that while the impacts might be minimal at the exploration stage, environmental impacts during the development and extraction process are significant.

Findings also state that the SADC Protocol places a mandatory duty to make a notification of planned measures undertaken in any riparian state in cases where such measures hold the potential to cause ‘significant adverse effects.’

It further states that where the planned development is trivial and not expected to cause any significant harm, the development state is not under duty to notify other riparian states.

Given that the drilling in the Kavango Region in Nambia is merely for exploratory purpose and the possibility of harm is minor, it is therefore not surprising that the Namibian government did not inform Botswana.

However, should it be found that the oil can be profitably or economically exploited, the Namibian government would be under a duty to notify both Angola and Botswana.

The institution further states that to ensure sustainable development in the Okavango Delta the following in the context of exploration for and potential development of hydrocarbon deposits within the Cubango-Okavango River Basin, it must be considered that the Okavango Delta is a World Heritage Site listed in 2014 by UNESCO and one of the binding requirements of the listing is the non-permissible commercial mining of any mineral, gas or oil within the World Heritage Site.

It states that the Okavango Delta is also a RAMSAR site in which mining is not allowed.

Should the exploration for minerals, oil and gas be allowed, there is a high chance that a mineral, oil or gas may be found given that the Delta is sitting on karoo sediments and shale rocks which in other parts of the world have been found to be sources of oil and gas deposits. Should oil or gas be discovered, there will be a strong socio-economic pressure to mine oil or gas and create jobs for the masses.

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Pakmaya yeast penetrates local market

30th March 2021
Pakmaya Africa Sales Manager: Cem Perdar

Manufactured in Turkey, Pakmaya Instant Dry Yeast can be used in the production of various fermented products, as it is suited for both traditional and industrial baking processes. All kinds of breads, buns and fermented pastry products are typical examples of applications.

Pakmaya Africa Sales Manager Cem Perdar says Pakmaya has 4 plants in across the world, further indicating that all of the plants have the highest standards of quality certificates and approvals. Regarding raw material, molasses is the main ingredient for yeast. Concerning production activities, yeast manufacturing requires high know-how and capability. Pakmaya has all those capabilities and aspects more than 45 years.

According to Perdar, Pakmaya has been existent in African markets since 30 years. From South to North, Central to East and West, a consumer can find Pakmaya in nearly every part of Africa continent.

“With its high quality, rich product selection and good service, our brand has become the favorite yeast of many Africans. On the other hand, our distributors in African countries are working very hardly and loyally in order to promote our products in their markets. After some time, we are becoming like families with our exclusive distributors in Africa and this enables both parts to work harder and keeps our product sustainable in market,” he said in an interview this week.

The yeast manufacturing giant made its way to Botswana market. The company has been smoothly working with Kamoso Distribution, a local distribution company. Perdar told BusinessPost that two entities have been working hard to earn is market locally.

“At the moment we have a good market share with them in Botswana market. I’m sure during 2021 long, we will be increasing our sales and market position. Soon we are going to start a marketing campaign in Botswana, so that means Batswana will see and recognize Pakmaya more and more. Pakmaya wants to be the best friend of bakers in bakeries and ladies at homes in Botswana.”

As per global COVID-19 regulations to curb the spread of the COVID-19, Botswana just like other country closed borders. Providentially, the restrictions did not affect the company destructively.

Perdar says “Kamoso Africa is a very important and strong partner in Botswana territory. With Kamoso’s hard work and strict measurements, we have done a very good job. So as Pakmaya, we have not suffered any distribution problem. Our partner is doing the needful at the reaching our products to end users.”

He further said “We are doing well in Botswana market and hoping to make much more. Our aim is to enter every single corner in Botswana territory. With our new marketing campaigns, we are planning to be the most preferred yeast in Botswana market.”

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