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Tough liquor laws continue to bleed Sechaba

Botswana’s premier breweries investment company, Sechaba Holding Limited this week reported contracted profits gathered during the trading year ended 31st December 2017. The company operates the country’s main beverages company, Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) with a 60 % shareholding.

According to the company’s 2017 annual report released on Wednesday, KBL which is the company’s sole investment, experienced significant decline of 4.73 percent in total beverages sales during the 12 month period that ended December 2017. This contraction was driven by poor performance in the company’s major beverages categories being Traditional Alcoholic Beverages, which registered a decline of 7.6 percent; Non Alcoholic brands, which realized a 7.0 percent contraction; while Clear Beer category posted a decline of 2.7%.

Beer – that is both traditional and clear beer had a tough start to the year on the backdrop of a slow economic downturn and unfavorable weather worsened by Tropical Cyclone Dineo which hit Botswana and the region with floods during the months of February and March.
This decline in beverage sales volume consequently shrunk KBL cash flow with the company registering a total of 12.2 % decline in Profits for the year as compared to the 12 month period ended 31 December 2016.

Sechaba Board Chairman, Thabo Matthews attributed the decline in the financial performance of the company to the current tough regulatory environment in which the company operates largely driven by the impact of the Alcohol Levy and Traditional Beer Regulations. “The regulatory environment continued to present very real challenges,” he noted. “The levy rate for alcohol content of 5% and less remained at 50%; and for alcohol content of above 5% is as it was at 55% for the year under review,” he said.

Matthews also underscored that changes made on the locally produced alcoholic beverages levy to include duty payable in terms of Customs and Excise Duty Act also impacted KBL business negatively.  “This change had a significant impact to the financial results of the company as it was subjected to the industry mid trading year, without prior notification from regulatory authorities,” he said.

Zooming into KBL beverage performance per segment, signals are that the decline in Clear Beer sales of 2.7% was attributed to adverse performance of the Castle Lite 660ml as well as non-performance of convenience packs across all brands which posted results of 12.6% and 11% decreases respectively.  Konrad Kaise, Sechaba Finance Director highlighted that the only positive recovery was posted by Carling Black Label brand with a positive result of 3.5% increase in sales compared to the year ended December 2016.

Under the Fruit Alcoholic Beverages category Sechaba reports that positive returns were gathered during the period under review. “This has been our fastest growing segment, consistently posting double-digit growth versus prior year and budget,” observed Johan De kok Group Managing Director.

De Kok noted that key performer brand was driven by Redds Vodka Lemon (RVL) which is gaining the position category captaincy.  “This stellar performance placed KBL amongst the best in the region and for the first time within C17 strolling into pole position ahead of competitor brands. We intend and expect more from this category as we are still driving and gaining share in this segment of the market,” he said. The 7.6 % decline in the Traditional Alcoholic Beverages category registered as the most poorly performed segment during the period under review.

Sechaba reports that this subdued performance was further worsened by a much softer December which declined by 4% when compared with prior year.  Sechaba MD noted that the pack performance of Traditional Beer category indicates that 1L and 2L packs were the hardest hit posting full year results of 10.1% and 6.6% decrease compared to the previous year.  Non-alcoholic Beverages were also the hardest hit resulting in a full year negative outcome of 7.0% versus prior year.

The report indicates that returnable bottles, 300ml and 1250ml were rationed and delisted respectively exiting the year at 73.7% lower than prior year. “The cans had a very tough year as they battled being the least affordable offering with decreased volume of 15.3% when compared with prior year.” Reveals Sechaba

Sechaba Brewery Holdings Limited is an investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange. Sechaba holds a 60% shareholding in its sole investment, Kgalagadi Breweries (Pty) Ltd (KBL), whilst AnheuserBusch InBev (AB InBev) holds 40%. AB InBev holds a further direct stake of 16.84% in Sechaba. AB InBev is the largest brewer in the world, with more than 500 beer brands sold in more than 150 countries and some 200,000 employees in over 50 countries, following a merger with SABMiller Plc in October, 2016.

AB InBev has management control over KBL, offering insight and experience with regard to management, technical, brand building and distribution expertise. KBL operates four traditional beer breweries, a clear beer brewery, a sparkling soft drinks production plant and four sales and distribution depots around the country. Botswana Development Corporation, wholly government owned investment entity owns 25.59 % stake in Sechaba Holdings Limited while Botswana’s largest Pension fund BPOPF holds a significant stake of over 20 % through its different asset managers.

LIQUOR ACT UNDER REVIEW

Meanwhile the beverages and breweries industry parliament this week received a motion that seeks to amend the liquor Act. The Bill was tabled by Minister of Investment, Trade & Industry Honorable Bogolo Kenewendo. The bills seeks to amend amongst others liquor trading hours ,which  is one the many changes that were introduced  by former President Lt Gen Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama.

The review of the liquor act is viewed by many as a brain child of Current President Mokgweetsi Masisi who observers note he is on a quest to undo many of Khama’s restrictive regulations. Reports from parliament indicate that the bill is receiving a significant backing from both opposition and ruling party law makers. The Alcohol Levy which companies in the beverages and liquor industry continue to report as a hindrance to business is also expected to be reviewed by parliament and cabinet with possibilities scraping it off or reducing it.

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Food prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate

28th November 2022

Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

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Still doing business the old way?

18th November 2022

It’s time to get business done better with MTN Business Botswana’s ICT Solutions.

Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.

More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.

Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.

A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.

Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
MTN’s evolution

For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.

As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.

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Business

BIE to vitalize the Dignity of Engineers

9th November 2022

Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in  which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.

The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.

Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.

“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.

He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.

Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.

“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.

He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.

He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc

“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran

Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.

“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.

Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that  the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.

“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.

He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.

“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams

He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .

Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution  said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.

“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.

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