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Barclays bags 13 percent in profits

The bank with the second largest stock in the market has announced a 13 percent or P 558 million profits before tax. Barclays Bank Botswana, which will be operating as ABSA in July 2018 notes that it strives for excellence and they will continue holding on to the rights to trade as Barclays in Bank in Botswana.

The bank highlights that its Retail Banking market which was characterized by continued job losses in the mining sector and industries affected by the closure of a key mine in 2016 remain slightly affected. The Barclays Botswana Managing Director Reinette Van Der Merwe, has on Thursday highlighted that they have necessitated a revision of the lending criteria to the affected customer segments.

The released statements for the year which ended December 2017 show that there had been a continuous modest growth in household income which resulted in constrained demand for credit from households. The pressure on household incomes consequently led to a reduction in the savings and deposits from individuals and therefore a decrease in the Bank’s retail customer deposits. Despite the headwinds in the market, Retail Banking registered a strong overall performance. Profitability increased year-on-year driven by a marked improvement in impairments. While total revenue remained flat year-on-year, non-interest income registered a notable growth of 9 percent

The Bank Financial Director (FD), Mumba Kalifungwa notes that they forecast inflation to be at an average of 3.7 percent in 2018. This forecast comes after Inflation had been stable and averaged 3.3 percent in 2017. The moderate increase in economic activity, alongside slow growth in personal incomes which resulted in weak activity resulted in low inflationary pressures. As the cost of living including fuel, electricity, service tariffs, transport and water rose, the results note that it did not do much harm as it only moderately impacted inflation in 2017.

Imported inflation therefore is reported to have been restrained given low inflation among trading partner countries and the relatively stable Pula exchange rate. However in 2018, they note they expect inflation to pick up gradually on the back of rising international oil prices and expansionary government budget.

In line with their business strategy to grow fee income, the bank stresses that it will continue seeking better and improved ways of service provision. Deposits are reported to have grown by 6 percent while loans balances increased by 3 percent year-on-year. Barclay’s financial results show that significant strides were made in delivering strategic priorities during the 2017 financial year.  The FD explained that they will continue to review the number and location of their physical distribution channels as increasing number of customers continue migrate from brick and mortar to digital channels.  

The Business Banking strategy continued to deliver results with an 11 percent year-on-year growth in profit before tax. This growth in profitability is evident to have been driven by both net interest income and fee commission income. The main driver to net interest income was on the back of strong asset growth on loans and advances to customers then business strategy forecast shows that there will be a continued focus on embedding strong banking relationship in order to deliver client service that would differentiate service to customers.

The results show that the Bank through the launch of the Enterprise Supply Development (ESD) is positive the initiative will enable them to serve the Small Medium Enterprise (SME) market better through supporting the corporate value chain. “We will be rolling out new products and services during the year which we believe will continue to enhance our offering and in implementing our strategy,”

Loans and advances to customers increased by 14 percent year-on-year to P10.7 billion. This growth is largely associated with Corporate, Retail and Business Banking segments that grew by 36 percent and 6 percent respectively. This bank notes was mainly in their chosen business segments, where various debt and transactional banking solutions were offered. Customer liabilities decreased by 2 percent year-on-year largely driven by corporate deposits where we saw a reduction of 4 percent to P6 billion. We continue to strive to improve our customer service and product offering to existing and potential customers with a view of providing access to finance as well as various payment solutions.

This has continued to contribute positively to the momentum that the bank continues to build on. The results emphasizes that it remains important to insure there is growth in the fee income remains critical to their strategy and this will continue to be an area of focus in expanding the banks revenue base. The bank notes that it will continue to focus on controlling costs, and managing impairments by selective credit processes and maintaining the focus on collections throughout 2018.

The FD highlighted that their balance sheet remains solid at a total position of P15 billion, with strong liquidity and capital levels. He explained that they remained well above the regulatory Liquid Asset Ratio (LAR) requirement of 10 percent for the year ended 31 December 2017 ending at 15.49 percent. The Bank’s regulatory capital position was P2 billion representing a ratio of 19.8 percent above the regulatory limit of 15 percent.

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Unleashing potential: Connectivity as a catalyst for economic and societal growth in Botswana

23rd April 2024

Imagine a young entrepreneur in the city of Gaborone with dreams of starting her own business. With access to high-speed internet, she can connect with suppliers, market her products online, and reach customers around the world, all from the comfort of her home.

Just a few years ago, this internet access was a luxury reserved for the privileged few. Today, however, thanks to the ambitious National Broadband Strategy launched in 2019, the digital landscape of Botswana is undergoing a dramatic transformation, reflecting the government’s commitment to providing stable and secure internet connectivity to businesses, citizens, and organisations.

A proactive approach to ensuring uninterrupted connectivity

The importance of reliable connectivity can’t be overstated. For instance, on 14 March 2024, four major undersea telecommunications cables, West Africa Cable System (WACS), Africa Coast to Europe (ACE), MainOne, and SAT–3, experienced simultaneous outages, with significant internet disruptions across the continent.

In this instance, Liquid Intelligent Technologies’ (Liquid) proactive investment in multiple undersea cables along both the east and west coasts of Africa showed the benefits of a robust and diversified network. Our redundant international backbone ensured traffic was rerouted, maintaining an uninterrupted service and keeping customers connected. This commitment to uninterrupted connectivity is mirrored in our initiatives such as the Gaborone Metro Ring.

Driving growth and promoting investment

The Gaborone Metro Ring is a telecommunications network powered by Liquid Botswana, which has turned the bustling capital city into a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship. Start-ups and established businesses alike are harnessing the power of high-speed internet to drive growth, create jobs, and open doors to investment.

Connectivity lies at the heart of Botswana’s digital transformation, creating economic growth and community development. The Gaborone Metro Ring, which spans key business hubs and high-density areas, provides internet access and empowers individuals and hundreds of businesses in the city, driving innovation, and fostering inclusivity. Covering Gaborone and Lobatse, it is providing the internet connectivity necessary to positively transform and grow the Botswana economy.

Fuelling entrepreneurship and job creation

One of the key benefits of enhanced connectivity is its ability to support advanced data, video, messaging, and voice services, paving the way for increased efficiency and productivity. Businesses, particularly start-ups and SMEs, can leverage high-speed internet to streamline operations, reach new markets, and drive growth. Moreover, reduced tariffs and exclusive offers within the metro fibre zone enable businesses to innovate and compete globally, fuelling entrepreneurship and job creation.

Empowering individuals and strengthening communities

In a country with 1.95 million internet users, representing an internet penetration rate of 73.5% of the total population, the benefits of connectivity extend far beyond Lobatse and Gaborone, reaching communities across the country. Improved access to information and services empowers individuals, strengthens communities, and drives social development. Moreover, connectivity plays a crucial role in bridging the digital divide, ensuring that no one is left behind in Botswana’s journey towards a digitally inclusive society.

As Botswana continues to embrace digital transformation, the role of connectivity will only become more critical. It is not just about connecting people, but about empowering them to realise their full potential, driving economic growth, and building a more inclusive society.

Internet is the backbone of a knowledge-based economy. From empowering entrepreneurs and startups and fuelling the digital economy, to improving education and healthcare, reliable and resilient connectivity is key. In addition, in the event of an emergency such as the recent multiple undersea cable failure, a diverse and stable option that ensures business continuity is essential. The Liquid-powered Gaborone Metro Ring, adding to the company’s 110,000km of fibre across the continent, is fuelling the transformative power of connectivity in Botswana.

 

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Business

LLR transforms from Company to Group reporting

9th April 2024

Botswana Stock Exchange listed diversified real estate company, Letlole La Rona Limited (“LLR” or “the Company” or “the Group”), posted its first set of group financial statements which comprise the Company and Group consolidated accounts, which show strong financial performance for the six months ended 31 December 2023, with improvements across all key metrics.

The Company commenced the financial year with the appointment of a Deputy Chairperson, Mr Mooketsi Maphane, in order to bolster its governance and enhance leadership continuity through the development of a Board and Executive Management Succession Plan.

At operational level, LLR increased its shareholding in Railpark Mall from 32.79% to 57.79% and proudly took over the management of this prime asset.

The CEO of LLR, Ms Kamogelo Mowaneng commented “During the period under review, our portfolio continued to perform strongly, with improvements across all key metrics as a result of our ongoing focus on portfolio growth and optimisation.

“We are pleased to report a successful first half of the 2024 financial year, where we managed to not only grow the portfolio through strategic acquisitions and value accretive refurbishments but also recycled capital through the disposal of Moedi House as well as the ongoing sale of section titles at Red Square Apartments. The acquisition of an additional 25% stake in JTTM Properties significantly uplifted the value of our investment portfolio to P2.0 billion at a Group level. Our investment portfolio was further differentiated by the quality of our tenant base, as demonstrated by above market occupancy levels of 99.15% and strong collections of above 100% for the period”.

The growth in contractual revenue of 9% from the prior year’s P48.0 million to the current year P52.2 million, increased income from Railpark Mall, coupled with high collection rates, has enabled the company to declare a distribution of 9.11 thebe per linked unit, which is in line with the prior year.

 

In line with its strategic pillars of ‘Streamlined and Expanded Botswana Portfolio’ as well as ‘Quality African Assets’, the Group continuously monitors the performance of its investments to ensure that they meet the targeted returns.

“The Group continues to explore yield accretive opportunities for balance sheet growth and funding options that can be deployed to finance that growth” further commented the CEO of LLR Ms Kamogelo Mowaneng.

Ms Mowaneng further thanked the Group’s stakeholders for their continued support and stated that they look forward to unlocking further value in the Group.

 

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Botswana’s Electricity Generation Dips 26.4%

9th April 2024

The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has reported a significant decrease in electricity generation for the fourth quarter of 2023, with output plummeting by 26.4%. This decline is primarily attributed to operational difficulties at the Morupule B power plant, as per the latest Botswana Index of Electricity Generation (IEG) released recently.

Local electricity production saw a drastic reduction, falling from 889,535 MWH in the third quarter of 2023 to 654,312 MWH in the period under review. This substantial decrease is largely due to the operational challenges at the Morupule B power plant. Consequently, the need for imported electricity surged by 35.6% (136,243 MWH) from 382,426 MWH in the third quarter to 518,669 MWH in the fourth quarter. This increase was necessitated by the need to compensate for the shortfall in locally generated electricity.

Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO) was the principal supplier of imported electricity, accounting for 43.1% of total electricity imports during the fourth quarter of 2023. Eskom followed with 21.8%, while the remaining 12.1, 10.3, 8.6, and 4.2% were sourced from Electricidade de Mozambique (EDM), Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), Nampower, and Cross-border electricity markets, respectively. Cross-border electricity markets involve the supply of electricity to towns and villages along the border from neighboring countries such as Namibia and Zambia.

Distributed electricity exhibited a decrease of 7.8% (98,980 MWH), dropping from 1,271,961 MWH in the third quarter of 2023 to 1,172,981 MWH in the review quarter.

Electricity generated locally contributed 55.8% to the electricity distributed during the fourth quarter of 2023, a decrease from the 74.5% contribution in the same quarter of the previous year. This signifies a decrease of 18.7 percentage points. The quarter-on-quarter comparison shows that the contribution of locally generated electricity to the distributed electricity fell by 14.2 percentage points, from 69.9% in the third quarter of 2023 to 55.8% in the fourth quarter. The Morupule A and B power stations accounted for 90.4% of the electricity generated during the fourth quarter of 2023, while Matshelagabedi and Orapa emergency power plants contributed the remaining 5.9 and 3.7% respectively.

The year-on-year analysis reveals some improvement in local electricity generation. The year-on-year perspective shows that the amount of distributed electricity increased by 8.2% (88,781 MWH), from 1,084,200 MWH in the fourth quarter of 2022 to 1,172,981 MWH in the current quarter. The trend of the Index of Electricity Generation from the first quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2023 indicates an improvement in local electricity generation, despite fluctuations.

The year-on-year analysis also reveals a downward trend in the physical volume of imported electricity. The trend in the physical volume of imported electricity from the first quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2023 shows a downward trend, indicating the country’s continued effort to generate adequate electricity to meet domestic demand, has led to the decreased reliance on electricity imports.

In response to the need to increase local generation and reduce power imports, the government has initiated a new National Energy Policy. This policy is aimed at guiding the management and development of Botswana’s energy sector and encouraging investment in new and renewable energy. In the policy document, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Lefoko Moagi stated that the policy aims to transform Botswana from being a net energy importer to a self-sufficient nation with surplus energy for export into the region. Moagi expressed confidence that Botswana has the potential to achieve self-sufficiency in electric power supply, given the country’s readily available energy resources such as coal and renewable sources.

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