BSE seeks to play role in economic makeover
The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) third annual Listings & Investment Conference is expected to be bigger, better and more informative this year. It shall also speak to the topic of economic diversification and the potential role of the BSE.
The conference will be held at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) on the 8th of March 2018. This year‘s edition speaks directly to current language of Botswana economic transformation quest, BSE officials told members of the press this Monday at their offices in Gaborone. The conference will be held under the theme “Botswana Stock Exchange – a platform for economic growth & diversification”.
The overall aim of the Listings & Investment Conference is to open up the BSE to the business community and bring together the BSE, private companies with the potential to list on the stock exchange, listed companies and experts in capital markets to discuss the value added to a private company by listing on a stock exchange. The listing process and requirement will also be discussed.
The conference will also provide a platform for listed companies to share lessons on how they created value through listing and how they leveraged on their listing to expand their services and products offerings to markets outside Botswana. This year, BSE has also extended the invitation to Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with the aim to give them exposure and provide business dialogue and exchange of views.
Giving more details on the event Botswana Stock Exchange Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the genesis of the conference was to attract listings to the Exchange and spread the message of listings as far as possible.“We have made efforts to reach ordinary people and educate them on the listing and investing in stock markets and we are realizing progress in terms of companies coming forward to list,” he said. Tsheole noted that convincing companies to list is a process and that the actual listing also is a long process.
BSE also shared that amongst the key topics to be discussed was the much talked about and futuristic crypto currencies which are novel areas of possible investor interest for the local market. “We will have experts in this interest area, because we have witnessed a lot of public interest in these commodities,” shared Tsheole. BSE Marketing Head Thapelo Moribame revealed that they have also invited representatives from the World Federation of Exchanges to brief the conference on the issue of listing family owned businesses.
This year ‘s conference will be sponsored by Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) Group as the Diamond Sponsor , Choppies Enterprises Limited, Rantao Kewagamang Attorneys and Monthe Marumo Attorneys among others. Just as in the previous two conferences the Vice President of the Republic of Botswana, Honourable Mokgweetsi E. Masisi will deliver the official opening remarks. The conference is expected to gather a total of 400 delegates, including lawyers, brokers, corporate financiers, asset managers and trustees amongst others
BSE to host AMEDA meet
The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE), will also host another key event just after the listing conference, which is the meeting of the Africa Middle East Depositories Association (AMEDA) in collaboration with Central Securities Depository Botswana (CSDB) which is a 100 % owned subsidiary of the Botswana Stock Exchange.
The 27th meeting of AMEDA will be held on the 11-12th April, 2018 at Cresta Mowana Safari Lodge in Kasane. BSE says hosting this meeting is a huge achievement for the BSE and Botswana as a whole as it will be the first time that the AMEDA meeting is held in Botswana. “This therefore demonstrates our prowess and our commitment to building a world class securities exchange as about 28 full members and 8 affiliate members of AMEDA from about 32 countries around the world will descend on the tourist town of Kasane for the meeting,” reads a recent press statement by BSE.
The AMEDA meetings are dedicated towards the review of the association’s financial performance, as well as conducting workshops on the relevant topics that impact the operations of the Central Securities Depositories in the AMEDA region. AMEDA is a non-profit organization comprised of Central Securities Depositories and Clearing Houses in Africa & the Middle East and was formed for the benefit of its member community, as an elective, inter-professional and regional facility geared towards fostering the spirit of cooperation, reciprocity and harmony among members. Its main purpose is to provide a forum for the exchange of information and experiences among its members in a spirit of mutual cooperation.
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Grit divests from Letlole La Rona
Grit Services Limited, a member of the pan African real estate group, London Stock Exchange listed Grit Real Estate Income Group is divesting from Letlole La Rona Limited (LLR), a local real estate company established by government investment arm Botswana Development Corporation over a decade ago.
The Board of Directors of Letlole La Rona Limited this week announced in a statement to Unitholders that Grit Services Limited (‘Grit’) has informed them of its intention to exit its investment in the company.
Grit has been a material shareholder in LLR since 2019. On 07 March 2023, Grit sold 6 421 000 linked units, representing 2.29% of the Company’s total securities in issue, at a market value of BWP 22 537 710.
This trade follows previous sales of 6.79% in December 2022, as communicated to Unitholders on 10 January 2023, as well as a further sale of 4.78% (representing 13 347 068 linked units) on 24 February 2023 to various shareholders.
In aggregate, Grit has sold 13.9% shareholding in the Letlole La Rona between December 2022 and March 2023, resulting in current shareholding of 11.25% in the Company.
Letlole La Rona said in the statement that the exit process will take place in an orderly manner so as to maintain stability of the Company’s share price.
The statement explained that Grit’s sale of its entire shareholding in LLR is in line with its decision to exit investments where it does not have majority control, or where it has significant exposure to currencies other than US dollar, Euro or hard-currency-pegged revenue streams.
“Grit has announced similar decisions pertaining to certain of its hospitality assets in Mauritius recently. The Company would like to advise Unitholders that it remains focused on long-term value delivery to all stakeholders” LLR said
In July last year as part of their Go-to-Africa strategy Letlole La Rona acquired an initial 30% equity stake in Orbit Africa Logistics, with an option to increase this investment to 50%. OAL is a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Mauritius, owning an industrial asset in a prime industrial node in Nairobi, Kenya.
The co-investment was done alongside a wholly owned subsidiary of London listed Grit. The Orbit facility is situated on a prime industrial site on Mombasa Road, the principal route south of Nairobi center, serving the main industrial node, the port of Mombasa and the industrial town of Athi River and is strategically located 11 kilometers south of the international airport and 9.6 kilometers from the Inland Container Depot.
Grit shareholding in Letlole La Rona was seen as strategic for LLR, for the company to leverage on Grit’s already existing continental presence and expand its wings beyond Botswana borders as already delivered by Kenya transaction.
Media reports have however suggested that LLR and Grit have since late last year had fundamental disagreements on how to go about the Go-to-Africa strategy amongst other things, fuelled by alleged Botswana government interference on the affairs of LLR.
Government through LLR founding shareholder – Botswana Development Corporation has a controlling stake of around 40 percent in the company. Government is the sole shareholder of Botswana Development Corporation.
Letlole La Rona recently released their financial results for the six months ended December 2022, revenue increased by 4% to P50.2 million from P48.4 million in the prior comparative six months, whilst operating profit was up 8% to P36.5 million. Profit before tax of P49.7 million was reported, an increase of 8% on the prior comparative six months.
“We are encouraged by the strong results, notwithstanding a challenging economic environment. Our performance was mainly underpinned by annual lease escalations, our quality tenant base and below average market vacancy levels, especially in our warehouse portfolio,” Kamogelo Mowaneng, Letlole La Rona Chief Executive Officer commented.
LLR reported a weighted average lease expiry period of 3.3 years and escalation rates averaging 6.8% per annum for the period ended 31 December 2022.Its investment portfolio value increased by 14% year-on-year to close the period at P1.4 billion, mainly driven by the acquisition of a 30% stake in OAL in July 2022.
The Company also recorded a significant increase in other income, predominantly due to foreign exchange gains on the OAL shareholder loan. “We continue to explore pipeline opportunities locally, and regionally in line with our Go-to-Africa strategy and our interest remains on value-accretive investments,” Mowaneng said.
An interim distribution of 9.11 thebe per linked unit was declared on the 6th of February 2023 for the half-year period to 31 December 2022, comprising of a dividend of 0.05 thebe and debenture interest of 9.06 thebe per linked unit which will be paid to linked unit holders registered in the books of the Company at the close of business on 24 February 2023.
Stargems Group establishes Training Center in BW
Internationally-acclaimed diamond manufacturing company StarGems Group has established the Stargems Diamond Training Center which will be providing specialized training in diamond manufacturing and evaluation.
The Stargems Diamond Training Institute is located at the Stargems Group Botswana Unit in Gaborone.
“In accordance with the National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS) which holds the principle that through education and skills development as well as the strategic alignment between national ambitions and individual capabilities, Botswana will become a prosperous, productive and innovative nation due to the quality and efficacy of its citizenry. The Training Centre will provide a range of modules in theory and in practice; from rough diamond evaluation to diamond grading and polishing for Batswana, at no cost for eight weeks. The internationally- recognized certificate offered in partnership with Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Training School presents invaluable opportunities for Batswana to access in the diamond industry locally and internationally. The initiative is an extension of our Corporate Social Investment to the community in which we operate,” said Vishal Shah, Stargems Group Managing Director, during the launch of the Stargems Diamond Training Center.
In order to participate in this rare opportunity, interested candidates are invited to submit a police clearance certificate and a BGCSE certificate only to the Stargems offices. Students who excel in these programs will have the chance to be onboarded by the Stargems Group. This serves as motivation for them to go through this training with a high level of seriousness.
“Community empowerment is one of our CSR principles. We believe that businesses can only thrive when their communities are well taken of. We are hoping that our presence will be impactful to various communities and economies. In the six countries that we are operating in, we have contributed through dedicating 10% of our revenues during COVID-19 to facilitate education, donating to hospitals and also to NGOs committed to supporting women and children living with HIV. One key issue that we are targeting in Botswana is the rate of unemployment amongst the youth. We are looking forward to working closely with the government and other relevant authorities to curb unemployment,” said Shah.
Currently, Stargems Group has employed 117 Batswana and they are looking forward to growing the numbers to 500 as the company grows. Majority of the employees will be graduates from the Stargems Diamond Training Center. This initiation has been received with open arms by the general public and stakeholders. During the launch, the Minister of Minerals and Energy, Honorable Lefoko Moagi, stated that the ministry fully endorses Stargems Diamond Training and will work closely with the Group to support and grow the initiative.
“As a ministry, we see this as an game changer that is aligned with one of the United Nations’ Six Priority Sustainable Development Goals, which is to Advance Opportunity and Impact for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). What Stargems Group is launching today will have a huge impact on the creation of employment in Botswana. An economy’s productivity rises as the number of educated workers increases as its skilled workmanship increases. It is not a secret that low skills perpetuate poverty and widen the inequality gap, therefore the development of skills has the potential to contribute significantly to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and helping the country become more competitive. We are grateful to see the emergence of industry players such as Stargems Group who have strived to create such opportunities that mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy,” said the Minister of Minerals and Energy.