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25.1 % BIFM shares to be issued to employees

Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), a holding company for some of Botswana‘s leading insurance and financial services companies will issue out 25.1 percent shares of Botswana Insurance Fund Management Limited (BIFM) to employees of the latter. BIFM is a subsidiary of BIHL.

According to a statement released by BIHL this week, the group is currently seeking the approval of its shareholders to adopt and implement the BIFM Citizen Empowerment Scheme. The Group has established an employee share scheme for the benefit of the employees of BIFM in which a total of 21 849 246 Botswana Insurance Fund Management shares will be issued to the company’s employees.  The fair value of these shares, which makes up 25.1 % of BIFM issued capital, has been determined by an independent external valuation exercise.

The Catherine Letegele led Group outlines in a statement seen by this publication that at inception the scheme will disburse 15 % ordinary shares issued by BIFM to be subscribed for by its (BIFM) citizen employees under the Share plan Scheme.
“In the event these shares are not fully subscribed on the initial scheme, the balance of the share will be transferred to the Trust for future allocation,” reads the statement.  The remaining 10.1 % shares will be subscribed for by an established trust to hold the shares for future allocation,

According to the over P5 billion asset base group, the rationale of the scheme emphasizes recruitment and retention of executives and quality employees with talent in all areas of BIFM operations. “BIHL intends to recruit and retain in particular employees that posses the drive, leadership skills, expertise and experience that will assist BIFM to realize its strategic and long term business goals,” the statement reads.

Furthermore the company states that the implementation of the scheme will enable BIFM to structure a competitive remuneration package, which is designed as an additional incentive tool to reward and retain executives and quality employees and to motivate each beneficiary to achieve and maintain a high level of performance and contribution.

The company intends to also foster ownership culture within BIFM which aligns the interests of employees with those of the shareholders as well as attract professionals and experts with relevant skills to contribute and create value for the shareholders. To resource employees’ purchasing power, BIFM will provide a loan facility equivalent to the value of 15 % shares, secured against the shares issued to employees.  The company says the loan will bear an arm’s length interest.

The statement also reveals that, “the shares will be allocated from the established trust to the employees on a periodic basis determined by management of BIFM and the trustees.”  According to BIHL, only full time employees of BIFM nominated and selected by the Trustees shall participate in the scheme. Weekendpost also gathered that the Board of BIHL will on the 22nd of January 2018 convene an emergency general meeting to seek approval from shareholders on the implementation of the scheme.

Subject to approval, the meeting will also guide the BIHL board and management on the commencement date of the scheme implementation of the scheme. BIHL is an investment and holding company with shares in Botswana‘s leading financial and insurance and legal aid companies. Listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, BIHIL houses Botswana Life, Legal Guard and Botswana Insurance Fund Management (BIFM) under full subsidiary.

BIHL Latest financial results for the trading year ended June 2017 indicates that operating profit for the life business under the Botswana Life was 26% lower than the same period in 2016 due to the subdued operational earnings from most key business lines especially the annuity business.  The asset management business (BIFM) which the scheme will implemented on performed very well at 41% above prior year due to an increase in assets under management, while general insurance business was positively impacted by lower claims and operational costs.  

BIHL also has significant shares  and  joint venture shares in  Letshego Holdings Limited (Letshego), Funeral Service Group(FSG) and Botswana Insurance Company Limited  of which latest  financial figures  indicates that profits from this associates and joint ventures increased by 8% due to good performance from the aforementioned companies. BIHL owns 26.17% of Letshego Holdings Limited, 35.6% in Funeral Services Group   (FSG), 50% in Botswana Insurance Company Limited and 25.1% in Nico Holdings Limited in Malawi. 

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CA SALES revenues rose to R9.5 billion

27th March 2023

The Botswana and Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed distributor of fast-moving consumer goods

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Grit divests from Letlole La Rona

22nd March 2023

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.

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Stargems Group establishes Training Center in BW

20th March 2023

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.

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