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BTCL profit up 12%

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited’s profit after tax for the six months ended 30 September 2017 increased by 12% with revenues also picking up slightly by 2%. The strong set of results show that liquidity remains strong with zero gearing.

The only listed telecommunication company in the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) reported 11% reduction in cost of sales leading to an increase in gross profit of 11%.  Mobile was the highest contributor with 37%; closely followed by data with 34%; and fixed, which is steadily declining contributed 28% to sales.

Highlighting the challenges facing the company, BTCL Managing Director, Anthony Masunga, said the revenues continue to be pressured by efforts of regulators (and governments) to continuously push down prices, as a way of driving universal access to telecommunication services. Furthermore he revealed that mature markets like Botswana face limited growth prospects, and entry of previously unrelated businesses into the Telco ecosystem, resulting in intensified competition. The company’s profit comes about after the company managed to contain costs and increase sales.

The company also managed to improve on its cashflow. The cash generated from operating activities was P487million, a significant improvement from the last set of results.  For the period under review the company made investments into new systems, infrastructure modernisation and expansion of P124million.

The leading telecommunications provider is bullish about the future despite the intensifying competition in the telecommunications sector. While acknowledging that various players are entering the market at different levels of the telco value chain on the back of the new licencing framework, the new developments also present partnership opportunities, revealed Masunga. He pointed out that the intense competition has also put pressure on the mobile market which is experiencing high churn rates and margin squeeze.

“Despite the subdued economic growth which has put pressure on bucket spend, BTC will continue to explore growth opportunities, especially in the broadband space, where penetration levels are still low and the demand for data services is on the increase. We expect positive results from our 4G service, which we introduced in our urban and peri urban areas around the country,” observed Masunga.

The BTC MD noted that one of the biggest challenges which is proving to be a challenge to their subscriber base growth is number portability. ‘People do not want to lose their numbers, they may be interested in using your services but they want to retain their numbers. We have already touched base with the regulator on the matter and they said it is a matter they could only look into in the next financial year.” BTC also hopes to transform its journey with a focus on network, commercial and cultural transformation.

BTCL is not far off its projected profits of P115 million in the 2017 financial year. The company says it will turn to improving its revenue streams through increased sales while at the same time containing costs. Moreover, revenue is expected to stabilise following huge price cuts and it will be boosted by the company’s focus on mobile and broadband (fixed and mobile) data services as avenues for continued growth in the short-to-long term. Botswana with the highest number of mobile penetrations in the world has provided a lucrative market for data services.

BTCL listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) in April was preceded by a nationwide awareness campaign and ended with a record breaking number of domestic investors. BTCL which listed 1.05 billion issued securities ushered in more than 50000 citizen investors, prior to that there were only 28122 registered Central Securities Depository Accounts (CSD).The Company is a provider of communications solutions and services. BTCL’s principal activities include among others: fixed and mobile voice telephony, national and international internet, data services, directory services, virtual and private networks.

BTCL declared an interim dividend of 3.73 thebe per share, payable to all shareholders registered in the books of the company at close of business on 29th December 2017. The dividends are payable on or before February 9th next year. The company, which has a market capitalisation of P1.82 billion is currently have an impressive run on the stock market. The company is currently trading at P1.69 per share an incredible surge from the initial offering of P1 per share.

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Matsheka seeks raise bond program ceiling to P30 billion

14th September 2020
Dr Matsheka

This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.

“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.

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Lucara sits clutching onto its gigantic stones with bear claws in a dark pit

14th September 2020
Lesedi La Rona

Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.

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Botswana Diamonds issues 50 000 000 shares to raise capital

14th September 2020
Diamonds

Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.

A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.

Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.

In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.

The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.

In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.

Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.

The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”

In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.

Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.

The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.

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