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BSE narrows losses

The Botswana Stock Exchange appears to be making a recovery from the previous year’s slump that resulted in major equities losing value. The Domestic Company Index (DCI), which tracks the performance of local listed companies, ended the first quarter of the year weaker but better than the corresponding quarter in 2016.

The DCI started the year with 9389.34 points but has since lost 164.12 points in the last 3 months to close the first quarter at 9225.22 points. This means the DCI has declined by 1.68 percent, however, this compares favourably with 2016’s first quarter decline which stood at 3.8 percent. The narrowed loss in the first quarter of the year points to a slow recovery for the BSE’s DCI that declined by 11.3 percent in 2016. Moreover, the improvement in the first quarter of the year has brought down losses in the past 12 months to 9.54 percent.

The downward pressures exerted by certain sectors on the DCI in the previous year have spilled over to this quarter as the same sectors continue to affect the overall performance of the local bourse. In its 2016 market performance report, the BSE said the DCI’s decline of 11.3 percent in 2016 was attributable to the negative performance of the Retail & Wholesaling and the Banking sectors as well as the Financial Services & Insurance and the Information & Communications Technology (ICT) sectors.

During the first quarter of the year, the DCI’s losses were led by three retail titans from the influential Wholesaling and Retail sector. Leading the losses was Sechaba, the local brewing giant, which lost 22.2 percent in the quarter under review. The blue chip stock ended the quarter to trade at P21, a decline of 30 percent from its all time high price of P30. This has extended the stock’s decline to 26.3 percent in the past 12 months. Further complicating the matter for the brewer is the tough trading conditions it finds itself operating under. The group has warned shareholders to expect lower profits.

Sefalana, another key player in the Wholesaling and Retail sector, closed off the first quarter 17.7 percent under to trade at P10.70. This stock price is now 23.6 percent off its 12 month high price of P14. Sefalana’s stock has been on a steady decline since late last year, bringing its total losses in the past 12 months to 20.6 percent. The embattled furniture and consumer goods retailer, Furnmart, continues to struggle on the stock market after losing 7.1 percent in year to date returns. The stock which is trading at 0.65t is 39.3 percent lower than its 12 month high price of P1.07.

The banking sector which has recently been boosted by higher earnings from all the listed banks is yet to reach peak performance in the local stock market. First National Bank Botswana, the largest bank in the country and also the biggest company by market capitalization, has continued the downward trend that started last year into the first quarter of the year, dropping 7.1 percent to trade at P2.75. At the current stock price, the bank’s stock value has declined by 24.7 percent in the last 12 months.

Standard Chartered Bank of Botswana might have shocked many after declaring higher profits in its end of year results but the bank’s stock price continues to be under pressure following negative sentiments from investors that have been fuelled by the bank’s previous financial performances which was marked by declining profits. The oldest bank in the country closed the quarter under review trading at P7.35, down by 5.2 percent. This has extended the bank’s losses in the stock market to 31.9 percent in the past 12 months.

Letshego was the only loser in the Financial Services and Insurance sector after dropping 5.7 percent to trade at P2.16, stretching its losses in the last 12 months to 13.6 percent. At the current share price of P2.16, the stock is trading at 19.1 percent lower than its 12 month high price of P2.67.

Other notable losses in the first quarter of 2017 include the leading security and cash management firm, G4S, which dropped 2 percent in stock value to trade at P4, which means the stock has also dropped 2.4 percent from its 12 month high price of P4.10. However the stock’s returns remain solid over the 12 months period with returns of 10.5 percent. The decline of the DCI in the first quarter of the year, and the subsequent narrowing of losses from 2016 was offset by strong performances from mostly the same companies that had held firm in 2016 when the DCI tumbled.

Botswana Telecommunications Corporations Limited (BTCL)’s spectacular rebound has led the rally in the local equities board, rising sharply by 31 percent in the last three months to end the quarter trading at P1.28. At that price, the stock is trading at a premium of 28 percent from its listing price of P1 in April 2016. The stock spent most of 2016 being battered; even reaching lows of P0.85 thebe but in the fourth quarter of 2016 the stock began its rebound buoyed by strong financial performance and attractive dividend payouts. BTCL forms part of the broader Wholesaling and Retail sector on the BSE.

Barclays Bank Botswana continues to buck the trend in the banking sector as far as stock market performance is concerned. In 2016 the second largest bank in the country became the only banking stock to appreciate in value. Barclays has extended its exploits to this year’s first quarter, registering share price gain of 13.1 percent to trade at P5.70. The stock is trading at its all 12 month high, bringing total gains in the last 12 months to 25.3 percent.

The property sector has also shown its resilience in the first quarter as it tapped on the previous year’s overall satisfying performance for the sector. New African Properties (NAP) is becoming the investors’ favourite when it comes to picking up property stocks. NAP advanced by 7.1 percent to trade P3.15, ending the quarter at its highest price in 12 months. This also brings NAP’s gains to 15.8 percent in the last 12 months. Other property stocks that did well during the quarter under review involve Primetime and Letlole La Rona (LRR). Primetime is up by 1.9 percent to trade at P3.16, taking its overall gains in the past 12 months to 6.8 percent. LLR’s share price increased by 1.8 percent in the first 3 months of the year.

Choppies, the leading local grocer, is trying to stage a comeback from the dismal performance on the BSE in the previous year. Choppies which has set its eyes firmly on regional expansion had to watch its stock price plunge by 40 percent in 2016 following declining profits. The grocer whose recent half year results show a 49 percent decline in profits will be pleased with the first quarterly performance on the stock exchange. Choppies stock ended the quarter trading at P2.55, up by 6.3 percent. Nonetheless the stock price is off its 12 month high of P4.2o, representing a loss of 37.8 percent in the past 12 months.

The less influential tourism sector has brought its delightful performance from the previous year to this year’s first quarter as all listed tourism and leisure companies recorded gains. Chobe Holdings Limited ended the quarter trading at a 12 month high of P8.03, up by 4.3 percent. This brings the tourism outfit’s gains to 16.7 percent in the last 12 months. Cresta Marakanelo Limited-which led the rally last year by gaining the most- has advanced slightly by 1.8 percent to trade at P1.30 by end of quarter. While the stock is 0.8 percent off its 12 month high of P1.31, its gains remain solid at 17.1 percent in the past 12 months. Wilderness Holdings Limited ended the first quarter with an increase of 0.6 percent to trade at a 12 month high of P5.20, bringing its 12 month gains to 6.1 percent.

The financial services behemoth, Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), held steady in the first quarter as the blue chip stock advanced by 2.8 percent. At the closing price of P18.05, the stock is trading at its 12 month high. In the past 12 months the stock has gained 15.7 percent. BIHL with its sprawling portfolio remains the favourite in the Financial Services and Insurance sector.

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ICT sector contributed P1.6 billion in Q4 2022

31st May 2023

The latest figures by the government owned statistics entity, Statistics Botswana show that the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in this country registered significant growth during the fourth quarter of 2022 (Q4 2022).

According to the figures the ICT sector made a contribution of 2.5 percent to the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices, in Q4 2022.

The figures show that at constant prices, the ICT sector realized an annual growth rate of 4.6 percent and the sector contributed around P1.6 billion to the economy during the fourth quarter of 2022. “In Q4 2022, the contribution of ICT sector to the economy stood at 2.5 percent of total GDP at both current and constant prices. The ICT sector’s value added at current prices amounted to P1, 633.6 million while at constant prices it amounted to P1, 242.2 million. The sector registered an annual growth rate of 4.6 percent in constant prices,” according to the Botswana Information and Communication Technology recent update by Statistics Botswana. The statistics entity noted that the Postal and Courier Services sector’s value added amounted to P67.2 million in current prices, which constituted 0.1 percent of total GDP in Q4 2022.

Giving an update regarding the performance of other ICT sub sectors Statistics Botswana stated that fixed telephone line subscriptions decreased by 2.3 percent in Q4 2022, from 93,925 subscriptions recorded in Q3 2022 to 91,725. Mobile cellular telephone subscriptions however increased by 0.8 percent in Q4 2022, from 4,315,368 registered in Q3 2022 to 4,348,010. Comparing Q4 2022 to the same quarter of 2021, fixed telephone lines decreased by 30.8 percent while mobile cellular telephone subscriptions went up by 4.5 percent. Both pre-paid and post-paid mobile cellular telephone subscriptions increased in Q4 2022. Pre-paid mobile cellular telephone subscriptions rose by 0.8 percent from 4,149,143 in Q3 2022 to 4,181,783 while post-paid mobile cellular telephone subscriptions increased slightly in Q4 2022 from 166,225 registered in Q3 2022 to 166,227, according to Statistics Botswana.

Total internet subscriptions both mobile internet plus fixed internet subscriptions increased by 3.6 percent in Q4 2022, from 2,875,153 registered in Q3 2022 to 2,977,845. Mobile internet subscriptions went up, registering an increase of 4.5 percent from 2,721,946 subscriptions in Q3 2022 to 2,844,958 in Q4 2022. Meanwhile fixed internet subscriptions decreased by 13.3 percent (from 153,207 registered in Q3 2022 to 132,887 in Q4 2022).

Statistics Botswana stated that mobile money subscriptions have been increasing over the years. In Q4 2022, mobile money subscriptions went up by 1.3 percent, from 1,788.551 registered in Q3 2022 to 1,811,036. Mobile money is a technology that allows customers to receive, store and spend money using a mobile phone. To enjoy the benefits of mobile money, a customer has to register and open an account with a mobile money service provider. Existing mobile money services in Botswana include Smega by BTC, Orange Money by Orange Botswana, Myzaka by Mascom and Poso Money by Botswana Post.

The statistics entity stated that on-net fixed telephone domestic calls (Fixed to fixed telephone calls) traffic went down by 8.0 percent in Q4 2022, from 15.4 million minutes registered in Q3 2022 to 14.1 million and added that off net fixed telephone domestic calls (Fixed to mobile telephone calls) traffic decreased as well in Q4 2022. It went down by 0.6 percent from 23.9 million minutes in Q3 2022 to 23.7 million minutes.

With regard to mobile telephone domestic calls traffic, on-net mobile telephone traffic decreased by

0.8 percent in Q4 2022 while off-net mobile telephone traffic increased by 1.6 percent. While mobile to fixed telephone traffic decreased by 1.1 percent in Q4 2022. International outgoing fixed telephone calls traffic declined by 8.2 percent in Q4 2022, from 1.1 million minutes in Q3 2022 to 1.0 million.

The entity noted that outgoing international mobile telephone calls traffic increased slightly by 0.8 percent in Q4 2022, from 4.1 million minutes recorded in Q3 2022. On-net short message services (SMS) declined by 1.5 percent and off-net SMS traffic also went down by 0.5 percent in Q4 2022, according to figures from the statistics entity.




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State owned MDCB comes to Minergy’s rescue

31st May 2023

Government owned mining investment firm Mineral Development Company Botswana(MDCB) has agreed to bail out embattled Minergy Coal, and clear its arrears with mining contractor – Jarcon, the Botswana Stock Exchange coal miner said in a circular to the market this week.

In the statement Minergy which operates Masama Coal Mine in Media, near Lentsweletau said it has signed a term sheet for funding offered by its main funder, the Minerals Development Company Botswana (Pty) Ltd.

The facility terms are subject to normal legal counsel review, satisfactory due diligence, final documentation, and the review, acceptance, and execution of the relevant financing agreements by the MDCB and the fulfilment of suspensive conditions.

The funding will be utilised to significantly repay the arrears of the Jarcon trade account as required by the Term Sheet. The statement said Minergy and Mineral Development Corporation intends to finalise and allow the disbursement of funds by no later than 30 June 2023.

The funding will allow Minergy to initially continue operations in a reduced sales environment with the associated reduced-cost initiatives implemented to stabilise the business ahead of ramping up to pre-shutdown levels.

In mid- March Minergy announced the halt of Mining operations at Masama due to what it termed a drastic decline in coal prices which resulted in a cash flow crisis.

It emerged that the infant coal miner owed it’s mining contractor, Jarcon over P80 million in arrears. Jarcon had reached a decision to tool down and let go of some of its employees citing cash flow shortfalls as it sought to demand clarity on outstanding payments from Minergy.

Minergy has previously received funding in hundreds of millions from Mineral Development Company (MDC), another Botswana Government 100 percent owned entity.

MDCB, which is housed under the Ministry of Minerals & Energy, is the wholly owner of Morupule Coal Mine. The relatively new minerals investment company also owns 15 percent of De Beers Group on behalf of Government.

Minergy ’s other state funders are Botswana Development Corporation (BDC), the state owned investment entity, 100 percent owned by Government of Botswana, housed under the Ministry of Trade & Industry.

Combined, BDC and MDC have previously pumped over P300 million debt funding to Minergy to bring Masama coal mine to production and later for expansion.

Minergy incurred a net loss during the year ended 30 June 2022 of P131 151 034 (2021: P106 903 609). As at 30 June 2022 the Group had accumulated losses of P376 420 873 (2021: P245 269 838) and its net liabilities exceeded its net assets by P180 279 583 (2021: net liabilities exceeded its net assets by P56 030 697).

This gave rise to a material uncertainty that casted significant doubt on the Group’s ability to continue as a going concern, and therefore, that it may be unable to realise its assets and discharge the normal course of business.

Significant progress towards stabilizing the business was made during the financial year in mitigating the going concern which included receipt of the final tranche of debt funding, completion of debt restructuring to stabilise the business and successful commissioning of Stage 4 of the Processing Plant (Rigid Screening and Stock Handling section) which allows it to now operate at nameplate capacity.

In addition to this, the ongoing war in Ukraine stimulated high coal prices from the end of the third quarter of FY22, as the energy market and the security of supply came under severe pressure. This led to extraordinary demand, allowing access to previously uncompetitive and uneconomical exports into the seaborne market during the fourth quarter.

Minergy successfully exported coal via Walvis Bay, with two 30 000-tonne vessels dispatched in May and June 2022 on a FOB basis. The Group also exported coal through Maputo via rail to the port, with two trains dispatched in June 2022 on a Free-On-Rail (“FOR”) basis. These events increased sales volume for the financial year by 40%, with record sales achieved in May 2022. These increased sales levels have been maintained post year end.

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G4S Botswana gross profit down P12 million

31st May 2023

G4S Botswana Limited gross profit for the year ended 31 December 2022 declined by around P12 million, according to the company’s consolidated financial statements released by Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) this week.

G4S Botswana gross profit declined by P12, 373 000.00 from P51, 289 000.00 recorded for the year ended December 2021 to P38, 916 000.00 for the year ended 31 December 2022.

G4s Botswana provides security services to among others, financial services industry and the services include cash transportation, counting and reconciling cash, sorting of notes for use in ATMs, counterfeit detection and removal, redistribution of cash to bank branches, ATMs and retail customers. The company also collects and processes cash notes within the retail environment.

In the recent financial statements, the BSE listed security services provider noted its revenues and profits were negatively affected by increase in fuel prices and cost of proving security services. “The significant decline in gross profit for the year was as a result of the abnormal price increases on fuel, as fuel expenses increased by 88% for the full year, compared to prior year adding significantly to total cost. Additionally due to the heightened security risk environment, the business invested in enhanced security upgrades to its infrastructure specifically in the cash service line. Investment in live monitoring of all cash vehicles further added to the cost of providing service putting further pressure to total costs.”

The company recently indicated that following the increased national security risks characterized by attacks on cash in transit vehicles, the company was forced to improve security of its vehicles, by adopting the latest technology.

According to the company’s management the significant miss in Gross Profit (GP) largely drives the decline in the profit before tax (PBT) year on year. “Added to the PBT decline is the increase in administrative expenses owing to the normalization of the alarm monitoring and response (AMR) teams wherein from September 2021 Management added back the full crew complement to the AMR response crew structure which had been reduced during 2020 – effectively experiencing the full cost of this change in the whole of 2022.

G4S Botswana management meanwhile noted that its revenue for the period increased by 6.45% driven primarily by good growth in the manned guarding service line and added that the top line growth was despite the contract losses experienced during the period under review primarily because of the new Citizen Economic Empowerment (CEE) legislation. “The Cash service line grew marginally by 4% while the Electronic Security Systems (ESS) remained largely unchanged as it continues to experience intense competition from new entrants particularly in the Alarm monitoring and response (AMR) space.”

G4S Botswana management noted that the company will continue to focus on growing revenue following encouraging increases in revenue quarter on quarter for both the third quarter and fourth quarter of 2022, indicating that revenue lost during the first half of 2022 is systematically being recovered. “We will continue driving the sale of integrated security solutions to ensure that we remain at the forefront of security capability in Botswana. The trading conditions remain challenging with significantly fewer opportunities than in prior years primarily due to CEE legislation. As a response, Management continues to drive its commercial strategy of focusing on industry-specific growth such as the retail growth strategy that has driven revenue growth. The infusion of technology into our service offering has also been successful as a revenue driver. Specific focus for the year is on cost management with driving efficiencies across the business and continued fuel management aimed at managing profitability.”

G4S management noted that the company will continue to focus on improving profitability. “Despite the reduced performance of the company, in lieu of stated reasons, the Board of Directors and Management are confident of the company’s going concern status and will continue to work hard towards improved profitability in the foreseeable future.”



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