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The Green and Red of BSE market performance

The Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 11.3% in 2016 to close the year at 9,400.7 points, down from 10,602.3 points at the end of 2015. The decline in the DCI in 2016 reversed most of the increase in the index in 2015 where it had appreciated by 11.6%, reveals the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) market performance report released this week.


The report shows that the decline in the DCI in 2016 followed a year in which the domestic economy experienced subdued growth which has consequently negatively affected the operational and financial performance of some of the listed companies. “On a quarterly basis, the DCI declined by 3.8% and 1.2% in Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 of 2016 respectively and the downward momentum continued in Quarter 3 and 4 with depreciation of 2.8% and 4.0% respectively. It can be noted from this trend that the depreciation of 11.3% was a result of the consistent and cumulative decline in the DCI on a quarterly basis.”


The BSE report further shows that all the other indices computed on domestic companies recorded negative growth. The Domestic Companies Free Float Index (DCFFI) depreciated by 16.7%, the Domestic Financial Sector Index (DFSI) lost 9.7% and the Domestic Financial Sector Free Float Index (DFSFFI) declined by 16.1%.

 

However, the Foreign Company Index (FCI) closed the year at 1,585.7 points, a marginal increase of 0.8% in comparison to a depreciation of 0.3% in 2015. The Foreign Resources Sector Index (FRSI), which tracks the performance of the mining and minerals companies, closely reflected the growth pattern followed by the FCI, as it grew by 1.1% in 2016 relative to depreciation of 0.4% in 2015. The mining and minerals sector is the largest component in the FCI, hence its noticeable influence on the FCI.


The report explains that the DCI’s decline of 11.3% 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. In aggregate, the four sectors contributed 15.8 percentage points to the depreciation of the DCI. The sectors that contributed positively to the DCI performance were the Property & Property Trust, Energy, Security and Tourism sectors with an aggregate contribution of 4.5 percentage points.


“Historically, the DCI has been heavily influenced by the Banking sector. However, the market capitalisation of the Banking sector relative to total domestic market capitalisation has declined from 46.9% in 2012 to 30.5% in 2016 primarily due to additional listings in other sectors as Retail & Wholesaling and ICT over the years. This has helped to reduce the reliance of the DCI on the Banking sector performance which is ideal given that the index should to a larger extent be representative of the overall performance of all companies listed on the Exchange.”


Other than the decline in the DCI, the BSE report shows that after registering a record turnover of P3 billion in 2015, the BSE realised a turnover of P2.5 billion in 2016. The average daily turnover for 2016 amounted to P10.2 million relative to P12.2 million per day in 2015. The volume of shares traded in 2016 was 778.0 million in comparison to 803.1 million shares in 2015.


“The decline in trading activity could be partly attributable to the adjustment of the brokerage commission structure in April 2016 that introduced a floor of 0.60% on commission charged by Brokers. The BSE will continue to observe the extent to which the change in brokerage commission will affect trading activity going forward, but is thus far of the view that this is not a prominent factor.”


The Financial Services sector contributed the highest to market liquidity on account of the liquidity ratio followed by the Retail & Wholesaling sector. The two sectors contributed 1.88% and 1.34% during the year under review. In respect of the number of shares traded as a percentage of the number of shares listed, the Financial Services sector led the pack as it traded 12.35% of the shares listed in that sector, followed by the Property & Property Trust sector at 9.13%.


According to the report, Letshego continued to dominate the liquidity on the BSE as its contribution to overall volume of shares traded (domestic companies) increased from 34.4% in 2015 to 42.3% in 2016. Other liquid stocks included New African Properties and Choppies which accounted for 20.8% and 12.7% of volume traded respectively.


In terms of investor contribution to equity turnover, the report reveals that local institutional investors (local companies) dominated trading activity in 2016. Trades by local companies accounted for 57.7% of the total turnover whereas foreign companies contributed 32.8% to total turnover in 2016. Local individuals registered an increase from 2.4% to 3.9% between 2015 and 2016 whereas foreign individuals recorded a decline over the same period to account for 1.2% of the turnover in 2016.


The Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) market was a mixture of good and bad fortunes with some ETFs showing improvement while others declined and one remains stagnated in terms of trading. The NewGold ETF which tracks the performance of gold performed well following a great year for Gold Bullion as its price increased on the London market.

 

The dollar price of the Bullion closed 2016 up by 7.3%, in comparison to the 11.0% dollar price loss in 2015. On the BSE, the price of the NewGold ETF increased by 1.8%. Further, the turnover levels of the ETF on the BSE rose from 265,452 units traded in 2015 to 1,019,934 units traded in 2016. Similarly, the value of the NewGold ETF traded increased from P30 million to P137.5 million during the same period. The ETF traded at prices ranging between P116.00 and P142.20 per unit on the BSE.


The NewPlat ETF which tracks the performance of platinum showed resilience as its performance also improved, registering a turnover of P73.0 million and recorded a volume of 688,628 units. The ETF traded at prices ranging between P97.00 and P112.50 a unit and appreciated by 8.1% in 2016 compared to a depreciation of 12.8% in 2015.


There was a decline in the performance of the CoreShares EWT40 ETF (previously known as BettaBeta) as it traded P588,504 from 15,521 units traded. This was a serious drop compared to the record annual turnover of P427.7 million generated from a total of 10.4 million units in 2015. The reduction in trading activity of the ETF was accompanied by 2.7% depreciation in the price of the ETF on the BSE. The ETF traded at prices ranging between P30.85 and P41.82 per unit.


The NewFunds Inflation-Linked Bond Index (ILBI) ETF which became the fourth ETF to be listed on the BSE in 2015 remains stagnated. The NewFunds ILBI ETF tracks an index that consists of Inflation-Linked Bonds issued by the South African Government. This ETF gives investors an opportunity to hedge exposure against RSA inflation because its returns always adjust with inflation. However, the ETF has not yet traded on the BSE. Notwithstanding, the NewFunds ILBI ETF returned 6.6% on the JSE during 2016 which could have translated into a 15.3% return on the BSE.


The BSE market report also shows that in 2016, the BBI (a Composite Bond Index) appreciated by 6.1% whereas the GovI (a Government Bond Index) and CorpI (a Corporate Bond Index) registered returns of 6.1% and 6.2% respectively, adding that this was mainly on account of adjustments to the bond yields on government bonds partly due to the reduction of the policy rate.

 

The 3 indices have all outperformed the monthly average inflation rate of 2.8% during 2016. However, the report says activity in the bond market experienced a decline in 2016 when compared to 2015. The value of bonds traded declined from P858.0 million in 2015 to P483.8 million in 2016. On the brighter side, there was some trading of corporate bonds in 2016 (P37.2 million). This was an improvement when compared to 2015 where corporate bonds had not traded at all.


After a rough year marked by the decline in share prices of  blue chip stocks, and subsequent decline of the DCI, the BSE’s domestic companies’ market capitalisation stood at P46.6 billion as at the end of 2016, in comparison to P50.2 billion in 2015, a reduction of 7.3%. As a result, the ratio of market capitalisation to GDP decreased to 29.6% in 2016 from 34.3% in 2015.

 

Similarly, the ratio of turnover to market capitalization declined from 6.3% in 2015 to 5.2% in 2016. Furthermore, the report reveals that the MSCI Emerging Markets index (MSCI EM) outperformed the other three indices during 2016. The MSCI EM appreciated by 8.6% in 2016. On the other hand, the DCI lost 11.3% while the Johannesburg Sock Exchange All Share Index (JSE ALSI) and the Mauritius Stock Exchange (SEMDEX) lost 0.1% each.

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Choppies back to profitability

21st September 2021
Choppies CEO - RamachandaranOttapathu

Choppies Holdings Limited, Botswana’s largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) retail group, is back to its glory days of profitability.

On Wednesday, Choppies signalled its shareholders in a circular published on the Botswana Stock Exchange website that a massive comeback is in the offing. The retail giant, which trades on both Botswana and Johannesburg Stock Exchange, notified its investors that it is currently finalising its financial results for the 12 months ended 30 June 2021 (FY2021).

As per the Listings Requirements of the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Limited (JSE), that requires companies to publish a trading statement as soon as they become reasonably certain that the financial results for the period to be reported on next will differ by more than 10% (in the case of the BSE) or more than 20% (in the case of the JSE) from the financial results reported for the previous corresponding period, Choppies notified the market about the expected financials.

In the circular, Choppies said it expects the consolidated Profit after Tax, including discontinued operations for the period FY2021, to be between 106% to 126% better than the Loss after Tax of BWP 370.6 million reported for the period FY2020, representing a Profit after Tax of between BWP 22.6 million and BWP 96.7 million.

The Profit before Tax for FY2021 is expected to be between 1% and 21% higher (BWP 105.7 million and BWP 126.7million) than the Profit before Tax of BWP 105.0 million reported for the period FY2020. The Choppies come back is against the backdrop of a devastating past three(3) financial years where the company endured some of the worst headwinds ever since its establishment over two decades ago.

Following reports of internal boardroom wars, the crisis exploded to fireworks. The retail giant was suspended on both Botswana and Johannesburg Stock Exchange for failing to publish its audited financials as per the regulatory requirement for all publicly listed companies. Following suspension from trading, Choppies’s value deteriorated to record low levels, triggering massive governance restructuring before reconfiguring its portfolio, divesting and exiting some markets, retreating to regroup in its spiritual home ground of Botswana.

In the process, the retailer stayed on news headlines for all the wrong reasons, boardroom infighting, shareholder tussles and disagreements between founders and back to back conflicts with its external auditors. At some point, Choppies founder, Chief Executive Officer and talisman, Ramachandran Ottapathu, was suspended and later reinstated in a dramatic turn of events. Furthermore, the fallout saw the longest-serving Chairperson, former President Dr Festus Mogae, resign as board chair.

The delayed 2018 year-end financial results, released a year and a half later in December 2019, delivered a shock to shareholders, with many pundits announcing Choppies’s funeral. Choppies registered a whooping BWP 445 million loss for the full year ended June 2018. Another shocking loss of BWP170 million for 2017 was initially reported as a BWP 74. 6 million profit when KPMG was still the auditor.

The Choppies loss-making crusade spilt over to 2019, registering in loss BWO 428 million before drowning again into a loss of BWP 370.6 million for the full financial year ended June 2020. In July this year, Choppies biggest individual shareholders Ramachandran Ottapathu and Farouk Ismail, revealed they would be levelling a lawsuit against former Choppies auditors Price Water Coopers (PWC).

The duo blames the auditors for alleged lapses, incompetence, and deliberate sabotage that led to the company’s regulatory non-compliance and subsequent suspension from the Botswana Stock Exchange in 2018 and a massive deterioration in value. In the Annual Report for the financial year ended June 2020, released in November that year, newly appointed Board Chair Uttun Corea announced that Choppies had appointed new auditors, Mazars, regarding FY19 and FY20.

The new board further announced a massive reconfiguration strategy to return the company to glory. The Board Investment Committee recommended disposal of loss-making operations in South Africa and the closure of operations in Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania, which according to Mr Corea, helped return the Group to profitability.

“Our other markets also proved economically challenging with a struggling and volatile Zimbabwean economy, currency devaluation in Zambia, and a lack of economies of scale in Namibia. However, we believe a focused approach in these regions and the numerous opportunities for growth in Botswana present the Group with solid prospects.

This conditions, together with the favourable conditions following the introduction of funds by the founding shareholders, together with additional security, and given the renegotiation of our banking facilities which will see our monthly payments lower, put the Group on a firm going concern footing,” the board Chair said last year.

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Cresta Marakanelo exits Zambia market 

21st September 2021
Cresta Marakanelo

Cresta Marakanelo Limited (CML), Botswana’s most prominent hotels and hospitality group, has decided to exit the Zambian market, the company announced on Wednesday. 

CML, a Botswana version of the larger Southern African Cresta Hotels Group, revealed in a circular to its shareholders on Wednesday that “it will not be renewing the lease agreement with Golfview Hotels Limited for the rental of Cresta Golfview Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia.” The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed hotels group explained it would be withdrawing from the Cresta Golfview Hotel operations on 30 September 2021.

CML explained in the circular that for continuity of operations, the landlord, Golfview Hotels Limited, will be taking over the management of the hotel and will endeavour to absorb the majority of the staff.

“The consideration to not renew the lease came after a review of the financial viability of continuing with the lease agreement. The decision to exit the lease is therefore in the best interests of CML shareholders,” Cresta Marakanelo Board explained on Wednesday.

For the year ended 31 December 2020, Cresta Golfview Hotel accounted for 5% of the CML Group’s revenue and 2% of the Group’s loss before tax. The company said it would continue to operate the 11 hotels in Botswana.

The Board of Directors of Cresta Marakanelo went on express gratitude to its dedicated staff at Cresta Golfview Hotel, “The men and women who personified our Cresta brand essence; Where One Smile Starts Another and lived our Cresta mantra of Hospitality with African Heart and Soul consistently over the years.” The Board further thanked its business partners in Zambia: the valued guests, suppliers, stakeholders, and the Zambian community at large during the time CML has operated in Lusaka.

“We look forward to welcoming you to our other properties under the CML portfolio,” the statement said. Early this year, Cresta Marakanelo attempted to expand its Botswana footprint, nearly taking in Phakalane Golf Estate & Hotels Property under its wing. In January 2021, Cresta Marakanelo announced that it had signed a 10-year lease agreement for the hotel and the golf course, located in the Gaborone high-end suburbs, with an option to renew for a further ten year period.

In addition, Cresta had planned to pay Phakalane P10.7 million as a once-off for moveable assets, including furniture, fittings and equipment, with the amount payable over 24 months. Two months later, CML directors told shareholders that the conditions necessary to finalise the deal had not been fulfilled, and as a result, the transaction could not materialise.

Cresta Marakanelo is the operating company for, until this Zambia exit, the 12 Cresta Hotels in Botswana and Zambia. The company was formed in 1987 with an initial portfolio of fewer than 290 rooms, and until this September end exit, Cresta Marakanelo has been managing over 1000 rooms in Botswana and Zambia.

Since its establishment, Cresta Marakanelo Limited (CML) has maintained its position as the largest hotel group in Botswana. The company was established in 1987 when Cresta Hospitality was awarded the Management contract for the Marakanelo Hotels in Botswana by the Botswana Development Corporation.

Cresta Marakanelo was listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange in 2010. Its largest shareholders are the Botswana Government, through the Botswana Development Company, at 30 percent and Cresta Holdings Botswana at around 29 percent, with other shareholders being Motor Vehicles Accident Fund Botswana, Botswana Insurance Company, amongst others.

Established in 1970, the Botswana Development Company is the investment arm of the Botswana Government. BDC’s main aim is to be the country’s principal agency for commercial and industrial development. The Government of Botswana owns 100 percent of the issued share capital of the Corporation. BDC has interests in industry, property development and management, agribusiness and services.

Cresta Holdings Botswana is ultimately owned by Masawara Plc, a Jersey Registered Company listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market, with an investment portfolio that extends from Botswana to Zambia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Group’s portfolio spans the Hospitality, Insurance, Investment Management and Agrochemical sectors.

Its hospitality arm, Cresta Hospitality Holdings, is one of Southern Africa’s largest hotel management groups, managing or operating hotels in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.  Cresta Hospitality started hotel operations as far back as 1958. Cresta Holdings is a hotel management company registered in Botswana.

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ABSA posts improved results  

21st September 2021
Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane

Absa Bank Botswana released their condensed consolidated interim financial statements for the period ended 30 June 2021. Profit before tax grew significantly by 125% against the previous year, a material recovery from the June 2020 position.

According to the company directors, the performance was driven mainly by the positive performance of the impairment line together with the positive momentum on cost lines. Pre-provision profit has also grown year on year by 9%.

Consequently, the bank’s Return on Equity (ROE) went up to 19%. Total revenue declined 1% year-on-year. Net interest income fell 8% due to margin compression driven by interest rate cuts in 2020. However, the sales and transactional banking franchise realised impressive recovery rates with volumes going up to almost pre-COVID-19 levels, and fee revenue grew 20% year on year.

Absa boasted that their operating costs remain well contained, on a reducing trend compared to the prior year. On a statutory basis, operating expenses totalled P460 million, representing a 7% decrease year-on-year. This was achieved by an overall reduction in spending as the bank continues to leverage on a leaner, rotational and digitally-led operating model.

Costs in the current year have benefited from the absence of the Voluntary Staff Separation exercise that happened in the first half of 2020, together with a significant reduction in separation expenses as the rebranding exercise has been completed. Cost-to- income ratio declined 4% and ended at 58% for the period under review. On a year-on-year basis, our credit losses decreased materially by 74%.

This significant drop was driven primarily by the better-than-expected performance of the macroeconomic variables, predominantly GDP, which carries a higher weighting in the bank risk models. With improved and stable portfolio performance, the loan loss rate improved to less than 1% for the period ended 30 June 2021.

Absa balance sheet continued on its growth trajectory with an overall growth of 14%. Customer loans and deposits remained key. components of the balance sheet and the key drivers of balance sheet growth. The balance sheet position remains solid at a total financial position of P21.5 billion. Customer loans grew by 9% year-on-year to P14.8 billion.

“We have seen increased momentum in our loan conversion rates, especially in RBB where growth was driven by scheme loans, mortgage loans and Enterprise Supply-chain Development (ESD) loans,” the bank said in a commentary that accompanied the financials.

Directors explained that growth is in line with their strategy to continue to lend a hand to the bank customers who need support during this period and support the initiatives around citizen economic empowerment and economic diversification. Customer deposits have registered good momentum growing 15% compared to last year, reaching P16 billion as of 30 June 2021.

“Although we have seen tightening liquidity in the market, our client penetration, acquisition and retention strategy has borne much fruit, especially in our CIB segment. We have noted a stable upward trend in our deposit book, a momentum which is expected to last into the rest of the months of 2021,” Directors observed.

Directors further noted that the solid balance sheet position and recovery in profitability had further strengthened the bank’s capital position, which stands at P2.9 billion and represents a capital adequacy ratio of 18% against a regulatory requirement of 12.5%. The liquid assets ratio stood at 14.6%, well above a regulatory limit of 10%.

Zooming deep into segmental performances, corporate and Investment Banking (CIB)closed off the first half of 2021 with a year-on-year decline of 3% on total income; this is on the back of the slow recovery in economic activity felt in crucial economic sectors which have previously contributed positively to revenue.

Business sentiment and confidence remain subdued even in 2021 as uncertainty continues due to the impact of COVID-19. However, the profitability of CIB is on the move, on an upward trajectory with 36% growth year-on-year. This performance was supported by the non-funded income lines’ resilience and the impairment lines’ performance.

For the Retail Banking segment the first half of the year, both loans and advances and deposits due to customers grew by 14% and 16% year-on-year, respectively. Overall revenue has remained flat year-on-year. Growth was realised from non-interest income. This is in line with the bank’s strategy to become the go-to transactional and digitally-led bank.

In the future, Absa directors noted the volatile, unpredictable environment that continues to prevail due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which comes with new waves of infections and variants, restricted movement and trade.

” However, we remain resolute in executing our refreshed strategy and focus on offering our employees and customers support in collaboration with the various stakeholders that we have partnered with.

As part of our strategy to provide customer-centric transactional banking solutions, we will continue to roll out enhancements to our existing digital platforms and develop new solutions that offer our customers convenience and safety.” For the period, Absa Bank Botswana Limited Board approved an interim dividend of 9.74 thebe per share, amounting to a total dividend of P83 million.

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