Turnstar Managing Director, Gulaam Husain Abdoola has reported that the property market has remained relatively strong despite the recent economic slowdown. But a drop in the demand of residential houses is a major concern in the industry.
Abdoola has said the Botswana property market experienced varied challenges with some sectors performing better than the others. Reporting on the performance of Turnstar during the year 2016, the Managign Director said during the past year, the industrial sector continued to be stronger than the other market segments.
He indicated that the commercial office space has been the most challenged with a high number of commercial properties being introduced to the market, especially in the Central Business District (CBD) during the past years. “The drop in demand for residential housing is a major concern,” he emphasised.
Abdoola says many new retail malls are in the pipeline and it will be a challenge for existing malls and the new entrants to share the same “pie”. However, he points out that Turstar’s property portfolio shows attractive future prospects supported by strong underlying contractual cash flows, escalations and a healthy lease expiry profile.
“Turnstar’s portfolio has limited exposure to the Botswana office sector, which is currently in a state of oversupply. The group has exposure of 75% by value, and 72% by GLA, to the retail sector which is mainly comprised of large listed or large national companies,”he writes in his report. He says the portfolio has a healthy lease expiry profile. Approx. 53% of leases expire in 2019 and beyond (by GLA). The leases expiring in 2017 and 2018 are routine renewals and the vast majority of them will be renewed at current market terms.
Abdoola reflects on 2016 and points out “This has been both, a sad and prosperous year for Turnstar. On the 27th November 2015, our Chairman, Mr Cuthbert Moshe Lekaukau passed away. Mr Lekaukau was the Chairman of Turnstar from its inception. His dedication and wise counsel was invaluable and his passing has left a void. He is missed by the entire Turnstar team. The Board is currently evaluating various options to fill the Chairman’s position.”
The Turnstar Managing Director is however pleased that the Company performed extremely well as is evidenced by the results. He points out that the Tanzanian subsidiary, Mlimani Holdings is becoming more significant each year, in terms of contribution to the Group. The BWP/USD exchange rate is also a favourable factor. “At Mlimani, the bulk land has appreciated significantly, and this is reflected in fair value gains.”
Turning to one of their star malls in Gaborone, Abdoola says the construction work at Game City is nearing completion. He observes that it has been extremely difficult to construct and carry out renovations to an operating mall. “We have and continue to do everything possible to minimise the disturbance and inconvenience and are thankful for the cooperation of tenants and customers. However, we assure you that the improvements will be well worth the wait and inconvenience. Mlimani City construction is also well underway and is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year,” he says.
Turnstar is currently in the process of carrying out a feasibility exercise on the hotel project at Mlimani and will reach a decision on its viability, shortly. Turnstar intends issuing a USD 30 million, 7 year convertible bond in the market. These funds will be raised to fund the construction of the Mlimani City developments. This form of funding should boost the profitability and cash flow of Turnstar.
Abdoola says Africa still remains to be further explored for opportunity, and they are very keen to look at countries they believe they can do business in. “Several Organisations and Governments are in discussions with us to consider various developments. Mlimani Holdings has a proven track record and has turned out to be a successful story in terms of profitable partnerships. However, we maintain a conservative approach and will undertake projects which are within the capacity of Turstar.”
The Group continued to post pleasing results for the year, despite challenging market conditions. “The share price has performed beyond expectations and we are very pleased that the value in Turnstar is now being recognised.” According to Abdoola, Turnstar remained the most diversified property Company on the BSE with property assets valued at over P2 bn. The Group’s Tanzanian subsidiary, Mlimani Holdings Limited, generates US Dollar revenue. Turnstar is a fully integrated internally managed property company, employing 125 staff.
Group revenue increased by 5% from the prior year, to P247.6M. The rental income from the Company’s Botswana portfolio decreased by 4.2% due to the sale of Fairgrounds office park property, whilst the rental income from the Tanzanian portfolio increased by 16.7%. Approx. 49% of the Group’s total rental income, is in US Dollars.
Tanzania continues to be one of the fastest growing economies in sub Saharan Africa. The economic growth is spearheaded in the Gas, petroleum, mining, tourism, agriculture and manufacturing sectors. The retail and industrial property sectors in particular are flourishing. The Government is focussed on growing the economy and welcomes foreign investment.
The recent study on youth entrepreneurship in Botswana has identified difficult access to funding, land, machinery, lack of entrepreneurial mindset and proper training as serious challenges that continue to hamper youth entrepreneurship development in this country.
The study conducted by Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) in collaboration with University of Botswana has confirmed that despite the government and private sector multi-billion pula entrepreneurship development initiatives, many young people in Botswana continue to fail to grow their businesses into sustainable and successful companies that can help reduce unemployment.
University of Botswana researchers Gaofetege Ganamotse and Rudolph Boy who compiled findings in the 2022 study report for Botswana stated that as part of the study interviews were conducted with successful youth entrepreneurs to understand their critical success factors.
According to the researchers other participants were community leaders, business mentors, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture, financial institutions, higher education institutions, non-governmental institutions, policymakers, private organizations, and support structures such as legal and technical experts and accountants who were interviewed to understand how they facilitate successful youth entrepreneurship.
The researchers said they found that although Botswana government is perceived as the most supportive to businesses when compared to other governments in sub-Saharan Africa, youth entrepreneurs still face challenges when accessing government funding. “Several finance-related challenges were identified by youth entrepreneurs. Some respondents lamented the lack of access to start-up finance, whereas others mentioned lack of access to infrastructure.”
The researchers stated that in Botswana entrepreneurship is not yet perceived as a field or career of choice by many youth “Participants in the study emphasized that the many youth are more of necessity entrepreneurs, seeing business venturing as a “fall back. Other facilitators mentioned that some youth do not display creativity, mind-blowing innovative solutions, and business management skills. Some youth entrepreneurs like to take shortcuts like selling sweets or muffins.”
According to the researchers, some of the youth do not display perseverance when they are faced with adversity in business. “Young people lack of an entrepreneurial mindset is a common challenge among youth in business. Some have a mindset focused on free services, handouts, and rapid gains. They want overnight success. As such, they give up easily when faced with challenges. On the other hand, some participants argue that they may opt for quick wins because they do not have access to any land, machinery, offices, and vehicles.”
The researchers stated that most youth involved in business ventures do not have the necessary training or skills to maintain a business. “Poor financial management has also been cited as one of the challenges for youth entrepreneurs, such as using profit for personal reasons rather than investing in the business. Also some are not being able to separate their livelihood from their businesses.
Lastly, youth entrepreneurs reported a lack of experience as one of the challenges. For example, the experience of running a business with projections, sticking to the projections, having an accounting system, maintaining a clean and clear billing system, and sound administration system.”
According to the researchers, the participants in the study emphasized that there is fragmentation within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, whereby there is replication of business activities without any differentiation. “There is no integration of the ecosystem players. As such, they end up with duplicate programs targeting the same objectives. The financial sector recommended that there is a need for an intermediary body that will bring all the ecosystem actors together and serve as a “one-stop shop” for entrepreneurs and build mentorship programs that accommodate the business lifecycle from inception to growth.”
Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) is said to have recorded an operating surplus of P61 Million, an improvement compared to the previous year. The housing, office and other building needs giant met with stakeholders recently to share how the business has been.
The P61 million is a significant increase against the P6 million operating loss realized in the prior year. Profit before income tax also increased significantly from P2 million in the prior year to P72 million which resulted in an overall increase in surplus after tax from P1 million prior year to P64 million for the year under review.
Chief of Finance Officer, Diratsagae Kgamanyane disclosed; “This growth in surplus was driven mainly by rental revenue that increased by 15% from P209 million to P240 million and reduction in expenditure from P272 million to P214 million on the back of cost containment.” He further stated that sales of high margin investment properties also contributed significantly to the growth in surplus as well as impairment reversals on receivables amounting to P25 million.
It is said that the Corporation recorded a total revenue of P702 million, an 8% decrease when compared to the P760 million recorded in the prior year. “Sales revenue which is one of the major revenue streams returned impressive margins, contributing to the overall growth in the gross margin,” added Kgamanyane.
He further stated professional fees revenue line declined significantly by 64% to P5 million from P14 million in the prior year which attributed to suspension of planned projects by their clients due to Covid-19 pandemic. “Facilities Management revenue decreased by P 24 million from P69 million recorded in prior year to P45 million due to reduction in projects,” Kgamanyane said.
The Corporation’s strength is on its investment properties portfolio that stood at P1.4 billion at the end of the reporting period. “The Corporation continues its strategy to diversify revenue streams despite both facilities management income and professional fees being challenged by the prevailing economic conditions that have seen its major clients curtailing spending,” added the CEO.
On the one hand, the Corporation’s Strategic Performance which intended to build 12 300 houses by 2023 has so far managed to build 4 830 houses under their SHHA funding scheme, 1 240 houses for commercial or external use which includes use by government and 1 970 houses to rent to individuals.
BHC Acting CEO Pascaline Sefawe noted that; BHC’s planned projects are said to include building 336 flat units in Gaborone Block 7 at approximately P224 million, 100 units in Maun at approximately P78 million, 13 units in Phakalane at approximately P26 million, 212 units in Kazungula at approximately P160 million, 96 units at approximately P42 million in Francistown and 84 units at approximately P61 million in Letlhakane. Emphasing; “People tend to accuse us of only building houses in Gaborone, so here we are, including other areas in our planned projects.”
Researchers from some government owned regulatory institutions in the financial sector have projected that the banking sector’s profitability could increase, following Bank of Botswana Monetary Policy Committee recent decision to increase monetary policy rate.
In its bid to manage inflation, Bank of Botswana Monetary Policy Committee last month increased monetary policy rate by 0.50 percent from 1.65 percent to 2.15 percent, a development which resulted with commercial banking sector increasing interest rate in lending to household and companies. As a result of BoB adjustment of Monetary Policy Rate, from 1.65 percent to 2.15 percent commercial banks increased prime lending rate from 5.76 percent to 6.26 percent.
Researchers from Bank of Botswana, the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority, the Financial Intelligence Agency and the Botswana Stock Exchange indicated that due to prospects of high inflation during the second half of 2022, there is a possibility that the Monetary Policy Committee could further increase monetary policy rate in the next meeting in August 25 2022.
Inflation rose from 9.6 percent in April 2022 to 11.9 percent in May 2022, remaining above the Bank of Botswana medium-term objective range of 3 – 6 percent. According to the researchers inflation could increase further and remain high due to factors that include: the potential increase in international commodity prices beyond current forecasts, logistical constraints due to lags in production, the economic and price effects of the ongoing Russia- Ukraine conflict, uncertain COVID-19 profile, domestic risk factors relating to possible regular annual administered price adjustments, short-term unintended consequences of import restrictions resulting with shortages in supplies leading to price increases, as well as second-round effects of the recent increases in administered prices “Furthermore, the likelihood of further increases in domestic fuel prices in response to persistent high international oil prices could add upward pressure to inflation,” said the researchers.
The researchers indicated that Bank of Botswana could be forced to further increase monetary policy rate from the current 2.15 percent if inflation rises persistently. “Should inflation rise persistently this could necessitate an upward adjustment in the policy rate. It is against this background that the interest rate scenario assumes a 1.5 percentage points (moderate scenario) and 2.25 percentage points (severe scenario) upward adjustment in the policy rate,” said the researchers.
The researchers indicated that while any upward adjustment on BoB monetary policy rate and commercial banks prime lending rate result with increase in the cost of borrowing for household and compnies, it increase profitability for the banking sector. “Increases in the policy rate are associated with an overall increase in bank profitability, with resultant increases in the capital adequacy ratio of 0.1 percentage points and 0.2 percentage points for the moderate and severe scenarios, respectively,” said the researchers who added that upward adjustment in monetary policy rate would raise extra capital for the banking sector.
“The increase in profit generally reflects the banking industry’s positive interest rate gap, where interest earning assets exceed interest earning liabilities maturing in the next twelve months. Therefore, an increase of 1.5 percentage points in the policy rate would result in industry gains of P71.7 million (4.1 percent increase), while a 2.25 percentage points increase would lead to a gain of P173.9 million (6.1 percent increase), dominated by large banks,” said the researchers.