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BTCL reassures shareholders

BTCL CEO, Paul Taylor

The Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) has moved swiftly to appoint the market maker to stem against insinuations that BTCL shareholders could sue the company after it promised them a market maker during the company’s listing in April. The company’s IPO prospectus contained a provision for a market maker and was to be known as Botswana Privatisation Asset Holdings (BPAH), which was allocated 3 million shares. The purpose of BPAH was to allay fears of potential illiquidity in BTCL shares.

The appointment of market maker comes three months after the company listed and its effective beginning of August. The BTCL shares which listed at P1.00 per share are currently trading at 0.94t following a spate of negative sentiments regarding the company’s larger than expected loss. The share price has also experienced downward pressure due to sellers who were desperate to sell in time to lock in their gains.

However it appeared the buyers were not willing to pay the premium price. The shares which are down by 6% from the Initial Public Offering (IPO) price has caused panic amongst shareholders and put pressure on BTCL management. According to BTCL’s announcement the mandate of the market maker is to maintain liquidity in the stock market in relation to the listed BTCL shares wherein it will act as the buyer / seller of last resort to the extent possible.

“It is important to note that the BTCL Market Maker will not always provide a bid-offer spread, but will do so only as and when it is decided to be feasible given market conditions as determined by the management of the Market Maker,” Said BTCL in a statement intended for shareholders.

Meanwhile BTCL appears to be taking a proactive approach in assuring investors that their investments with the company remain safe in a move which the company says is aimed at putting in perspective what it deems as misleading media reports. The company, this week briefed shareholders about the share price and future prospects. The company revealed that BTCL shares are liquid given the frequency that they have been traded since listing, dispelling some murmurs that tight liquidity could have played a part in the share price drop. In explaining the drop in share price, BTCL said it could be due to various factors and it cannot be pinned to a single factor.

“A change in the share price of a security can be due to a number of factors, such as practical demand and supply forces of the stock, company fundamentals, level of understanding of markets by investors, psychological factors, future prospects of the company etc. It is not always clear which factor is responsible for any share price movement.”

The only listed Telecommunication Company in the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) and the first State Owned Enterprise to be privatised and listed says its larger than expected loss for the current year was not an operational loss but rather an impairment charge. BTCL says since impairment is a non-cash adjustment, the company’s cash position is therefore not affected and BTCL is able to pay dividends against accumulated profits. The company has declared a 5t dividend per share.

“The company has a positive outlook for the future and expects to make profits in the future, and will focus on five key areas; mobile network growth, data and broadband uptake, customer centricity, cost reduction and asset optimization,” the company revealed in the same statement.

BTCL listed 1.05 billion issued securities on 17 April bringing to an end the much awaited listing that gripped the nation. The BTCL IPO was oversubscribed and brought in 50,000 domestic investors, adding to the already existing 22000 investors, prior to that there were only 28122 registered Central Securities Depository Accounts (CSD). The stock debuted spectacularly as it appreciated by 30% on the first day and by another 4% on the next trading day. With the share price at P1.34, shareholders were certain that they made the right choice in buying the shares.

However by the end of April the stock was now trading at P1.10 after being heavily traded, from there on it has been a mixture of misfortunes as the stock continued to fluctuate in a downward trajectory with decreasing volumes of trades, a sign that the stock that the sellers are finding it difficult to find buyers who could match the offer price.

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Woman swindled out of P62 000 by fake CID officers

17th June 2021
Motube

Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.

According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.

“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.

The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.

Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.

“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’

They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.

In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.

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BCP walks out of UDC meeting

15th June 2021
Boko and Saleshando

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.

UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.

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Katlholo wins against DPP

15th June 2021
DCEC DIRECTOR: Tymon Katlholo

The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.

The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.

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