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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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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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