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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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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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