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It’s a buy for property stock

The Botswana Stock Exchange’s domestic Company Index (DCI) is at a one year low after contradicting by 10% since the beginning of the year. The DCI comprises of 22 listed local companies on the domestic counter and it is a market weighted index. The DCI is dragged down by losses in the financial and retail stocks that make up majority of the domestic listed companies.

However, the six listed property stocks have been resilient in what appears to be a bearish market, delivering capital gains above the DCI. We take a look at the top four property companies that are delighting their shareholders, especially the Botswana Public Pension Fund which has stakes in both companies.

New African Properties

New African Properties(NAP) is not only the best performing property stock  but at 11%  year-to-date(YTD) returns, it is the overall second best performing stock in the DCI, coming second to Botswana Insurance Holding Limited(BIHL).

This is a reversal of fortunes from last year when the group’s ranked third amongst property companies after delivering 22% in share price increase. The company broke records in June in what was the single biggest day trade in the history of the BSE after the company traded 26% of its issued capital worth P457.3 million.

NAP was listed on the BSE in 2011, with a total of 604 397 124 issued units. According to NAP’s 2015 annual report, the majority of the units are owned by body corporate/trusts at 80 percent, followed by insurance companies, pension/equity funds at 13.6 percent while individuals hold 6.4 percent of issued units.

Of all issued units, the public accounts for 20.1 percent and the rest lies solidly with directors’ interests. The largest unit holder is Cash Bazaar Holdings (Pty) Ltd with 79.3 percent stake. In 2015, the company’s traded units were at 1.98 percent of the total issued units, making the June trade the biggest of the company since its existence.

NAP owns properties such as Riverwalk Mall, Riverwalk Plaza and Kagiso Mall in Gaborone, Mafenyatlala Mall in Molepolole, Kasane Mall and Mokoro Centre in Maun. The portfolio comprises primarily of prime retail sites with  a strong tenant base, including Pick ‘n Pay, Spar, Choppies, Mr Price, Woolworths, Pep, Cashbuild, Furnmat, CB Stores, Ackermans, Cape Union Mart, Exclusive Books, FNB, Hi-Fi Corporation, Home Corp, Incredible Connection, Jet, KFC, Nando's, New Capitol Cinema, Mugg & Bean, JB Sports, Truworths and many others.

RDC Properties

The second best performing property stock belongs to RDC properties after its share price appreciated by 6% since the beginning of the year. The Share price is currently trading at P2.65. In the previous year the share price surged by 27%, making it the second best performing property stock.

RDC Properties is the first variable rate loan stock company to list on the Botswana Stock Exchange in 1996. The company selectively develops and invests in modern commercial, industrial and residential buildings in prominent locations in Botswana and Madagascar.

RDCP’s property portfolio value surpassed the P1 billion mark in 2015, and the portfolio includes Masa Centre, Chobe Marina Lodge, Standard Chartered House in main mall, Isalo Rock Lodge in Madagascar and RDC flats. The company plans to expand to Namibia and Mozambique with plans in Namibia progressing well after the group reserved a holding company name that will carry out developments after land has been allocated.

The group’s 2015 annual report lists the top unit holders as Realestate Financiere SA, the controlling shareholder at 31.47%, Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) at 31.6% (the units are held through various nominees),  while Chobe Financial Corporation, Aspera Holdings Limited and Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) each hold 16.62%, 3.74% and 3.70% respectively.

TURNSTAR HOLDINGS

The Gulaam Abdoola led property giant continues to impress its shareholders as the market correctly prices the value of the stock which has spiked by 5.5%  in the last 8 months to trade at P3.24. The gains extend the group’s spectacular performance as it ended the previous year as the fourth best performing stock in the domestic board after returning 47% in capital gains.

The group’s property portfolio is valued at P1.7 billion, a portfolio that includes Game City, the largest indoor mall in Botswana and Mlimani City, the largest purpose built indoor shopping centre in Tanzania. The group also owns Nzano Shopping Centre in Francistown, Mogoditshane Supa Save mall, Turnstar House in Mall, Fairgrounds Office Park, Tapologa Estates and other residential and retail properties.

Turnstar Holdings is in the last stages of Game City expansion which when complete will modernise the existing common areas, toilets, entrances and shop fronts of the centre. An additional 9,000 sq.m exhibition hall comprising of restaurants, a food court, multi-function entertainment area, exhibition hall and playground is being constructed on the upper level with a view of the Kgale Hill.

The group is also extending its Mlimani city through additions of two office blocks, a new ticket parking system and refurbishment of the conference centre. The ongoing works are expected to improve the group’s revenue. The Group’s top ten linked unitholders include BPOPF, GH Group, Associated Investment and Development Corporation, Botswana Insurance Fund Management, Debswana Pension Fund and Motor Vehicle Accident Fund.

PRIMETIME HOLDINGS

The group’s property value which is in the north of P750 million and spans the office, retail and industrial sectors with the bulk of revenues coming from the highly competitive and saturated office sector. The group was the fourth best performing property stock in 2015 at 12% share price appreciation. The stock which is now trading at P3.05 is up by 4.8% since the beginning of the year.

The group owns a stellar portfolio comprising of Prime Plaza Buildings in the CBD, Sebele Centre Mall, Letshego Place, South Africa High Commission Building, DHL Building, and G4S headquarters. In Francistown, they own Nswazi Mall and Mantlo House after disposing of Barclays Plaza and Blue Jacket Square Mall to BPOPF. Other properties include Hillside Mall in Lobatse, Boiteko Mall in Serowe, Ramotswa Shopping Centre, Ghanzi Shopping Centre. In the region, the group operates two buildings in Lusaka and Kitwe which houses G4s offices.

Primetime which is set to open its new Pilane Crossing Mall is currently locked in an impasse with the Ministry of Trade and Investment over trade licenses concerning South African companies that are leased as tenants. The Ministry is refusing to grant trade licenses since the Trade act stipulates that such licenses are reserved for citizens. However the silver lining is that the licenses will be approved if the involved retailers cede 51% of shareholding to citizens.  

The top major linked unitholders list is led by Linwood Services Limited with 25.99% shareholding, BPOPF has a stake of 16.88% through its nominee, Tati Company Limited holds 14.23%, Metropolitan Life Botswana has 7.51%, while Debswana Pension Fund and D.P Training both hold 3.41% and 3.34% respectively.

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Pan-African risk advisor Minet Group and Botswana’s Africa Lighthouse Capital acquire Aon Botswana

21st May 2021
Pan-African-risk-advisor-Minet-Group-

Strategic partnership offers inherent benefits of global knowledge, African insights, and local expertise and commitment

Minet Group and Africa Lighthouse Capital today announced that they have received regulatory approval and fulfilled all requirements to acquire Aon’s shareholding in Aon Botswana, and consequently will begin the process to rebrand to Minet Botswana.

Minet Group is a well-known and trusted pan-African risk advisory firm and Aon’s largest Global Network Correspondent and has been rapidly expanding its African footprint since 2017 through the acquisition of operations from global professional services firm Aon in Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.   Minet has been delivering world class products and services across Africa for over 70 years.

Africa Lighthouse Capital (ALC) is a leading Botswana citizen-owned private equity firm focused on investing in Botswana companies and propelling them into regional champions, with over BWP 500 million in funds under management.

The new entity will be rebranded to Minet and will inherit deeply rooted respect by its clients for their innovative and locally relevant solutions, responsiveness, and efficient processes. Furthermore, it shall have the benefit of consistency in leadership and staffing, with Barnabas Mavuma, previously Managing Director of Aon Botswana, continuing to lead the business as the MD supported by the local management team.

 “The addition of Minet Botswana to our growing African network affirms our belief in the great opportunities for growth that Africa offers, driven by rising consumer demand, huge investment in infrastructure and quick adoption of new technology,” says Joe Onsando, CEO at Minet Group.

“This transaction significantly adds to the diversity and skills base of our team and will have a positive impact on the range of products and services we provide. Our Correspondent agreement with Aon gives us access to global expertise and data driven insights and uniquely positions us to deliver risk advisory solutions that reduce volatility, thus driving improved performance for our clients. This is a very exciting time to be Minet in Africa.”

“The significantly increased Botswana citizen shareholding effected by this transaction gives rise to an exciting era of local market focus and growth for Minet Botswana,” says Bame Pule, Founder and CEO of Africa Lighthouse Capital.  “We intend to work with Minet Botswana’s local management team to further localise the business in terms of product development, while at the same time investing in local skills development and business development.  We look forward to this exciting journey, which will result in a significantly enhanced service offering for Minet Botswana’s clients.”

Consequently, and similar to the other members of the Minet Group, Minet Botswana becomes an Aon Global Network Correspondent, retaining its access to Aon’s resources, technology, and best practises, combined with the benefit of independent, local agility. This transaction furthermore significantly increases local shareholding, enabling operations to become even nimbler and better positioned to unlock new and existing growth opportunities.

Clients of Minet Botswana will experience continuity of product and service delivery standards in the short term. In the near future, they can expect an enhanced offering that combines agility with technology and product innovation, tailormade for their specific needs.

Together, Minet and ALC bring a sound understanding of local market conditions, strong governance, and an established track record in the region. These qualities, combined with Aon’s global capabilities and expertise, will bring clear benefits for clients.

This transaction vastly increases citizen ownership with shareholders who are going to be active in the business. The transfer of equity interests in Botswana to investors with local and regional expertise, presence and commitment will allow the businesses to move quickly in line with market movements, and to introduce products that are tailored to the local market.

“Minet’s commitment and drive to incessantly adapt to changing market conditions, and to innovate to meet the unique insurance demands of the African continent, while maintaining the high standards customers have come to expect – Onsando concludes – will continue to grow and give Minet a powerful competitive edge within the African market”.

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Africa scores $285 Billion IMF deal

21st May 2021
IMF-Managing-Director-Kristalina-Georgieva

French President Emmanuel Macron received 21 Heads of state and government officials from Africa during the recent summit on the Financing of African Economies that focused on Africa to take full advantage of the tectonic shifts in the global economy and the call for a joint effort for financial and vaccination support for the continent.

President Emmanuel Macron stressed that “Most regions of the world are now launching massive post-pandemic recovery plans, using their huge monetary and fiscal instruments. But most African economies suffer the lack of adequate capacities and such instruments to do the same. We cannot afford leaving the African economies behind.

We, the Leaders participating to the Summit, in the presence of international organizations, share the responsibility to act together and fight the great divergence that is happening between countries and within countries.

This requires collective action to build a very substantial financial package, to provide a much-needed economic stimulus as well as the means to invest for a better future. Our ambition is to address immediate financing needs, to strengthen the capacity of African governments to support a strong and sustainable economic recovery and to reinforce the vibrant African private sector, as a long-term growth driver for Africa.”

For her part, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva highlighted that “there is urgency to focus on financing Africa. Last year, the pandemic-caused recession shrank the GDP of the Continent by 1.9 percent – the worst performance on record. This year, we project global growth at 6 percent, but only half that 3.2 percent for Africa.” Adding that Africa needs to grow faster than the world at 7 to 10 percent to meet the aspirations of its youthful populations, and become more prosperous and more secure.

Georgieva revealed that the price tag on the shot is estimated to be “$285 billion through 2025. Of this $135 billion is for low-income countries. This is the bare minimum. To do more – to get African nations back on their previous path of catching up with wealthy countries – will cost roughly twice as much. These are large numbers. They may seem out of reach. But to quote Nelson Mandela: impossible until it is done.”

The main areas of interest to achieve this include; first, end the pandemic everywhere, 40 percent of the population of all countries is targeted to get vaccinated by the end of 2021, and at least 60 percent by mid-2022.

Second, bilateral and multilateral development financing grants and concessional loans ought to go up. Over the last year, the IMF have swiftly ramped their financing for the Continent, including providing 13 times their average annual lending to sub-Saharan Africa. And are working to do much more. The IMF has also received support to increase access limits so they can scale up their zero-interest lending capacity through the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust.

The IMF has also devised exceptional measures. Their membership backs an unprecedented new allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) of $650 billion, by far the largest in their history. Once approved, which is intended to be achieved by the end of August, it will directly and immediately make about $33 billion available to African members. It will boost their reserves and liquidity, without adding to their debt burden.

Over the course of the last year, the IMF has built experience in facilitating the on lending of SDRs – thus managing to triple their concessional lending capacity as a result.

The Third being, actions at home. According to Georgieva “a crisis is an opportunity for transformational domestic reforms that increase domestic revenue, improve public services, and strengthen governance. For instance, digitalization can improve tax administration and revenue collection, and the quality of public spending. And with radical transparency, Africa can tap into new sources of finance – such as carbon offsets.

There is ample scope for countries to encourage private investment, including in social and physical infrastructure. New IMF research, published today, highlights that domestic and international investors could provide at least 3 percent of GDP per year of additional financing by the end of this decade.”

Reforms of international taxation can also support Africa’s growth. For a long time, the IMF has been in favor of minimum corporate tax rates to reduce the race to the bottom and tax avoidance. And they strongly support an international agreement on digital tax, something France has been a leading voice for. It is important to secure fair distribution of tax revenues, so they can contribute to closing Africa’s financial gap.

Georgieva called on to each and every one to step up. Reminding the attendees that from history they are all familiar with what a shock of this magnitude can do if not countered forcefully and effectively.

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Indian COVID-19 variant hits Botswana diamond sales

20th May 2021
Indian-Covid--19-variant-hit-rough-diamonds-sales---De-Beers-

De Beers’ Group, the world’s number one diamond producer by value, this week attributed the downfall of its sales for the fourth cycle week to the second wave of the Covid-19 variant (B.1.617.2) which was first discovered in India.

Diamond trading conditions have been hit by the Covid-19 crisis in India which is a major cutting and polishing centre for the world’s diamond trade.

The outbreak of the new variant has led to a humanitarian crisis with 280, 284 fatalities of the disease reported.

The London headquartered company said the sales in its fourth cycle fell to $380m (about P4.1 billion) down from $450m (about P4.8 billion) in the third cycle though it was higher than the fifth cycles of last year when the group shifted only $56m (P600 million).

De Beers emphasized that they continued to implement a more flexible approach to rough diamond sales during the fourth sales cycle of 2021, with the Sight event extended beyond its normal week-long duration.

The De Beers group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bruce Cleaver said the company continues to see robust demand for diamond jewellery in the key US and China consumer markets.

“However, the scale of the second wave of Covid-19 in India, where the majority of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished, has led to reduced midstream capacity and subsequently lower rough diamond demand, during what is already a seasonally slower time of year for midstream purchases,” said Cleaver.

Meanwhile Botswana health officials have confirmed the new Covid-19 variant in Botswana. The Ministry of Health and Wellness -through a press statement- informed members of the public that the variant (B.1.617), was confirmed in Botswana on 13th May 2021.

According to Christopher Nyanga, spokesperson at the Ministry, this followed a case investigation within Greater Gaborone, involving people of Indian origin who arrived in the country on the 24th April 2021.

Moreover the World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that the Indian Covid-19 variant was a global concern, with some data suggesting that the variant has “increased transmissibility” compared with other strains.

The India variant (B.1.617.2) – is one of four mutated versions of the coronavirus which has been designated as being “of concern” by transitional public health bodies, with others first being identified in Kent, South Africa and Brazil.

Nevertheless when speaking at Bank of America Global Metals and Mining conference, Anglo American Chief Executive Officer, Mark Cutifani said the company portfolio is increasingly tilted towards future enabling products and those that need to decarbonise energy and transport in order to meet consumers’ needs – from home appliances, electronics and infrastructure, to food and luxury goods.

“We see material opportunity for Anglo American to continue to set itself apart in terms of the performance of our diversified business, further enhanced through sector-leading 25% volume growth over the next four years, led by copper and the platinum group metals,” said Cutifani.

“Most importantly, as the supplier of such critical materials, it is the duty of our industry to ensure that in everything we do, we act responsibly and deliver enduring value for our full breadth of stakeholders, including our planet.”

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