The Botswana Stock Exchange’s Domestic Company Index (DCI) lost 95 points during the last three months to end the second quarter at 10,107.12 points, reflecting a decline of 0.93%. The decline in the second quarter follows the 3.8% decline experienced in the first quarter, therefore in the past 6 months the DCI has lost 4.74% and 5.45% in the last 12 months. In this quarter, as in the first quarter, the rally was led by property and tourism stocks while retail and the financial stocks have been most hit.
It has been a rough start for global equities worldwide following a global markets rout that wiped trillions worth of equities valuation early in 2016 as the world’s largest economy fumbled. The precipitous fall in the Chinese equities led to a global contagion resulting in major markets taking a hit and sparking fresh concerns that a financial crisis is looming.
While the global markets were still reeling from the shock, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, the aftermath was a shakeup in the financial markets that saw leading indices shedding off points. The turmoil in the financial markets has sparked fears that another financial crisis similar to the one experienced in 2008 is looming large in the horizon.
The BSE’s DCI opened the year at 10,610.14 points and from there on the DCI has been in decline. The first quarter ended at 10,2o2.64, representing a decline of 3.8%. The losses were extended in the second quarter with the DCI failing to find a footing, causing concerns amongst investors that their investments this year might be lower than the previous year. The index has been put under pressure by retail and financial stocks which are seen as being more risky given the prevailing market conditions.
The second quarter picks up from the first quarter with both sides of the coin, the gainers and losers, comprising mostly of the same companies that featured in the previous quarter. The trend further continues with property stocks outperforming the DCI index, with the exception of Letlole La Rona.
The travel and leisure (tourism) stocks maintained their favourability amongst investors as they continue to appreciate in value. The financial stocks continue to struggle, with only the exception of Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited and Barclays, as the two financial giants managed to post gains in both quarters. Big retailers also suffered losses signalling that investors are worried about the companies’ profitability given the stubbornly low inflation.
The top 5 gainers in the second quarter of the year were led by Cresta, the leading hotel operator in the country. Its share price has appreciated by 6.5% in the second quarter, bringing its yearly gains to 13%. New African Properties which broke records two weeks back after a single day trading of 26% of its issued shares worth P457.3 million has impressed with year to date returns of 10.6% after gaining 6.2% in the last three months. The Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited remained in the top five performers after a good showing in the first quarter. It retained third position in the second quarter after advancing by 3.8%, totalling its yearly returns to 9%. Chobe, a tourism outfit which operates luxurious lodges saw its share price jump by 5.28% in the quarter under review while its year to date gains is at 8.4%. Turnstar Holdings wrapped up our top five gainers as the real estate developer managed an impressive 6.2% increase in share price, bringing its yearly returns to 5.9%.
Other notable positive movements in the second quarter include RDC properties which brought in 3.13% while its year to date returns stand at 5.20%. Wilderness Holdings gained 5.2%, extending its yearly gains to 3.1%. Primetime moved by 1.3% resulting in 3.8% of year to date returns. Meanwhile Barclays remains the only bank so far this year to deliver share price gains as it locked in 2.9% in yearly returns.
Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited listed in April. The company on the first day of trading closed atP1.30, an incredible 30% surge from P1. However, it the shares quickly retreated and briefly traded for around P1.20 until settling for the current P1.10 price, which is still a win to the shareholders as it represent a 10% premium on the initial P1 they paid during the Initial Public Offering(IPO).
On the losing side, Standard Chartered Bank which is the oldest bank to operate in Botswana was the biggest loser as its share price plunged to new lows as it lost 19% and bringing the yearly losses to 24%. The embattled bank is having a bad year in the stock market after it posted profit which was 85% lower than the previous period. Letshego, the pan-African financial services provider continues to struggle despite its highly liquid stock. Letshego has seen its share price plummet by as much as 2.4% in the second quarter, bringing the yearly losses to 14%. The financial stocks continued the downward trend as First National Bank Botswana dropped 5% resulting in year to date loss of 11%. Choppies Enterprises had its share price tank by 2.4% in the last 3 months, extending its yearly losses to 9%. The furniture shop giant, Furnmart, lost 3% in the second quarter, delivering year to date loss of 4.4%.
The oldest companies in the stock market in terms of listing, Sefalana and Sechaba have had subdued share movements, in the end the two giants are still yet to post positive gains, with Sefalana down by 3.62% in yearly returns while Sechaba is trailing behind by yearly losses of about 1.7%.
The usually inactive Foreign Domestic Index has been on a winning streak as the index recorded positive growth of about 1.1%, pushing the FCI year to date gains by 1.5%.
The index was rallied by Botswana Diamonds which delivered 143% returns in the second quarter, while its yearly gains are at an impressive 162%. Lucara Diamond Corporation has not only impressed so far with its exceptional diamonds as its share price has been soaring since the discovery of Lesedi La Rona. The yearly returns stand at 70% after gaining about 45% in the second quarter. While companies trading under the foreign counter remained largely flat, Shumba Energy share price slid down by 9%, bringing its yearly losses to 10%.
With the first half of the year dusted, the question on many investors’ minds is whether the stock markets will improve without any further shocks or go through another crisis. In Botswana’s case, the probability of the DCI turning around to deliver good returns remains shaky. According to analysts at Trading Economics, they estimate it to trade at 9980.00 points in the third quarter, a further 1.3% decline.
“Botswana Stock Market (BSI DCI) Forecasts are projected using an autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model calibrated using our analysts’ expectations. We model the past behaviour of Botswana Stock Market (BSI DCI) using vast amounts of historical data and we adjust the coefficients of the econometric model by taking into account our analysts assessments and future expectations. The forecast for – Botswana Stock Market (BSI DCI) – was last predicted on Thursday, June 30, 2016,” they revealed in a research note.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) moved swiftly this week to suspend BBS Limited from trading its securities following a brawl between Board of Directors and Managing Director, Pius Molefe, which led to corporate governance crisis at the organisation.
In an interesting series of events that unfolded this week, incumbent board Chairperson, Pelani Siwawa-Ndai moved to expel Molefe together with board Secretary, Sipho Showa, who also doubles up as Head of Marketing and Communications. It is reported that Siwawa-Ndai in her capacity as the board Chairperson wrote letters of dismissals to Molefe and Showa.
Following receipt of letters, the duo sought and was furnished with legal opinion from Armstrong Attorneys advising them that their dismissals were unlawful hence they were told to continue to report to work and carry out their duties.
Documents seen by BusinessPost articulate that in the meeting which was held on the 1st of April, the five outgoing board members, unlawfully took resolutions to extend their contracts by a further 90 days after April 30 2021 as they face tough competition from five other candidates who had expressed interest to run for the elections.
Moreover, at the said meeting, management explained that neither management nor the board have the authority to decline nominations submitted by shareholders or the interested parties which is in line with Companies Act and also BBS Limited constitution.
Molefe also revealed that as management they cautioned the board that it was conflicted and it would be improper for it to influence the election process as it seems they intended to do so. “Nonetheless, in a totally unprecedented move in the history of BBSL, the board then collectively passed the unlawful resolutions below. Leading to the illegitimate decisions, the board had brazenly directed that its discussions on the Board elections should not be recorded totally violating sound corporate governance,” reads the statement released by management this week.
When giving their legal advice, Armstrong Attorneys noted that notice for the AGM should state individuals proposed to be elected to the board and directors have no legal authority to prevent the process.
Armstrong Attorneys also noted that, “due process” cited by board members are simply to ensure that the five retiring Directors avoid competition from interested candidates to be appointed to the BBS Limited board. The law firm further opined that the resolution of the 90 day extension of term of the five directors pending re-election or election was unlawful.
Molefe expressed with regret that BBS has been suspended from trading by BSE until the current matter has been resolved. “I am concerned by this development and other potentially harmful actions on the business. As management, we are engaging with stakeholders to mitigate any negative impact on BBS Limited,” expressed a distressed Molefe.
He assured shareholders and the rest of Management that they are working very hard to ensure that the issues are being dealt with in a mature manner. BBS which hopes to become the first indigenous commercial bank has seen its shares halted barely four months after BSE lifted the trading suspension of shares for BBS following submission of their published 2019 audited financial statements.
According to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the local bourse, Thapelo Tsheole said the halting of shares of BBSL is to maintain fair, efficient and orderly securities trading environment. “The securities have been suspended to allow BBS to provide clarity to the market concerning the recent allegations which have been brought to the attention of the BSE relating to the company’s Board of Directors and senior management,” said Tsheole.
Meanwhile in their audited financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2020, BBS recorded a loss of P14.6 million as at 31 December 2020 compared to the loss of P35.7 million for the comparative year ended 31 December 2019. According to Molefe the year under review was the most challenging for the bank, its shareholders and customers endured the difficult economic environment and the negative impact of the coronavirus.
He revealed that as the bank, they were forced to put in place several measures to ensure that the business withstands the impact of coronavirus and also to cushion mortgage customers from the effects of the pandemic. “Since April 2020 up to the end of December 2020, BBS assisted 555 mortgage customers with a payment holiday,’’ he said.
This is the bank whose total balance sheet declined by 12 percent from P4, 626 billion for the year ended. 31 December 2019 to P4, 088 billion as at 31 December 2020. As if things were not bad enough, total savings and deposits at the bank declined by 14 percent from a balance of P2, 885 billion as at 31 December 2019 to P2, 494 billion as at 31 December 2020.
On a much brighter side, BBSL mortgage loans and advances improved from P3, 401 billion to P3.408 billion with impairment allowance significantly improving to P78, 648 million from P102, 532 million for the year under review, representing a positive variance of 23 percent. BBS maintained a strong capital base with capital adequacy ratios of 26.32% for the year ended 31 December 2020.
Molefe was optimistic and anticipated a positive outcome during the implementation of the new BBS corporate strategy, whose main drive is commercialization of operations, which is in full force. “It will be spurred on by the positive results we have achieved for the year ended 31 December 2020, and our planned submission of our banking license application to Bank of Botswana which we anticipate to operate as a commercial bank in the third quarter of 2021,” he alluded.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Premium Nickel Resources Botswana (PNRB), Montwedi Mphathi, has said his company will resuscitate the formerly owned BCL assets and deliver a new, sustainable and cutting edge mining operation.
The new mine which will leverage on modern and next generation technology, will be environmentally sensitive and cognisant of the needs of its people and that of the communities around the area of influence.
In a statement last week, Premium Nickel Resources Botswana and its parent company, the Canadian headquartered Premium Nickel Resources announced that they have now completed the Exclusivity Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Liquidator.
The MOU will govern a six-month exclusivity period to complete its due diligence and related purchase agreements on the Botswana nickel-copper-cobalt (Ni-Cu-Co) assets formerly operated by BCL Limited (BCL), that are currently in liquidation.
On February 10, 2021, Lefoko Moagi, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security of Botswana, affirmed in Parliament a press release by the Liquidator for the BCL Group of Companies, stating that PNR was selected as the preferred bidder to acquire assets formerly owned by BCL.
“This is encouraging for the company and for Botswana. Our ambition in this new project dubbed “Tsholofelo” is to redevelop the former BCL assets into a modern, environmentally sensitive, efficient NI-Cu-Co-water producer where sustainability and the people are at the forefront of the decisions we make,” said Mphathi in a statement last Thursday.
“We also understand that no matter how successful we are at building the “New BCL” , our success will only be measured at our ability to create local wealth , skills and support the continued transition of local economy to a longer term sustainable base.”
The next step during the exclusivity period will be the completion of the definitive agreement. Simultaneous to this the PNRB will be conducting additional investigative work on site to further its understanding of the potential of these assets.
Specifically the company will complete an environmental assessment, a metallurgical study, a review of legal and social responsibilities, a review of the mine closure and rehabilitation plans and an on-site inspection of the legacy mining infrastructure and equipment that has been under care and maintenance.
Mphathi said they continue to monitor the global Covid-19 developments noting that they are committed to working with health and safety authorities as a priority and in full respect of all government and local Covid-19 protocol requirements. PNRB has developed Covid-19 travel, living and working protocols in anticipation of moving forward to on site due diligence.
“We will integrate these protocols with the currently applicable protocols of Ministry of Health & Wellness as well as District Health Management Team ( DHMT) and surrounding communities,” reads a statement released by the Gaborone based Premium Nickel Resources team.
PNRB is looking to become a catalyst in participating and building a strong economy for Botswana, with a purpose where respect and trust are core to every single step that will be taken. “Our success will mean following international best-in-class practices for the protection of Botswana’s environment and the focus on its people, building partnerships and earning respect, through cooperation and collaboration,” explains PNRB on its website.
“We are committed to Governance through transparent accountability and open communication within our team and with all our stakeholders.” Mphathi, a former BCL Executive, is widely celebrated for achieving unprecedented profitability at the mine during his tenure as General Manager.
The Serowe-born mining guru obtained a Diploma in Mining Technology from Haileybury School of Mines in Canada. He later obtained a B.Eng. Mining degree from the Technical University of Nova Scotia. Mphathi went on to City University in London, UK and obtained a M.Sc. in Industrial and Administrative Sciences.
Before ascending to the top country managerial role of Premium Nickel Resources. Mphathi was General Manager of Botswana Ash (Botash), Southern Africa’s leading salt and soda ash producer. He was at some point linked to Debswana top post, which is still to date not substantively filled following the death of Managing Director, Albert Milton, in August 2019.
With Mphathi out of the race and now leading the rebuilding of his former employer, the top post at De Beers- Botswana joint venture is likely to be filled by current acting Managing Director Lynette Armstrong, a seasoned finance executive with unparalleled experience in the extractive industry.
“We are happy to hear that former General Manager of BCL, Mr Montwedi Mphathi, has a relationship with the new Company that intends to resuscitate the mine, he is an experienced Mining Executive who knows BCL better, we want the mine to be brought back to life so that our people can be employed ” said Dithapelo Keorapetse Member of Parliament for Selibe Phikwe West recently in Parliament.
BCL was liquidated in October 2016 following a series of losses and government bailout occasioned by low Copper prices and allegedly poor Investment decisions and maladministration. Recently PNR CEO, Keith Morrison said his team of seasoned experts both from Canada and Botswana are committed to resuscitate the BCL assets and deliver a high performance mining operation.
“The World, Botswana and the mining industry have changed dramatically since mining first started at the former BCL assets in the early 1970s. The nickel-copper-cobalt resources remaining at these mines are now critical metals, required for the continued development of a decarbonized and electrified global economy,” he said.
Morrison added: “As we move forward, it is our goal to demonstrate the potential economics of re-developing a combination of the former BCL assets to produce Ni-Cu-Co and water in a manner that is inclusive of modern environmental, social and corporate governance responsibilities.”
He explained that to attain this, extensive upgrades to infrastructure will be required with an emphasis on safety, sustainability and the application of new technologies to minimize the environmental impact and total carbon footprint for the new operations.
“Our team remains committed to working with the local communities and all of the stakeholders throughout this period and we encourage anyone with questions or feedback to reach out to us directly,” he noted.
Lucara Diamond Corporation, the Canadian 100% owners of iconic Karowe mine, this week announced the extension of its supply deal with Belgian diamond midstream giant HB Antwerp.
The definitive supply agreement is in respect of all diamonds produced in excess. of 10.8 carats in size from its rare gem producing Karowe diamond mine located in the Boteti district of Botswana. Large, high value diamonds in excess of 10.8 carats in size account for approximately 70% of Lucara’s annual revenue.
Though the Karowe mine has remained fully operational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Lucara made a deliberate decision not to tender any of its +10.8 carat inventory after early March 2020 amidst the uncertainty caused by the global crisis.
Under the terms of this novel supply agreement with HB, extended to December 2022, the purchase price paid for each +10.8 carat rough diamond is based on the estimated polished outcome, determined through state of the art scanning and planning technology, with a true up paid on actual achieved polished sales thereafter, less a fee and the cost of manufacturing.
“Lucara is beginning to see the benefits of this strategy in accessing a broader marketplace and delivering regular cash flow based on final polished sales,” said Lucara CEO, Eira Thomas on Wednesday.
“We believe these early results warrant an extension of the arrangement for at least 24 months to determine if superior pricing and market stability for our large, high-value diamonds can be sustained longer term.”
The Canadian junior miner initiated a supply agreement with HB for large stones from its Botswana Karowe mine in July 2020, after pausing its tenders shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic began. The deal enables Lucara to sell the rough diamonds to HB at a price based on an estimate of the polished outcome, which the companies determine using diamond scanning and planning technology. Once HB sells the goods, it adjusts the price that Lucara receives based on the actual selling price of the polished, minus a fee and manufacturing costs.
The extended supply deal will follow the same payment terms as the initial agreement, and will be in effect through to December 2022. Lucara said in a statement this week that the agreement also provides increased tax revenue and beneficiation opportunities for the government of Botswana, and creates a streamlined supply chain for Karowe’s rough.
“More than a supply agreement, this collaboration structurally embeds a new transparent and sustainable way of working in the diamond-value chain,” said HB CEO, Oded Mansori. “For the first time, different partners of the value chain are fully aligned, sharing data and information throughout the process from mine to consumer.”
Mansori added: “We are truly proud with this innovative and straightforward collaboration that has proven itself through the volatile and uncertain reality of 2020. We are confident to achieve even better results during the term of this new contract and demonstrate the power of a true partnership.”
Lucara, which early this year secured extension of Karowe mining license to 2040, announced over P2.4 billion funding for Karowe underground mining expansion project a fortnight ago. The Vancouver headquartered top large diamond producer says this supply agreement deal extension with HB will bring about regular cash flow for Lucara using polished pricing mechanism. Furthermore, the company says the deal has potential revenue upside, particularly suited for Lucara’s large, exceptional diamonds.
In the main, Botswana will benefit increased tax revenue and additional beneficiation opportunities for the Government and communities around Karowe mine. A streamlined supply chain that achieves alignment between Lucara and HB to maximize the value of each +10.8 carat diamond produced at Karowe.