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FPC to list after successful IPO

Mr Chandra Chauhan; Group MD, Sefalana group

The FAR Property Company (FPC) has announced its Initial Public Offering (IPO) results for its imminent listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) that will see a total of 380 million linked units listed on the main domestic counter of the BSE. For the public offer, 40 million subscription linked units were issued for the IPO and private placement. The 20 million linked units available to the members of the public had a 1.2 oversubscription. There were 646 applicants for 24 035 700 linked units for the offer price of P2.57.

The remaining 20 million linked units will be allotted and issued to institutional investors in a private placement. The 40 million units sold are an addition to the other 40 million linked units that are to be sold by the founders immediately after listing.

“Applications for 4 035 700 linked units were received from members of the public. Applications for 20 000 000 linked units were received from institutional investors. Members of the public will be allotted linked units equal to their applications, i.e. will receive the number of linked units applied for in full. The institutional investors are allotted 15 964 300 linked units, allotted amongst them, in proportion to their applications,” read part of the press release.

FPC is expected to list on the 4th of May, joining the other 5 existing property companies and bringing the total number of listed companies on the main board to 22. Furthermore, FPC with its issued 380 million units at an offer price will debut with a market capitalisation P976.6 million, making it the 3rd most valuable listed property company on the BSE.

The founders of FPC have now become legends in successfully listing companies; their maiden listing was a resounding success as they listed Choppies, first in the BSE and subsequently in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. In this listing, the founders are looking at a windfall of about P102 million while the company will also pocket the same. The reason for listing the company was to raise funds for ongoing projects and other future projects.

Prior to the IPO, FPC had 340 million linked units with founders Ramachandran Ottapathu and Farouk Ismail each holding 170 million linked units. In preparation for the listing, 40 million new units were issued bringing the total number of linked units to 380 million. From the newly added 40 million units, an offer was made to the public to apply for 20 million linked units, while the other 20 million linked units was for private placement. The issued 40 million units will raise in excess of P100 million for the Company and a concurrent sale by the existing shareholders of the Company of 40 000 000 linked units to realise approximately P100 million for the sellers.

According to the company prospectus, the founders have sold, subject to the result of the IPO, 40 million linked units to selected institutional investors at the offer price per linked unit. During the book building stages, 40 million linked units were offered for sale by the founders and the 40 million subscription linked units offered for subscription by the company i.e. a total of 80 million linked units were offered to the placees. Linked units in excess of 95 million were taken up, representing an oversubscription of 20%. The oversubscription was a signal that there was demand for FPC’s linked units, prompting the company to have a public offer constituting of the IPO and private placement.

Following the IPO, the listing, and the subsequent sale of units by the founders, as set out in the prospectus, the issued units of the Company will be held as follows: Ramachandran Ottapathu and Farouk Ismail as the founders will now hold 79% of the company as each man holds 150 million linked units, representing 39.5% for each founder. The public will now hold 20.7% which represents 78 981 500 linked units, while directors and their associates lay claim to 0.2% which is 768 500 units and the last 0.1% representing 250 000 units is held by associates of Ramachandran Ottapathu.

The FAR Property Company was founded in 2010 to accommodate the Choppies Group needs as the retail giant was in need of properties to rent during its exponential growth and expansion era. The company then began its string of property acquisitions, in the process the company has acquired 182 properties in Botswana and has acquired 23 properties in South Africa. Although, the initial plan was for the properties to serve the needs of Choppies group, the development of the Choppies brand and market position in Botswana attracted the public to premises occupied by a Choppies outlet.

This led to demand by other providers of consumer services to seek accommodation for their outlets at the location of Choppies outlets. The Company became less reliant on the Choppies Group for take up of space in its properties, and the size and nature of the properties changed. The company’s property portfolio has grown over the past 6 years; by 2015 the company had P1.3 billion assets, and the company brought in P92 million in revenues in 2015.

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Business

New study reveals why youth entrepreneurs are failing

21st July 2022
Youth

The recent study on youth entrepreneurship in Botswana has identified difficult access to funding, land, machinery, lack of entrepreneurial mindset and proper training as serious challenges that continue to hamper youth entrepreneurship development in this country.

The study conducted by Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) in collaboration with University of Botswana has confirmed that despite the government and private sector multi-billion pula entrepreneurship development initiatives, many young people in Botswana continue to fail to grow their businesses into sustainable and successful companies that can help reduce unemployment.

University of Botswana researchers Gaofetege Ganamotse and Rudolph Boy who compiled findings in the 2022 study report for Botswana stated that as part of the study interviews were conducted with successful youth entrepreneurs to understand their critical success factors.

According to the researchers other participants were community leaders, business mentors, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture, financial institutions, higher education institutions, non-governmental institutions, policymakers, private organizations, and support structures such as legal and technical experts and accountants who were interviewed to understand how they facilitate successful youth entrepreneurship.

The researchers said they found that although Botswana government is perceived as the most supportive to businesses when compared to other governments in sub-Saharan Africa, youth entrepreneurs still face challenges when accessing government funding. “Several finance-related challenges were identified by youth entrepreneurs. Some respondents lamented the lack of access to start-up finance, whereas others mentioned lack of access to infrastructure.”

The researchers stated that in Botswana entrepreneurship is not yet perceived as a field or career of choice by many youth “Participants in the study emphasized that the many youth are more of necessity entrepreneurs, seeing business venturing as a “fall back. Other facilitators mentioned that some youth do not display creativity, mind-blowing innovative solutions, and business management skills. Some youth entrepreneurs like to take shortcuts like selling sweets or muffins.”

According to the researchers, some of the youth do not display perseverance when they are faced with adversity in business. “Young people lack of an entrepreneurial mindset is a common challenge among youth in business. Some have a mindset focused on free services, handouts, and rapid gains. They want overnight success. As such, they give up easily when faced with challenges. On the other hand, some participants argue that they may opt for quick wins because they do not have access to any land, machinery, offices, and vehicles.”

The researchers stated that most youth involved in business ventures do not have the necessary training or skills to maintain a business. “Poor financial management has also been cited as one of the challenges for youth entrepreneurs, such as using profit for personal reasons rather than investing in the business. Also some are not being able to separate their livelihood from their businesses.

Lastly, youth entrepreneurs reported a lack of experience as one of the challenges. For example, the experience of running a business with projections, sticking to the projections, having an accounting system, maintaining a clean and clear billing system, and sound administration system.”

According to the researchers, the participants in the study emphasized that there is fragmentation within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, whereby there is replication of business activities without any differentiation. “There is no integration of the ecosystem players. As such, they end up with duplicate programs targeting the same objectives. The financial sector recommended that there is a need for an intermediary body that will bring all the ecosystem actors together and serve as a “one-stop shop” for entrepreneurs and build mentorship programs that accommodate the business lifecycle from inception to growth.”

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Business

BHC yearend financial results impressive

18th July 2022
BHC

Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) is said to have recorded an operating surplus of P61 Million, an improvement compared to the previous year. The housing, office and other building needs giant met with stakeholders recently to share how the business has been.

The P61 million is a significant increase against the P6 million operating loss realized in the prior year. Profit before income tax also increased significantly from P2 million in the prior year to P72 million which resulted in an overall increase in surplus after tax from P1 million prior year to P64 million for the year under review.

Chief of Finance Officer, Diratsagae Kgamanyane disclosed; “This growth in surplus was driven mainly by rental revenue that increased by 15% from P209 million to P240 million and reduction in expenditure from P272 million to P214 million on the back of cost containment.”
He further stated that sales of high margin investment properties also contributed significantly to the growth in surplus as well as impairment reversals on receivables amounting to P25 million.

It is said that the Corporation recorded a total revenue of P702 million, an 8% decrease when compared to the P760 million recorded in the prior year. “Sales revenue which is one of the major revenue streams returned impressive margins, contributing to the overall growth in the gross margin,” added Kgamanyane.

He further stated professional fees revenue line declined significantly by 64% to P5 million from P14 million in the prior year which attributed to suspension of planned projects by their clients due to Covid-19 pandemic. “Facilities Management revenue decreased by P 24 million from P69 million recorded in prior year to P45 million due to reduction in projects,” Kgamanyane said.

The Corporation’s strength is on its investment properties portfolio that stood at P1.4 billion at the end of the reporting period. “The Corporation continues its strategy to diversify revenue streams despite both facilities management income and professional fees being challenged by the prevailing economic conditions that have seen its major clients curtailing spending,” added the CEO.

On the one hand, the Corporation’s Strategic Performance which intended to build 12 300 houses by 2023 has so far managed to build 4 830 houses under their SHHA funding scheme, 1 240 houses for commercial or external use which includes use by government and 1 970 houses to rent to individuals.

BHC Acting CEO Pascaline Sefawe noted that; BHC’s planned projects are said to include building 336 flat units in Gaborone Block 7 at approximately P224 million, 100 units in Maun at approximately P78 million, 13 units in Phakalane at approximately P26 million, 212 units in Kazungula at approximately P160 million, 96 units at approximately P42 million in Francistown and 84 units at approximately P61 million in Letlhakane. Emphasing; “People tend to accuse us of only building houses in Gaborone, so here we are, including other areas in our planned projects.”

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Business

Commercial banks to cash big on high interest rates on loans

18th July 2022
Commercial-banks

Researchers from some government owned regulatory institutions in the financial sector have projected that the banking sector’s profitability could increase, following Bank of Botswana Monetary Policy Committee recent decision to increase monetary policy rate.

In its bid to manage inflation, Bank of Botswana Monetary Policy Committee last month increased monetary policy rate by 0.50 percent from 1.65 percent to 2.15 percent, a development which resulted with commercial banking sector increasing interest rate in lending to household and companies. As a result of BoB adjustment of Monetary Policy Rate, from 1.65 percent to 2.15 percent commercial banks increased prime lending rate from 5.76 percent to 6.26 percent.

Researchers from Bank of Botswana, the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority, the Financial Intelligence Agency and the Botswana Stock Exchange indicated that due to prospects of high inflation during the second half of 2022, there is a possibility that the Monetary Policy Committee could further increase monetary policy rate in the next meeting in August 25 2022.

Inflation rose from 9.6 percent in April 2022 to 11.9 percent in May 2022, remaining above the Bank of Botswana medium-term objective range of 3 – 6 percent. According to the researchers inflation could increase further and remain high due to factors that include: the potential increase in international commodity prices beyond current forecasts, logistical constraints due to lags in production, the economic and price effects of the ongoing Russia- Ukraine conflict, uncertain COVID-19 profile, domestic risk factors relating to possible regular annual administered price adjustments, short-term unintended consequences of import restrictions resulting with shortages in supplies leading to price increases, as well as second-round effects of the recent increases in administered prices “Furthermore, the likelihood of further increases in domestic fuel prices in response to persistent high international oil prices could add upward pressure to inflation,” said the researchers.

The researchers indicated that Bank of Botswana could be forced to further increase monetary policy rate from the current 2.15 percent if inflation rises persistently. “Should inflation rise persistently this could necessitate an upward adjustment in the policy rate. It is against this background that the interest rate scenario assumes a 1.5 percentage points (moderate scenario) and 2.25 percentage points (severe scenario) upward adjustment in the policy rate,” said the researchers.

The researchers indicated that while any upward adjustment on BoB monetary policy rate and commercial banks prime lending rate result with increase in the cost of borrowing for household and compnies, it increase profitability for the banking sector. “Increases in the policy rate are associated with an overall increase in bank profitability, with resultant increases in the capital adequacy ratio of 0.1 percentage points and 0.2 percentage points for the moderate and severe scenarios, respectively,” said the researchers who added that upward adjustment in monetary policy rate would raise extra capital for the banking sector.

“The increase in profit generally reflects the banking industry’s positive interest rate gap, where interest earning assets exceed interest earning liabilities maturing in the next twelve months. Therefore, an increase of 1.5 percentage points in the policy rate would result in industry gains of P71.7 million (4.1 percent increase), while a 2.25 percentage points increase would lead to a gain of P173.9 million (6.1 percent increase), dominated by large banks,” said the researchers.

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