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Choppies revenue up 17%

The trailblazing retail giant, Choppies, has posted impressive half year results for the year ended December 2015.

The unaudited group financial results for six months shows that Choppies has not lost steam despite the challenging operating environment made more difficult by slow economic growth.

The Choppies group still relies heavily in its investments in Botswana as its other operations in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia failed to make a thundering positive impact in the latest results.

The group posted a revenue of P3 530 669 000, a 17 percent increase from the corresponding period in 2014. The Earnings Before Interest Tax Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) was up 5 percent, while profit before tax stood at P133 474 000, a slight increase of 3 percent. In the end Choppies raked in profit after tax of P104, 103, 000, up by 0.8 percent compared to the six months ended in 2014.

The Botswana based stores remain the main anchor of the group as they contributed 64 percent of the revenue. The revenue was up by 13 percent from the half year period ended in 2014. This modest growth in revenues was despite the sharp devaluation of the rand putting pressure on pula based sales prices.

“However, profitability continued to improve from the scale benefits of our mature infrastructure.  We expect this process to continue going forward,” reads part of the statement. In the current period under review, Choppies opened 5 new stores bringing the total number of stores in Botswana to 78.

The Zimbabwe market showed glimpses of opportunity as the revenue shot up to 49 percent but brought in P952, 000 profit before tax, a sharp decline of 87 percent in the previous corresponding period.

“Profitability was negatively impacted by an aggressive pricing and promotions strategy in new stores, and start-up costs for the 8 new stores opened during the period.

Macroeconomic pressures in Zimbabwe continue to affect the spending power of consumers. In addition, deflationary trends have continued due to the strength of the US Dollar” read part of the statement explaining the large drop in profitability.

Choppies entered the Zambian market in November, a month before the end of the six months statement preparation. The late entry brought in a loss before tax of P1 627, 000, amid challenging trading conditions in Zambia which is underpinned by the struggling Kwacha due to the depressed copper prices, the mainstay of the Zambia economy. The resilient Choppies is planning a further expansion of 10 stores in 2016.

In South Africa, the  challenging trading conditions saw Choppies fall behind their profitability forecasts as the company posted a loss of about P40 million before taxation.

Despite this, Choppies seems to have an appetite for the elusive South African market as it continues with its expansion; opening 4 new stores to bring the total number of stores in South Africa to 40. In another bold move, the Botswana based company recently acquired 21 Jwayaleni stores in South Africa. This acquisition does not form part of the current financial results as it was concluded after.

The Choppies group boasts of a war chest that comprises of cash and cash equivalents of P221 668 000, after the company spent more than P200 million in investment activities for the period under the review.

The Choppies expansion in Africa follows the Brownfield model, which involves buying existing businesses; this has been confirmed by Ram Ottapathu, co-founder of Choppies in previous interviews. The latest acquisitions involve 10 existing stores in Kenya and the 21 Jwayelani stores in South Africa.

The 21 stores might be Choppies biggest gamble yet as it promises big returns but with the usual risks lurking in the background. The Jwayelani brand generated revenues of over R1 billion with a gross profit margin of 20.35 percent and profit before taxation up by 2.84 percent while the gross profit went up by 8.93 percent.

However, Choppies could lose big time as it still struggles in the South African market which operates on the backdrop of labour strikes, weakening rand, low investor confidence and power shortages. But the Choppies group is confident that the acquisition creates a platform for profitable growth in the South African operations.

A closer look at the recent acquisitions reveals that Choppies is moving away from mining towns whose spending power is largely tied to commodity prices, and with the commodity prices currently down, Choppies is hoping for a safe haven in the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape through Jwayelani brand.  

The investors will be full of anticipation when Choppies finally releases audited results for the end of year in June. Among other things, they will looking at how the recent acquisitions in Kenya and South Africa are faring, and overall it will the group’s expansion plans that will be on trial. No interim dividend has been declared, a final dividend will be declared and distributed after the finalisation of the financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2016.

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China’s GDP expands 3% in 2022 despite various pressures

2nd February 2023
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 3% year-on-year to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.93 trillion) in 2022 despite being mired in various growth pressures, according to data from the National Bureau Statistics.

The annual growth rate beat a median economist forecast of 2.8% as polled by Reuters. The country’s fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.9% also surpassed expectations for a 1.8% increase.

In 2022, the Chinese economy encountered more difficulties and challenges than was expected amid a complex domestic and international situation. However, NBS said economic growth stabilized after various measures were taken to shore up growth.

Industrial output rose 3.6% in 2022 over the previous year, while retail sales slightly shrank by 0.2% data show that fixed-asset investment increased 5.1% over 2021, with a 9.1% hike in manufacturing investment but a 10% fall in property investment.

China created 12.06 million new jobs in urban regions throughout the year, surpassing its annual target of 11 million, and officials have stressed the importance of continuing an employment-first policy in 2023.

Meanwhile, China tourism market is a step closer to robust recovery. Tourism operators are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.

On January 27, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, they year before the pandemic hit.

According to the report, tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan ($55.41 billion), a year-on-year rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the Ministry said.

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Jewellery manufacturing plant to create over 100 jobs

30th January 2023

The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.

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Investors inject capital into Tsodilo Resources Company

25th January 2023

Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.

According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.

The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.

Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.

Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.

Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana.  The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.

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