We will redefine diamond beneficiation Ė De Beers
Vice president of Beneficiation at De Beers Group, Kevin Goodrem
The De Beers Group will, pursue both non diamond business development as well as development of commercially viable jewellery production De Beers and align its strategies with those of the Botswana Government to achieve diversity of the economy as well as the national vision, vice president of Beneficiation at De Beers Group, Kevin Goodrem has said.
Kevin Goodrem, told BusinessPost in an interview that Botswana needs to emulate the United States in development of small enterprises, to create employment and diversity.
“In the US, 97 percent of businesses are small businesses, as in employers of four people or so and this helps the economy and creates employment. In Botswana however, we have more of the large corporations and we need to diversify those non diamond sectors,” he said.
“Our strategies at De Beers will align with the wishes of the Government here and diversify away from the non-diamond sectors. Our intention now is to create entrepreneurship across all sectors,” said Goodrem.
Goodrem said that the Tokafala Fund has been created to help entrepreneurs to get to a stage where they are ready to pitch to financiers, saying Batswana have many workable business concepts but do not have the strategic know how to make them feasible as businesses.
He said that the Fund will add to current efforts such as those undertaken by the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), but fill the gaps that exist in growing from embryo phase to fully developed business concerns.
Beneficiation is a word coined by the industry, meaning any addition of value in the value of chain of minerals, particularly the diamond industry.
“While we have managed to develop and grow the cutting and polishing for the past eight years, we are now looking at growing entrepreneurship across all sectors,” Goodrem further revealed.
The Diamond Hub has previously told this publication that jewellery manufacturing is the next frontier in terms of deriving more value out of diamonds.
SHINING LIGHT AWARDS
The De Beers Group of Companies jewellery design competition, the Shining Light Awards, has officially commenced its 2015 segment. The competition has been running for 18 years and has seen the design and manufacturing of a number of ‘one of a kind’ jewellery pieces from talented designers from Botswana, South Africa and Namibia.
The competition was initially conceived as a design competition with a vision of showcasing the wealth of talent from South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, to the world by creating a design platform and providing opportunities for designers to bring their designs to life by working with jewellery manufactures to develop these unique pieces.
In 2015 the focus of the Shining Light Awards competition is set to take a new turn while still discovering and showcasing the talent of young jewellery designers to the world, giving participants the opportunity to not only showcase their talent but receive valuable business development skills in the areas of jewellery design, jewellery manufacturing, sales and marketing and consumer demands etc. The shift in focus is designed to align the De Beers Group and its beneficiation strategy highlighting the value chain opportunities within the business.
“The De Beers Group of Companies recognises the significant role that Producer countries play in providing the designers with various opportunities in the jewellery design industry. The success of the competition can be linked to the collaboration between Industry Stakeholders, Government as well as Tertiary Education Institutions, which fits in with the beneficiation ethos of De Beers,” commented Kevin Goodrem, at the launch of the Shining Light this week.
This year’s shift in focus encourages designers to move away from creating extravagant jewellery pieces to creating commercially viable jewellery.
The competition has moved from discovering pure design talent to encouraging participants to not only showcase their talent but their business skills – including cost management and return on investment. Thus designers will not only produce beautiful diamond jewellery but will develop a strategy in order to make this commercially viable to consumers.
The Shining Light Awards competition is open to students as well as those who have completed their studies at a tertiary institution in the past two years. Entrants will be required to design a commercial collection under the chosen theme; ‘the Promise’.
The intention is to align and acquaint students to international standards of jewellery design. The grand finale and announcement of the top three winners will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa at the CIRCA Gallery on the 8th of July 2015.
The pieces will be showcased in 3D technology and the winners will receive a development package which will equip them to further their career both locally and abroad. This year’s winner will be given the opportunity to receive training for a year in Milan, Italy with the innovative Forevermark design team, to expose and enhance their skills in jewellery design.
BRANDING: THE FUTURE
While the Intellectual Property of the designs will be owned by De Beers, the designers will have their names accompanying them in 200 000 outlets spread across the world.
Goodrem said that designs by local tertiary institutions have shown that Botswana has the talent for producing world class jewellery and the De Beers’ Forevermark brand, take the names of the winners to the world stage.
The future of the very volatile jewellery industry lies in branding, according to the Diamond Insight Report of 2014. The Report states that the United States and China, the best consumer markets for diamond jewellery, have shown an appetite for branded products in recent years.
“The growth in importance of branded jewellery will have a particular impact in attracting the brand conscious younger US consumer, said the report, adding that the acceleration in consumer preference for brands of diamonds and diamond jewellery is driven by branded engagement rings, from 7 percent of all diamonds sold in 2002, to three and five times those levels in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
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Grit divests from Letlole La Rona
Grit Services Limited, a member of the pan African real estate group, London Stock Exchange listed Grit Real Estate Income Group is divesting from Letlole La Rona Limited (LLR), a local real estate company established by government investment arm Botswana Development Corporation over a decade ago.
The Board of Directors of Letlole La Rona Limited this week announced in a statement to Unitholders that Grit Services Limited (‚ÄėGrit‚Äô) has informed them of its intention to exit its investment in the company.
Grit has been a material shareholder in LLR since 2019. On 07 March 2023, Grit sold 6 421 000 linked units, representing 2.29% of the Company‚Äôs total securities in issue, at a market value of BWP 22 537 710.
This trade follows previous sales of 6.79% in December 2022, as communicated to Unitholders on 10 January 2023, as well as a further sale of 4.78% (representing 13 347 068 linked units) on 24 February 2023 to various shareholders.
In aggregate, Grit has sold 13.9% shareholding in the Letlole La Rona between December 2022 and March 2023, resulting in current shareholding of 11.25% in the Company.
Letlole La Rona said in the statement that the exit process will take place in an orderly manner so as to maintain stability of the Company‚Äôs share price.
The statement explained that Grit‚Äôs sale of its entire shareholding in LLR is in line with its decision to exit investments where it does not have majority control, or where it has significant exposure to currencies other than US dollar, Euro or hard-currency-pegged revenue streams.
‚ÄúGrit has announced similar decisions pertaining to certain of its hospitality assets in Mauritius recently. The Company would like to advise Unitholders that it remains focused on long-term value delivery to all stakeholders‚ÄĚ LLR said
In July last year as part of their Go-to-Africa strategy Letlole La Rona acquired an initial 30% equity stake in Orbit Africa Logistics, with an option to increase this investment to 50%. OAL is a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Mauritius, owning an industrial asset in a prime industrial node in Nairobi, Kenya.
The co-investment was done alongside a wholly owned subsidiary of London listed Grit. The Orbit facility is situated on a prime industrial site on Mombasa Road, the principal route south of Nairobi center, serving the main industrial node, the port of Mombasa and the industrial town of Athi River and is strategically located 11 kilometers south of the international airport and 9.6 kilometers from the Inland Container Depot.
Grit shareholding in Letlole La Rona was seen as strategic for LLR, for the company to leverage on Grit‚Äôs already existing continental presence and expand its wings beyond Botswana borders as already delivered by Kenya transaction.
Media reports have however suggested that LLR and Grit have since late last year had fundamental disagreements on how to go about the Go-to-Africa strategy amongst other things, fuelled by alleged Botswana government interference on the affairs of LLR.
Government through LLR founding shareholder – Botswana Development Corporation has a controlling stake of around 40 percent in the company. Government is the sole shareholder of Botswana Development Corporation.
Letlole La Rona recently released their financial results for the six months ended December 2022, revenue increased by 4% to P50.2 million from P48.4 million in the prior comparative six months, whilst operating profit was up 8% to P36.5 million. Profit before tax of P49.7 million was reported, an increase of 8% on the prior comparative six months.
‚ÄúWe are encouraged by the strong results, notwithstanding a challenging economic environment. Our performance was mainly underpinned by annual lease escalations, our quality tenant base and below average market vacancy levels, especially in our warehouse portfolio,‚ÄĚ Kamogelo Mowaneng, Letlole La Rona Chief Executive Officer commented.
LLR reported a weighted average lease expiry period of 3.3 years and escalation rates averaging 6.8% per annum for the period ended 31 December 2022.Its investment portfolio value increased by 14% year-on-year to close the period at P1.4 billion, mainly driven by the acquisition of a 30% stake in OAL in July 2022.
The Company also recorded a significant increase in other income, predominantly due to foreign exchange gains on the OAL shareholder loan. ‚ÄúWe continue to explore pipeline opportunities locally, and regionally in line with our Go-to-Africa strategy and our interest remains on value-accretive investments,‚ÄĚ Mowaneng said.
An interim distribution of 9.11 thebe per linked unit was declared on the 6th of February 2023 for the half-year period to 31 December 2022, comprising of a dividend of 0.05 thebe and debenture interest of 9.06 thebe per linked unit which will be paid to linked unit holders registered in the books of the Company at the close of business on 24 February 2023.
Stargems Group establishes Training Center in BW
Internationally-acclaimed diamond manufacturing company StarGems Group has established the Stargems Diamond Training Center which will be providing specialized training in diamond manufacturing and evaluation.
The Stargems Diamond Training Institute is located at the Stargems Group Botswana Unit in Gaborone.
‚ÄúIn accordance with the National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS) which holds the principle that through education and skills development as well as the strategic alignment between national ambitions and individual capabilities, Botswana will become a prosperous, productive and innovative nation due to the quality and efficacy of its citizenry. The Training Centre will provide a range of modules in theory and in practice; from rough diamond evaluation to diamond grading and polishing for Batswana, at no cost for eight weeks. The internationally- recognized certificate offered in partnership with Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Training School presents invaluable opportunities for Batswana to access in the diamond industry locally and internationally. The initiative is an extension of our Corporate Social Investment to the community in which we operate,‚ÄĚ said Vishal Shah, Stargems Group Managing Director, during the launch of the Stargems Diamond Training Center.
In order to participate in this rare opportunity, interested candidates are invited to submit a police clearance certificate and a BGCSE certificate only to the Stargems offices.¬† Students who excel in these programs will have the chance to be onboarded by the Stargems Group. This serves as motivation for them to go through this training with a high level of seriousness.
‚ÄúCommunity empowerment is one of our CSR principles. We believe that businesses can only thrive when their communities are well taken of. We are hoping that our presence will be impactful to various communities and economies. In the six countries that we are operating in, we have contributed through dedicating 10% of our revenues during COVID-19 to facilitate education, donating to hospitals and also to NGOs committed to supporting women and children living with HIV. One key issue that we are targeting in Botswana is the rate of unemployment amongst the youth. We are looking forward to working closely with the government and other relevant authorities to curb unemployment,‚ÄĚ said Shah.
Currently, Stargems Group has employed 117 Batswana and they are looking forward to growing the numbers to 500 as the company grows. Majority of the employees will be graduates from the Stargems Diamond Training Center. This initiation has been received with open arms by the general public and stakeholders. During the launch, the Minister of Minerals and Energy, ¬†Honorable Lefoko Moagi, stated that the ministry fully endorses Stargems Diamond Training and will work closely with the Group to support and grow the initiative.
‚ÄúAs a ministry, we see this as an game changer that is aligned with one of the United Nations’ Six Priority Sustainable Development Goals, which is to Advance Opportunity and Impact for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). What Stargems Group is launching today will have a huge impact on the creation of employment in Botswana. An economy‚Äôs productivity rises as the number of educated workers increases as its skilled workmanship increases. It is not a secret that low skills perpetuate poverty and widen the inequality gap, therefore the development of skills has the potential to contribute significantly to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and helping the country become more competitive. We are grateful to see the emergence of industry players such as Stargems Group who have strived to create such opportunities that mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy,‚ÄĚ said the Minister of Minerals and Energy.
Food import bill slightly declines
The latest figures released by Statistics Botswana this week shows that food import bill for Botswana slightly declined from around P1.1 billion in November 2022 to around P981 million in December during the same year.
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