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Tlou moves to raise P24 million for 66KV transmission line project

Tlou Energy has launched a partially underwritten non- renounceable entitlement offer to raise up to P24 million in a bid to aid its ongoing power project. The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed energy firm announced this week.

In a statement published on the BSE website, the company said the entitlement offer entailed up to 75 030 031 new offer shares at a price A$0.04 per share which is £0.022 and BWP0.32 per share.

Tlou Energy explained that eligible shareholders will subscribe for 1 fully paid ordinary share for each 6 fully ordinary shares. In addition to offer shares, participants will be granted one unlisted option for every two offer shares allotted. New options will have expiry date of two years from the date of issue and exercisable at any time prior to expiry at a price of A$0.08 per share.

Tlou’s Managing Director, Mr Tony Gilby revealed that the net proceeds of the Entitlement offer, along with existing cash, will mainly be used for detailed engineering and design of the proposed 66kv transmission line to connect the Lesedi project to electricity grid.

Furthermore the money will be used for due diligence costs in relation to the provision of development funding for the Lesedi project as well as to fund ongoing field operations and general working capital.

Gilby also revealed that the Company plans to commence work on the transmission line to connect to Lesedi project to the electricity grid as soon as possible.  The Environmental and Social Impact   Assessment for the line has been completed as well as route alignment and associated surveys.

“Tlou now plans to progress the design and engineering of the 66kV overhead line and 66kV line feeder bay extension at the Serowe Substation,” he said in the statement.

The MD also noted that the company is in advanced discussions with development funding institutions interested in providing debt and/or equity capital to fund the next stage of the Lesedi Project.

This work according to the statement includes but not limited to, drilling of additional wells, installation of generation assets, purchase f capital equipments and installation of associated infrastructure to develop up to 10MW of power.

Early this year Tlou reported that its has entered into preliminary Power Purchase agreement deal  with Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), the national power utility outfit. The company said the agreement entailed an interim 2 Megga Watts Coal Bed Methane (CMB) pilot Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

Tlou has also previously reported that its negotiations with Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) , a wholly Government owned investment arm were at an advanced stage .The  Company  is  negotiating  a  term  sheet  with  BDC,  which  is  progressing  through  the Corporation’s  internal  corporate processes.

“Once the term sheet is signed, due diligence covering commercial, technical, legal, reputational, environmental, and social and governance can be completed. The costs of this will be borne by Tlou. The due  diligence process is expected to take 8 to 12 weeks from the execution of the term sheet,” revealed Gilby.

Tlou’s Managing Director, Mr Tony Gilby further said “Funds to be raised by the  Entitlement  Offer will go towards two key  items to take the Company forward,  grid connection and development funding.”

He explained that the Grid  connection  is  key  to  get  the  power  project  up  and  running  and  start  revenue  generation. Giving an update on the company’s progress Gilby  said  operations  are  continuing  in  Botswana  with  gas  being  produced  at  the  Lesedi  4  production  pod.

“Subject  to  funding,  the  we plan   further  exploration  work  over  the  Mamba  project area  and upon receipt  of regulatory approval, work can  commence  on the Boomslang project,  the Company’s  most recently acquired  project area,” he revealed.

Furthermore successful securing of funds from BDC will also cover working capital requirements including general and administrative costs across the company’s three stock exchange listings on Australian Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE).

Meanwhile the company has noted that the current pandemic of COVID-19 may continue to have impact on all proposed activities earmarked to be undertaken by expected funds in terms of execution and timing.

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P230 million Phikwe revival project kicks off

19th October 2020
industrial hub

Marcian Concepts have been contracted by Selibe Phikwe Economic Unit (SPEDU) in a P230 million project to raise the town from its ghost status.  The project is in the design and building phase of building an industrial hub for Phikwe; putting together an infrastructure in Bolelanoto and Senwelo industrial sites.

This project comes as a life-raft for Selibe Phikwe, a town which was turned into a ghost town when the area’s economic mainstay, BCL mine, closed four years ago.  In that catastrophe, 5000 people lost their livelihoods as the town’s life sunk into a gloomy horizon. Businesses were closed and some migrated to better places as industrial places and malls became almost empty.

However, SPEDU has now started plans to breathe life into the town. Information reaching this publication is that Marcian Concepts is now on the ground at Bolelanoto and Senwelo and works have commenced.  Marcian as a contractor already promises to hire Phikwe locals only, even subcontract only companies from the area as a way to empower the place’s economy.

The procurement method for the tender is Open Domestic bidding which means Joint Ventures with foreign companies is not allowed. According to Marcian Concepts General Manager, Andre Strydom, in an interview with this publication, the project will come with 150 to 200 jobs. The project is expected to take 15 months at a tune of P230 531 402. 76. Marcian will put together construction of roadworks, storm-water drains, water reticulation, street lighting and telecommunication infrastructure. This tender was flouted last year August, but was awarded in June this year. This project is seen as the beginning of Phikwe’s revival and investors will be targeted to the area after the town has worn the ghost city status for almost half a decade.

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IMF projects deeper recession for 2020, slow recovery for 2021

19th October 2020

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has slashed its outlook the world economy projecting a significantly deeper recession and slower recovery than it anticipated just two months ago.

On Wednesday when delivering its World Economic Outlook report titled “A long difficult Ascent” the Washington Based global lender said it now expects global gross domestic product to shrink 4.9% this year, more than the 3% predicted in April.  For 2021, IMF experts have projected growth of 5.4%, down from 5.8%. “We are projecting a somewhat less severe though still deep recession in 2020, relative to our June forecast,” said Gita Gopinath Economic Counsellor and Director of Research.

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Botswana partly closed economy a further blow of 4.2 fall in revenue

19th October 2020

The struggle of humanity is now how to dribble past the ‘Great Pandemic’ in order to salvage a lean economic score. Botswana is already working on dwindling fiscal accounts, budget deficit, threatened foreign reserves and the GDP data that is screaming recession.

Latest data by think tank and renowned rating agency, Moody’s Investor Service, is that Botswana’s fiscal status is on the red and it is mostly because of its mineral-dependency garment and tourism-related taxation. Botswana decided to close borders as one of the containment measures of Covid-19; trade and travellers have been locked out of the country. Moody’s also acknowledges that closing borders by countries like Botswana results in the collapse of tourism which will also indirectly weigh on revenue through lower import duties, VAT receipts and other taxes.

Latest economic data shows that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2020 with a decrease of 27 percent. One of the factors that led to contraction of the local economy is the suspension of air travel occasioned by COVID-19 containment measures impacted on the number of tourists entering through the country’s borders and hence affecting the output of the hotels and restaurants industry. This will also be weighed down by, according to Moody’s, emerging markets which will see government losing average revenue worth 2.1 percentage points (pps) of GDP in 2020, exceeding the 1.0 pps loss in advanced economies (AEs).

“Fiscal revenue in emerging markets is particularly vulnerable to this current crisis because of concentrated revenue structures and less sophisticated tax administrations than those in AEs. Oil exporters will see the largest falls but revenue volatility is a common feature of their credit profiles historically,” says Moody’s. The domino effects of containment measures could be seen cracking all sectors of the local economy as taxes from outside were locked out by the closure of borders hence dwindling tax revenue.

Moody’s has placed Botswana among oil importers, small, tourism-reliant economies which will see the largest fall in revenue. Botswana is in the top 10 of that pecking order where Moody’s pointed out recently that other resource-rich countries like Botswana (A2 negative) will also face a large drop in fiscal revenue.

This situation of countries’ revenue on the red is going to stay stubborn for a long run. Moody’s predicts that the spending pressures faced by governments across the globe are unlikely to ease in the short term, particularly because this crisis has emphasized the social role governments perform in areas like healthcare and labour markets.

For countries like Botswana, these spending pressures are generally exacerbated by a range of other factors like a higher interest burden, infrastructure deficiencies, weaker broader public sector, higher subsidies, lower incomes and more precarious employment. As a result, most of the burden for any fiscal consolidation is likely to fall on the revenue side, says Moody’s.

Moody’s then moves to the revenue spin of taxation. The rating agency looked at the likelihood and probability of sovereigns to raise up revenue by increasing tax to offset what was lost in mineral revenue and tourism-related tax revenue. Moody’s said the capacity to raise tax revenue distinguishes governments from other debt issuers.  “In theory, governments can change a given tax system as they wish, subject to the relevant legislative process and within the constraints of international law. In practice, however, there are material constraints,” says Moody’s.

‘‘The coronavirus crisis will lead to long-lasting revenue losses for emerging market sovereigns because their ability to implement and enforce effective revenue-raising measures in response will be an important credit driver over the next few years because of their sizeable spending pressures and the subdued recovery in the global economy we expect next year.’’

According to Moody’s, together with a rise in stimulus and healthcare spending related to the crisis, the think tank expects this drop in revenue will trigger a sizeable fiscal deterioration across emerging market sovereigns. Most countries, including Botswana, are under pressure of widening their tax bases, Moody’s says that this will be challenging. “Even if governments reversed or do not extend tax-easing measures implemented in 2020 to support the economy through the coronavirus shock, which would be politically challenging, this would only provide a modest boost to revenue, especially as these measures were relatively modest in most emerging markets,” says Moody’s.

Botswana has been seen internationally as a ‘tax ease’ country and its taxes are seen as lower when compared to its regional counterparts. This country’s name has also been mentioned in various international investigative journalism tax evasion reports. In recent years there was a division of opinions over whether this country can stretch its tax base. But like other sovereigns who have tried but struggled to increase or even maintain their tax intake before the crisis, Botswana will face additional challenges, according to Moody’s.

“Additional measures to reduce tax evasion and cutting tax expenditure should support the recovery in government revenue, albeit from low levels,” advised Moody’s. Botswana’s tax revenue to the percentage of the GDP was 27 percent in 2008, dropped to 23 percent in 2010 to 23 percent before rising to 27 percent again in 2012. In years 2013 and 2014 the percentage went to 25 percent before it took a slip to decline in respective years of 2015 up to now where it is at 19.8 percent.

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