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BTC’s first ever virtual AGM testament to the Telco’s Dynamic Capabilities

BTC MD: ANTHONY MASUNGA

GABORONE-BTC’s dynamic infrastructure was recently put to the test when the Company held its first ever virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) drawing participation from its broad base of shareholders from across the vast geographical reach and directors from outside the country.

The telco-giant leveraged its vast reliable network to seamlessly deliver its first ever virtual AGM ensuring that the two-hour long meeting was without glitches and delivering a superior experience.

“We successfully held out first ever virtual AGM this year. Given the restrictions on gatherings and travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as implemented by the Government of Botswana which restrictions are anticipated to prevail in the immediate future and during the rest of the year 2020, this year’s AGM was held virtually through electronic communication where all shareholders participating in the meeting were able to simultaneously hear each other throughout the meeting. It was critical for us to protect lives whilst still providing vital feedback and updates to our valued shareholders,” says Anthony Masunga, the BTC Managing Director.

Celebrating 40 years of progress this year, BTC has the largest shareholder base in the country following its listing in the Botswana Stock Exchange in 2016, which was a watershed moment in economic inclusion.

Independent experts have commended BTC’s infrastructure and its international strategic partnerships as a national strategic asset which can be the base point of national digitilisation. The Corporation recently joined the Microsoft Partner Network as a registered value-added reseller, launching a wide range of services that enable customers to unlock immense value whilst driving the National economy. To showcase this capability, BTC hosted a virtual AGM and successfully demonstrated its capability to deliver a seamless digital event.

BTC now sells and supports some household brand name solutions such as Microsoft Office 365, including Microsoft Teams utilised by businesses across the economic spectrum. Also, by leveraging the Microsoft public cloud platform, Microsoft Azure, BTC is able to bring hyperscale cloud computing power to Botswana. The home-bred Telco continues to innovate and reaffirm its position as a pioneer in the local technology space.

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Corporate

JSE lifts Choppies trading suspension

16th November 2020
Ramachandaran

The founding directors of Botswana and JSE-listed retailer, Choppies Enterprises Limited (“Choppies” or “the Company” or “the Group”) backed the Group’s turn-around strategy to the tune of just over P11,000,000.00 million recently.

Messrs. Ramachandran Ottapathu and Ismail Farouk acquired 18 597 724 shares on the open market at an average price of approximately 63 thebe per share on the Botswana Stock Exchange in a slew of transactions at the end of October.

“As a management team, we faced numerous challenges during the past number of years. The retail environment continues to experience headwinds, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. As a significant shareholder and director, I am confident that the worst is behind Choppies and that we’re close to the bottom of the cycle. “Our investment strongly aligns us with shareholders as we now focus on further improving corporate governance and growing profitability,” comments Chief Executive Officer Ramachandran Ottapathu.

The founding directors are currently involved in litigation against the Company’s former auditor and audit partner for delaying the publication of the Company’s audited results following breaches of independence and unlawful changes to the scope of the audit. This resulted in the suspension of trade in the Company’s shares on both the Botswana Stock Exchange (“BSE”) where it holds a primary listing as well as on the JSE Limited (“JSE”).

The JSE lifted the suspension of trade in the Company’s shares, following a similar decision by the BSE in July this year. Botswana based Kwabena Antwi from Kgori Capital says that shareholders will take courage from the fact that the Group is now current on its financial statements, following the BSE’s lifting of the trading suspension.

“Shareholder confidence is usually linked with shareholders returns. Getting Choppies back to an overall profitable position, where they are capable of paying dividends will go a long way in shoring up shareholder confidence. The next phase will focus on implementing governance structures throughout the Group. Some progress has been made, but there is still more to be rolled out,” he says.

At the presentation of the audited financial results for the year ended 30 June 2020, the Company said it has discontinued or disposed of its lossmaking operations in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique. This resulted in a once-off loss of approximately P371 million from discontinued operations and an increase in negative equity to P467 million for the financial year ended 30 June 2020.

“The board of Choppies considered the 2021 budgets, detailed cash flow forecasts that were stress tested, as prepared by management, banking facilities and covenants, undertakings of financial support by the founder shareholders, the economic outlook of the countries in which it operates as well as the possible future impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Based on the evidence provided by management, the Board concluded that the Group has already taken the necessary steps to remedy the past situation by discontinuing loss making operations the Company and the Group should be a going concern for the foreseeable future.

“As founder shareholders we remain committed to the turn-around strategy of Choppies, and confident of growing profitability in the short to medium term,” says Ottapathu.

The turnaround at Choppies follows implantation of turnaround strategy to improve corporate governance and exit of underperforming operations in South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania

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Corporate

Mokgethi impressed by Limkokwing during campus visit

10th November 2020
Hon Mokgethi interacts with students from the Special Needs Unit

The Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Honorable Anna Mokgethi paid an official campus visit to Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, on Thursday 29th October where she stated how she was impressed by the prowess that the university carries when it comes to creativity, innovation and technology as well as issues of gender based violence.

The purpose of the visit was for the minister appreciate what the University stands for, engage with staff and students and establish collaborations which will be beneficial to all within the university and the community which is within her constitution in her capacity as Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington North.

She also took time to discuss issues of compliance challenges as well as general welfare following the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minister’s campus visit started off with a tour of the University’s corporate walkthrough, followed by a tour of the students work exhibition.

She also had an opportunity to tour the University’s ecosystem including the University’s e-library, which is the biggest in the country, specialized digital, animation and architecture labs as well as the University’s Campus Radio where he was interviews live by students.

A visit to one of the lecture rooms saw Hon. Mokgethi walking into a Gender Based Violence Campaign Presentation by students much to her delight as a champion of the fight against GBV. She stated, “. Let me just say that I was gratified to witness an ongoing discussion on Gender based Violence during my campus tour.

As you all know GBV is very prevalent in our society, and I really want to commend you as a university for having seen it fit to play your role as institution of higher learning by incorporating the topic in your curriculum which I believe will have positive results in behavioral change of the community.

I was also impressed by the fact that we do not only have females involved, but we also have males involved. With our strategies, of involving men as part of finding the solution I am confident that we will win this fight and end GBV in our country. And I am extremely proud of what I saw and I am inspired.

The university prepared an official programme, where the student community representatives inclusive of students with special needs had an opportunity to share their experiences about the University with the Minister.

Speaking on behalf of students from 31 international countries currently enrolled in Limkokwing Botswana, Pearl Dikana from South Africa highlighted the university has proved to be a very hospitable home away from home for many of them, that has given them a chance to acquire skills that will help them contribute to their countries economies as Limkokwing is a respectable Global Brand present in 3 continents.

Limkokwing University mission states that the institution is committed to training industry relevant and ready graduates who can migrate seamlessly into the industry of choice. The University has coined the word INDUSITY, combining the words Industry and University to describe this innovative approach to education.

Through collaboration the University is able to work with the industry in unparalled ways in products or service innovation. The ability to respond professionally has attracted industry to collaborate on special projects to obtain fresh new angles to various economic issues.

This collaboration with industry has also been extended to government with the intention to build national competitiveness and the country’s global reputation through innovative design and effective branding. Students are given the opportunity to work on projects commissioned by the industry.

The collaboration between the university and the industry enables Limkokwing students to participate in projects working with industry professionals to output work that is used by industry to promote their projects and services.

Limkokwing University continues to attract active, vibrant and smart generation who are industry and future ready and are trained to think beyond employability upon graduation.

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Corporate

IDM and Choppies sign a Memorandum of Understanding

6th November 2020
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