Archive for the 'Botswana' Category
November 29th, 2012 by Tom Minney
New giants are arising in African investments – the domestic pension funds. In Nigeria the National Pensions Commission (PenCom) estimated registered pensions to be worth US$14bn in June 2011, with asset values up by 8% in three months; Namibia’s Government Institutions Pension Fund alone is worth some $6bn; South Africa’s pension funds grew at a compound annual growth rate of 14.3% in US dollar terms over 10 years to December 2010, including over 28% in 2010 and Tanzania’s pension industry was audited at $2.1bn for 2010, and growing by 25% a year.
The number of pensioners is set to soar, according to United Nations figures, as the number of people over 60 years in Africa will rise from 55m in 2010 to 213m by 2050, compared to 236m Europeans over 60 years old by 2050. Current pension funds cover only 5%-10% of Africans ranging from 3% in Niger but it used to be 80% in North African countries such as Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Pensions are not available at all in some countries.
Regulatory reforms are driving the growth of African pensions. Recent reformers include Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda. Ghana created a National Pensions Authority with a 2010 act. Reform in Kenya, including investment guidelines and a new regulator, resulted in strong growth and good investment returns. Tanzania passed the Social Security Regulatory Act in 2008. The rising pension industry is likely to boost fund management and equity industries, exits for private equity and even to fill some of the $45bn annual funding gap for infrastructure. For instance, In January 2012, Tanzania’s National Social Security Fund signed an agreement to finance 60% of the $137m cost of building Kigamboni Bridge. South Africa’s $130bn Government Employees Pension Fund is a major investor in the Pan-African Infrastructure Development Fund which raised $625m in 2007 and is targeting $1bn on its second offering.
For more details on Africa’s pension industry, please check my article published in The Africa Report magazine and website, here is the link www.theafricareport.com and for brief profiles of 6 giant African funds, check here.
September 7th, 2012 by Tom Minney
A large centre of the world’s diamond trade is moving to Botswana, the world’s top diamond producer. De Beers’ Diamond Trading Corporation (DTC) has successfully moved from London to Gaborone in August and De Beers estimates that some 32 million carats of diamonds worth US$6 billion – about 40% of world diamond sales – will be aggregated in Botswana each year. The “sights” by which De Beers sells packets of diamonds to selected buyers ten times a year, will also move to Gaborone from London.
The US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (www.opic.gov) has been trying to join the action, with a BWP1.8bn ($234m) deal to finance the 21 diamond manufacturing companies operating in Botswana, according to this report on Mmegi Online. OPIC is aiming to work with US diamond and jewellery company Lazare Kaplan Botswana. Finalization has slowed since relations between Standard Chartered bank and the US after allegations of money-laundering schemes worth $250m of Iranian funds. The deal was initially set up with ABN Amro bank, which established a Gaborone office as part of the first deal, but the stakeholders reportedly fell out.
The diamond trade switch will have a huge effect on the fast-growing Botswana economy and comes after tough negotiations between De Beers and the Botswana Government. Production from all of De Beers mines across Namibia, Botswana, Canada and South Africa will be sent to Gaborone and mixed and sorted into various categories before the “sightboxes” are sent to London for distribution to 66 London and two Canadian sightholders. Boxes will go to Johannesburg for 10 South African sightholders and to Windhoek for 13 DTC Namibia sightholders.
The first of 85 diamond sorters, who mix the sightboxes, have already gone to Gaborone. De Beers said the move of the aggregation operation, after nearly 80 years in London, was two months ahead of schedule, although three years since the initial deadline passed after tough and prolonged negotiations with the Government of Botswana before a 10-year supply agreement was agreed in 2011.
By the end of 2013, the 10 “London sights” a year will move to Gaborone and sightholders will travel. De Beers says US$22m will be invested to get DTCB Building ready for the first sight. Banks which lend to sightholders, such as ABN Amro, Bank of India and another Indian bank, are setting up and Stanchart is expanding its diamond financing division. A division of jeweller Tiffany & Co. already has cutting and polishing operations in Gaborone.
The Botswana Government has set up Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) and this will also start selling diamonds in 2013, with the right to buy 12% allocated supply from Debswana in 2013, rising to 15% by 2016. Debswana produced 22.9m carats in 2011, so ODC would get 2.7m – 3.4m carats (US$300m – US$583m a year) to sell, rising as Debswana production climbs. It is be first time full revenue on some Debswana production will be channelled entirely to the Botswana Government and not shared with De Beers. Industry expert Martin Rapaport says ODC will be among the world’s top 6 or 7 diamond suppliers and will be able to brand “Botswana diamonds”, attracting a stream of tourists and buyers. It recently appointed diamond veteran Tony Frears as Managing Director. The sales will also provide the Government with market intelligence. ODC may eventually start trading polished diamonds. Firestone Diamonds and Lucara Diamonds have also sold rough diamonds.
OPIC’s financing is to help diamond-manufacturing companies in Botswana to finance purchase of rough for processing and help a financial sector support development of the cutting and polishing sector. According to Mmegi, there are 21 Botswana sightholders and the amount allocated will rise from the current $550m to $800m.
Philippe Mellier, De Beers chief executive, said: “As De Beers shifts more and more of its sales operations to Botswana over the next year, we will solidify the long-term future of the partnership and work to transform Botswana into one of the world’s leading diamond trading and manufacturing hubs.” He added that it should not affect South Africa and Namibia’s activities “There is no risk. In fact, we believe there will be an overflow effect on South Africa’s industry and in Namibia as well.”
September 4th, 2012 by Tom Minney
Months of hard work came to a climax when the Botswana Stock Exchange successfully launched its automated trading system (ATS) and now has live trading. This replaces the open outcry trading system and the aim is to make the BSE more visible and trading more efficient. The exchange has been using a central securities depository (CSD) since 2008 and this was upgraded alongside the implementation of the ATS.
The ATS was installed by MillenniumIT, part of the London Stock Exchange Group, after a BWP8.8 million ($1.1m) contract. MillenniumIT also installed the CSD.
The new system was implemented on Friday 24 August. The day before, Thursday 23 August, was a trading holiday, while Friday was a settlement holiday with trades settling instead on 27 August. These holidays were meant to enable the BSE to transition from the old CSD system to the upgraded version.
There is still a key target to encourage more shareholders to dematerialize their paper certificates and register them in the CSD for ease of trading. According to the BSE Annual Report, 46% of all domestic company shares and 91% of foreign company shares were dematerialized by December 2011, and so was the first corporate bond. In the annual report Chairman Patrick O’Flaherty notes “Along with the implementation of the ATS, our CSD (Central Securities Depositories) system is also being upgraded. This will ensure that the trading, clearing and settlement infrastructure of the BSE remains state of the art”.
In 2011 the BSE recorded average daily turnover of BWP4.1m. The volume of shares traded in 2011 was 458.7m, up from 308.7m in 2010. Letshego Holdings did a ten-for-one share split in 2010 and Furnmart and G4s followed suit in 2011.
INTERVIEW WITH HIRAN MENDIS, CEO OF BOTSWANA STOCK EXCHANGE
ACMN: What has the market participants’ reactions to the ATS?
HM: The response has been very positive. Automated trading is a completely new development in our market, but all market participants, particularly the brokers, have embraced the development and have basically hit the ground running. The amount of enthusiasm in the market is very humbling for the BSE.
ACMN: Were there any problems in the implementation?
HM: Apart from the normal day-to-day challenges that form part of any project, there were no major challenges. As the BSE, we had to work extra hard throughout the lifetime of the project to bring all stakeholders together and make sure that everyone is on the same page; that everyone understands and embraces the primary objective of bringing our market to par with other regional and international giants. Overall, it has been an extremely demanding but very rewarding experience for all stakeholders.
ACMN: Have you seen an increase in trading volumes?
HM: It’s still too early to say. In the first 2 days, it was quiet; probably because the traders were being cautious with the new trading platform. But turnover has since jumped back to previous levels.
ACMN: Are brokers now connecting from their offices (wide area network)?
HM: The brokers have been connecting from their offices since 2008 and this setup is still being used, even with the ATS. The networks have so far been very cooperative as we have not had any outages. The links that we have been using for WAN connectivity since 2008 have been very stable. On average, we have experienced less than 10 hours of downtime per year since 2008. About half of this downtime happened outside of trading hours.
ACMN: Can you give some technical details about the ATS and the CSD and their integration?
HM: The ATS is a trading platform, primarily responsible for accepting client orders, as input by brokers, and matching those orders on set criteria to produce trades. CSD system acts as a back-end for the ATS, handling the registry function for the ATS, together with clearing and settlement of all trades that happen at the ATS. For a client to be able to trade through the ATS, then they need to open a CSD account first. Communication between the systems is on a real-time basis and as clients buy/sell shares, their CSD account balances are updated in real time. The ATS is able to trade equity, debt, ETFs (exchange-traded funds), and GDRs (global depository receipts). Instruments that are currently actively trading through the ATS/CSD are equities and ETFs. Plans to include bonds are underway and CFDs will follow in due course. Trading currently happens from 10:30 to 13:30. The first trading session is an opening auction, followed by regular trading, then an interim auction session, then another regular trading session, which is followed by a closing auction session, and finally a closing price cross session.
ACMN: What future steps are planned – such as increased data flows, remote membership of BSE and direct market access?
HM: At this point we are more concerned with ensuring that that system continues to function according to expectations. Once the dust has settled and all stakeholders are comfortable with the system then the BSE will begin exploring availing market data in real-time to data vendors etc. After that, as a second phase of the automation drive, we will explore the possibility of Internet trading. As the BSE, we understand and appreciate that a wide spectrum of developments are now possible with an automated market. Funds and time permitting, we will build services around the CSD/ATS systems in order to turn our market into a true global player.
July 6th, 2012 by Tom Minney
The 10 stock exchanges of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are working together to increase the effectiveness of their markets. The Committee of SADC Stock Exchanges (CoSSE) has agreed to concentrate on 6 priority areas in support of regional moves to more efficient capital markets.
The stock exchanges will explore ways to use technology to link their trading and order systems and work together to ensure clearing and settlement systems align with global standards adopted in April. They are working closely with SADC institutions to support development of regional systems, including payment and will boost visibility of trading data and enhance their joint website (www.cossesadc.org), launched in April by the JSE and I-Net Bridge. The bourses will also pool resources to accelerate training and skills development for capital markets staff.
CoSSE members are Botswana Stock Exchange, Malawi Stock Exchange, Stock Exchange of Mauritius, Bolsa de Valores de Moçambique, Namibian Stock Exchange, South Africa’s JSE Ltd, Swaziland Stock Exchange, Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange of Tanzania, Zambia’s Lusaka Stock Exchange, and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. They met on 25 June in Gaborone, Botswana in a meeting convened by CoSSE with support from SADC Secretariat.
“Stock exchanges have their roles cut out in each of our economies to augment our governments’ efforts to grow national economies for the greater good and as part of the SADC region’s struggle for growth to escape poverty,” says Mrs Beatrice Nkanza, Chairperson of CoSSE and CEO of the Lusaka Stock Exchange. “They are the channel for long-term risk capital, which is urgently needed for the region’s businesses, infrastructure providers and even governments. They also encourage saving and investment. CoSSE members are working closely together to support SADC initiatives and to make individual markets even more effective”.
CoSSE was set up in 1997 as a collective body of the stock exchanges in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). It promotes co-operation and collaboration between member stock exchanges and is resourced by a Secretariat, supported by the JSE. SADC defines CoSSE’s role in the Finance and Investment Protocol and other policy documents and CoSSE has links to ministerial and senior treasury bodies and also works closely with the Committee of Insurance, Securities and Non-Banking Financial Authorities (CISNA) and the Committee of Central Bank Governors (CCBG).
CoSSE had set up three working committees to implement six business plans, prioritized from the initiatives identified in its Strategic Plan 2011-2016. These are:
1. Legal and Secretariat working committee – chaired by Geoff Rothschild of the JSE. This is responsible for formalizing and resourcing the Secretariat, and for continuing and improving liaison with CISNA and other SADC organs.
2. Market Development working committee – chaired by Vipin Mahabirsingh of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius. CoSSE has been developing models for inter-connectivity between automated trading systems at some or all member exchanges. The working committee will help member exchanges ensure their clearing and settlement systems comply with new global standards and support regional initiatives.
3. Capacity-Building and Visibility working committee – chaired by Anabela Chambuca Pinho of the Bolsa de Valores de Moçambique. This will liaise with member exchanges, regulators, stockbrokers, investors and others to develop and coordinate training courses. It will also enhance the new CoSSE website, help members to upgrade their own websites and to ensure their trading data and company news are disseminated internationally.
Progress will be guided by an Executive Committee, consisting of CoSSE Chairperson Mrs Nkanza, CoSSE Vice-Chairperson Gabriel Kitua (CEO of the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange in Tanzania) and the three working committee chairpersons. The strategic plan was developed with assistance from FinMark Trust.
For more information contact
• Beatrice Nkanza, CEO Lusaka Stock Exchange, tel +260 (1) 228391 or email nkanzab [at] luse.co.zm
• Gabriel Kitua, CEO Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange, tel +255 22 2135779 or email gabriel.kitua [at] dse.co.tz.
• Pearl Moatshe of CoSSE Secretariat, tel +27 11 5207118 or email pearlm [at] jse.co.za
May 29th, 2012 by Tom Minney
The dual-listing of Hana Mining Ltd last week on the Foreign Venture Capital Board of the Botswana Stock Exchange (www.bse.co.bw) could bring a giant new cross-Africa railway closer. Hana is also listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange venture board and the Frankfurt exchange. It plans a copper-silver mine near Ghanzi.
The company’s shares started trading on the BSE on 23 May, according to an announcement. On 14 May the company released its most recent (NI 43-101 compliant) preliminary economic assessment which calls for US$285.5 million initial capital expenditure to create a 10,000 tonne per day open-pit mining and milling operation. This is expected to produce approximately 66.4m pounds of copper and 878,000 ounces of silver annually over a minimum 13-year mine life. It says the Ghanzi property is one of Africa’s premier future copper-silver resources.
Hana Mining’s CEO and Chairman, Marek Kreczmer, was quoted as saying: “The listing of the company’s shares on the BSE is an important step in enhancing the relationship of the Company with the government of Botswana in that it allows the people of Botswana to invest directly in the company and gives the company access to some of the largest investment funds in Africa. Also, by establishing a listing in Botswana, we are aligning the goals of the Company with the people of Botswana.”
The Ghanzi Project covers 2,149 square kilometres in the centre of the Kalahari Copper Belt in northwestern Botswana. Favourable geology extends over an estimated strike length of 600 kilometres. The closest existing railhead to port is at Gobabis, in Namibia, approximately 550 km away. A feasibility study has been carried out with funding from the World Bank and the governments of Botswana and Namibia on completion of a rail link to connect Botswana with the Namibian port of Walvis Bay, on the Atlantic coast. More mining projects will make the railway more likely.
Construction is well advanced on a 600MW expansion of the government-owned Moropule Power Plant, which secured US$825m project funding in May 2009. The Trans-Kalahari highway passes within 15 km of the Ghanzi property, which is also near local population centres and workforce.
March 14th, 2011 by Tom Minney
LIVE FROM SECURITIES AFRICA CONFERENCE (BNY Mellon, London)
African exchanges could grow dramatically in both market capitalization and turnover, following the explosive trends already charted by the Indian and Chinese markets. This was the view of Sunil Benimadhu, President of the African Stock Exchanges Association (ASEA – www.africansea.org), speaking at an African investment conference organized by stockbroker Securities Africa (www.securitiesafrica.com) in London today (14 March).
According to his projections, by 2020 leading African exchanges including Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Botswana and Mauritius could see giant growth. He says that based on an assumption of economic growth (GDP) of 5% a year and if African markets continue to follow trends seen elsewhere in terms of their share their economies (GDP) then both turnover (the value of shares traded) and market capitalization (the value of the shares listed on the exchange for trading) could increase many times during the coming decade. Already in the last 10 years Kenya has seen its market capitalization grow 12x, while the market capitalization of the Mauritian market has risen from 30% to 80% of GDP even as the economy has also grown by 5% a year. This has also been seen in other markets, for instance in China where turnover has risen 5x to $2.7 trillion and India where turnover is up from $148 bn to $1.6 trn. African markets could achieve similar growth in the coming years.
Sunil dubs his continent “the final growth frontier of the world” and says it is attracting a lot of interest, despite a slowdown this year due to political upheaval in Tunisia, Egypt and Cote d’Ivoire. As global economic power shifts to China and India, demand for commodities will continue to soar in order to support their growth, and this will continue to boost African economies. In addition, many countries have successfully introduced structural adjustment programmes. There has been huge growth in many African countries and a new and numerous middle class is emerging, likely to push consumption at 10% a year for coming years.
Investors deterred by “anaemic” growth in developed markets are turning to Africa. Despite the prospects, African markets are currently trading at less than 11x trailing Price-Earnings ratio (a measure of valuing a share price compared to last year’s net profits), compared to a trailing PE ratio of 16x in developed markets. This is despite developed markets only growing by 0%-0.5% a year, compared with African growth forecast at least at 5% in most major markets, and more in many countries. Despite delivering double-digit returns and providing some of the world’s top performing markets, even after factoring in risk perceptions “African markets are much cheaper”, says Sunil.
Challenges for macro-economic policy-makers include more improvements in the business climate including further opening of markets, inclusive growth that spreads the benefits to a middle class who will in turn spur consumption and bring large numbers of the population into the forefront of the growth story. He also said the continent needs good, democratic governance, as indicated in North African countries which had been deemed to be success stories until governance problems came to the fore. There also needs to be substantial investment in infrastructure, including roads, railways and airports to link African markets. However, Afridan capital markets could supply the investment funds for this, provided policy-makers understand and actively support the development of security exchanges.
Exchanges also have to play their part. He says they should focus on “the 4Ps: products, players, participants and partnerships”. The markets need new products, they need new players including dramatic increases in the proportion of the local population who trade on capital markets and activity levels by international investors. Top companies – for instance oil companies in Nigeria – may not even be listed and there is plenty of potential to put leading companies onto the radar screen of the international investors. African stock exchanges also need to seek new partnerships with each other. Links between markets in East and Southern Africa are advancing.
How the African Stock Exchanges Association (ASEA) aims to shape the future of African capital markets:
1. Emerge as the organization of reference and choice for investors to obtain first-hand information on African stock markets, increase the visibility of the African markets
2. Revamp the website to give up-to-date information to investors who want to understand the performance of African markets and to become a major source of real-time information, including the changes exchanges are going through.
3. ASEA will work a major index provider to come up with an investigate African index that will be jointly owned and should serve 2 key functions: as a benchmark for investors and to be used as reference for the creation of an African Exchange-Traded Fund. It will track ASEA’s 22 member exchanges, although have not yet decided the weighting of the JSE.
4. ASEA should become mouthpiece of African exchanges with African governments and regional organizations as well as the African Union, the African Development Bank and the World Bank.
November 22nd, 2010 by Tom Minney
Gold miner IAMGOLD Corporation (www.iamgold.com) was awarded for Corporate Social Responsibility at a dinner after a corporate social responsibility conference (www.ccsrconference.com) on 16 November in Canada. The conference is hosted by Algonquin College in Ottawa, with support from other Ontario academic institutions: Carleton University, La Cite Collegiale, the University of Ottawa and the University of Waterloo as well as Red River College in Manitoba.
According to a company press release: “The Conference singled out IAMGOLD as the winner of this award for its Zero Harm vision of maintaining the highest standards in human health, minimizing impact on the environment, and working co-operatively with host communities. IAMGOLD was recognized for having established over 28 community and NGO partnerships companywide, in Suriname, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Canada and French Guiana.
Algonquin College (www.algonquincollege.com) describes the conference in a press release as Canada’s largest Corporate and Community Social Responsibility Conference (CCSR). Its theme was “Achieving Social Innovation through Corporate and Community Collaboration.”
According to IAMGOLD “The award presentation highlighted the Company’s continuing commitment to social stewardship that has yielded sustainable projects centred on infrastructure, capacity building, education, health and livelihood improvement. Examples include: water supply projects, market garden development, new and improved schools and medical facilities, support for youth programs, capacity building, and improving agriculture techniques.”
IAMGOLD is listed on the Toronto, New York and Botswana Stock Exchanges. It describes itself as “a leading mid-tier gold mining company producing approximately one million ounces annually from 8 gold mines on 3 continents. IAMGOLD is uniquely positioned with a strong financial position and extensive management and operational expertise.
“To grow from this strong base, IAMGOLD has a pipeline of development and exploration projects and continues to assess accretive acquisition opportunities. IAMGOLD’s growth plans are strategically focused in West Africa, select countries in South America and in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, where it also operates a niobium mine.
IAMGOLD President and CEO, Steve Letwin said: “IAMGOLD’s rapid rise to become a mid-tier gold producer has been coupled with an aggressive strategy in achieving exceptional health, safety and sustainability performance. With management’s full commitment to the vision of Zero Harm, success is not solely measured by financial success; management believes that production, financial strength, growth, shareholder return, reputation and health, safety and corporate social responsibility carry equal importance.”
March 10th, 2010 by Tom Minney
The Government of Botswana has ended its P5 billion (US$722 million) bond issuance programme with an oversubscribed auction by the Bank of Botswana (www.bankofbotswana.bw) last Friday, 5 March, according to a report in Mmegi newspaper (www.mmegi.bw). The fundraising programme started in 2008 and raises funds for Government investment in large development projects under the National Develolpment Plan (NDP 10).
The central bank auctions Government bonds and treasury bills every six months, in March and September, and the auctions are open to members of the public.
The auction was the first time to launch a new, longer-dated 15-year-bond, providing the much needed benchmark for long-term borrowings. This was reportedly under allotted, with only P195 million of the P700 million on offer being allotted, despite total bids received being P 824 million. This may indicate that the market was demanding a heavier yield than Government was willing to pay.
According to the news report, there was overall oversubscription. The 6-month treasury bill fully allotted at P800 million and oversubscribed by P400 million. The 2-year bond was fully allotted at P200 million against P301 million of total bids received, the 51/2 years was slightly under-allotted, with P192 million of the intended BWP200 million being allotted.
The paper quotes Olebile Makhupe, Head of Global Markets at Standard Chartered Bank: “We have recently observed a shift in the Botswana yield curve with long-term yields picking up, reflecting expectation of higher rates in the future. In addition, long-dated asset yields have in the past reflected excessive demand rather than appropriate pricing for risk or where investors expect rates to be in the future”, she said.
Makhupe added that this trend seems to be changing, as availability of long dated assets has improved in the past few years.
“However, more work can still be done to create a platform for investors to liquidate their bond holdings when they need cash, rather than having to wait for the investment to mature, allowing for what is called secondary market trading,” she said.
According to today’s market report of the Botswana Stock Exchange (www.bse.co.bw), 10 Government bonds and 22 corporate bonds are listed, but trading does not seem very active.
March 7th, 2010 by Tom Minney
Conservation tourism pioneer Wilderness Safaris (www.wilderness-group.com) is aiming to get a primary listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange (www.bse.co.bw) and a simultaneous secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s Africa Board (http://www.jse.co.za/Markets/Africa-Board) on 8 April. The share offer in Botswana and South Africa closes on 26 March. If successful, it will be the Africa Board’s second listing.
The company opened its offer on 26 February. According to Botswana’s Sunday Standard newspaper, the public offer is for 3 million ordinary shares at P4 ($0.5765 in today’s rate on www.xe.com) in Botswana and R4.56 ($0.6167) in South Africa and is fully underwritten. It closes on 26 March. Before the public offer, the company placed 56.3 million ordinary shares by way of a private placement, also at a price of P4 per share, says the newspaper.
According to an announcement on the company website it is “a strategically significant step in its evolution, designed to enable it to take full advantage of growth opportunities, to give the public an opportunity to participate in its future success, to develop a broader shareholder base and to simplify corporate structure.” Wilderness aims to use its tourism model to the fullest in contributing to conservation in Africa.
Growth in this manner is designed to allow the company to fulfil its objective of using its tourism model to the fullest extent possible in contributing to conservation in Africa.
Andy Payne, the CEO of Wilderness Holdings, says: “We believe that our unique positioning, iconic international brand and management’s long track record of financial and operational delivery present investors with an attractive growth and performance platform.”
Wilderness Safaris’ core philosophy is one of building sustainable conservation economies through responsible tourism, which shares the benefits of tourism with local communities and ensures that pristine wilderness areas are protected profitably.
The 26-year-old business is invested in 7 southern African countries and operates specialist travel businesses in 6 countries and 49 aircraft. It employs more than 2,700 people, most of whom come from remote rural communities.
The Chief Executive Officer, Andy Payne was reported in Sunday Standard as saying the company’s strategic objective was to double the number of owned Wilderness bed-nights by 2015, as well as to double the area under its influence by expanding into regions that complement its biodiversity and experience. It owns 53 destinations comprising of 930 beds and further manages 17 destinations with 280 beds.
The website says that Wilderness is “run by a group of likeminded wildlife enthusiasts who came together to build a successful safari business, delivering a unique experience for guests, fair returns for shareholders and stakeholders, while ensuring that southern Africa’s pristine wilderness areas remain sustainably protected.”
Thanks also to www.southafrica.info.
March 5th, 2010 by Tom Minney
Imara Holdings Ltd (www.imaraholdings.com), an investment banking and asset management group with operations in 10 countries mostly in southern Africa, aims to expand in Zimbabwe, according to Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper. It is currently listed on the Venture Capital Market board of the Botswana Stock Exchange (www.bse.co.bw) and the Herald reports that it wants to buy the rest of the shares in Zimbabwe’s Imara Capital Zimbabwe (Pvt.) Ltd (www.imaracapital.com), which it owns 32%, and also to dual list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (www.zse.co.zw).
The report says that Imara Holdings has proposed a share deal in which local shareholders and the management will get a shareholding in the parent in return for their shares in the local company. The dual-listing on the bigger exchange could make the shares more liquid and the dollar-based ZSE is attractive to international investors. Imara management reportedly refused to comment, possibly while the transaction is under approval by authorities.
Imara Holdings website does not mention the transaction, although it has been publishing cautionary announcements since 31 July 2009. It describes the group as “medium sized”. It has offices in Botswana, Malawi, South Africa and the UK, and associate offices in Malawi and Zimbabwe as well as working relationships with Stockbrokers Zambia, Namibia Equity Brokers and Mac Capital in Dubai.
According to the Holdings website: “We are independent and privately owned, enabling objective decision-making in the service of our clients. We are active participants in the region’s financial markets and maintain one of the largest research coverage of regional equities. Funds under management exceed US$ 135m and funds under administration exceed US$750m.”
Imara group services fall into three primary operating areas:
• Corporate Finance & Advisory Services
• Institutional and Private Client Asset Management
• Securities Trading
Imara Capital is one of the associates listed in Zimbabwe, others being listed on the website as Imara Edwards Securities (Pvt) Ltd, Imara Asset Management Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd and Imara Corporate Finance Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd. The Herald report says these are wholly owned by Imara Capital.
On 8 January Imara signed a licence agreement to become the 7th member of Global Alliance Partners (www.globalalliancepartners.com), of which Mac Capital Dubai is already a member. Bernard Pouliot, chairman of GAP and of the Quam Group based in Hong Kong, said Imara joins the alliance at a very opportune time when Chinese interest in Africa is growing: “Imara is good for the alliance and for China. Alongside other members of GAP, we are committed to hit the ground running when an umbrella investment scheme by African countries is developed and eventually implemented.”
The other GAP members are Quam Financial Services Group for Hong Kong and China, Capital Partners Securities for Japan, KT ZMICO for Thailand, Thanh Cong Securities Company for Vietnam, and Westminster of Hudson Securities in USA.
In December, Imara Holdings announced it had recently acquired a majority equity stake in the Botswana stockbroking company Capital Securities (Pty) Ltd., one of 4 licensed stockbrokers on the Botswana Stock Exchange, established in March 1999.
“Shareholders are advised that negotiations relating to a further regional acquisition, which was announced in a Cautionary Announcement published on 31 July 2009 and in subsequent renewal announcements, are still ongoing. Shareholders are therefore urged to continue to exercise caution in their dealings in Imara securities,” says the Botswana announcement published in December.