Archive for the 'Botswana' Category

Giant growth foreseen for African stock exchanges over 10 years

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.

Gold miner’s zero harm policy wins CSR award

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.”

Botswana finished $722 mln bonds issuance

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.

Wilderness Safaris public offer aims for BSE and JSE Africa Board

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.

Imara Holdings on expansion path

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.

New SE indices in Botswana

The Botswana Stock Exchange has increased the number of indices from 5 to 8 with effect from 1 January. The new indices include the Domestic Companies Free Float Index (DCFFI – all domestic companies), the Local Assets Status Free Float Index (LASFFI – all companies with domestic asset status) and the Domestic Financial Service Free Float Index (DFSFFI). An announcement on the BSE website (www.bse.co.bw) says the base period for each index dates back to 1 January 2006 and the base value was 1,000.

Botswana to upgrade rules for asset managers and advisers

Botswana’s Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) is talking to the World Bank on technical help to update laws and develop rules. The authority aims to upgrade the Collective Investment Undertaking Act and to develop new regulations for asset managers, custodians and investment advisors.
The Botswana Stock Exchange (www.bse.co.bw) is primary supervisor for securities dealers and listed companies and in turn operates under NBFIRA supervision. general direction of NBFIRA. The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning is currently drafting a new Securities Bill and this satisfy NBFIRA which wants to update the BSE Act, according to a local media report.
NBFIRA’s 2009 annual report is reported as saying that it received all required reports from BSE and that the exchange did site visits to all securities dealers and held a disciplinary hearing against a securities dealer who did not submit audited financial statements on time and for irregularities in the statements.
The authority reports that lack of personnel has hampered capital markets supervision.

Gold Exchange-Traded Fund targets Botswana SE

Absa Capital of South Africa says it is getting closer to a secondary listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) of an Exchange Traded Fund. The NewGold Gold Bullion Debentures (NewGold) is the world’s third largest gold ETF and the largest on the South African Stock Exchange (JSE Ltd).

The listing could come by December, but first regulatory approval and finding a local partner is required, according to a report in Mmegi newspaper. Absa Capital is keen for the fund to classified as a local asset in terms of investment requirements, and they are discussing with asset managers and others to support it.

Absa Capital Associate Principal Dr Vladimir Nedeljkovic reportedly told a media presentation at the BSE that NewGold offers institutional and retail investors a new asset class and a chance to invest in gold in a cost-effective, secure and efficient way. The ETF was apparently developed in association with the World Gold Council. NewGold Gold Bullion Debentures are securities backed by the physical gold-bullion. Each NewGold Debenture is initially valued at 1/100 of one fine troy ounce of gold.

According to the report, the BSE suffers low liquidity and instruments such as this could help attract more trading and capital. Local fund managers reportedly invest up to 70% of their funds under management outside Botswana, partly due to lack of opportunities.