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KFC acquisition above board, says Dixon-Warren

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Local companies have raised concerns over the liquidated KFC franchise in Botswana, which has been acquired by South African company, Baobab Khulisani. In November last year, Bradlymore, a joint venture company between Vivo Energy and Baobab Khulisani South Africa, acquired KFC Botswana from the liquidator, Nigel Dixon-Warren.

Vivo Energy through its network of Shell-branded retail service stations in Botswana is a marketer of various oil products including retail fuels, commercial fuels and lubricants. On the other hand, Baobab Khulisani, a South African KFC franchisee operates 11 stores in South Africa. Speaking during the public hearing at Competition Authority on Friday, one of the local bidders, Sefalana Group Managing Director, Chandra Chauhan questioned how the liquidator chose the other company over them and how it was also given an opportunity to increase its bid but the local companies were not.

The liquidator, Nigel Dixon-Warren said there were no reservations for citizen companies and the deal was subject to the Fraanchiser’s interest on which bid should be approved. He said his judgement was not compromised because he has satisfied all the requirements as per the liquidation process and laws in Botswana. “We cannot share the price of the preferred bidder because it is confidential information.

In this liquidation process we have checked with Ministry of Investment and Trade if there are specific reservations for citizen companies for these franchise but we couldn’t find any so the bid was open to international companies and we had 65 respondents. The process was completely fair,” said Dixon-Warren. Chief Executive of Competition Authority, Tebelelo Pule said they are still assessing the acquisition and will make the final decision in due time. “Normal assessment would be ongoing so this public hearing would not affect the final decision.

“This hearing is intended to allow the parties to the transaction to make verbal representations to the Authority with respect to the transaction as well as allow their competitors and the general public to express their views on the acquisition,” said Pule. The KFC Botswana portfolio, which consists of 12 restaurants and two new stores, are yet to open this year, in Pilane Mall and Mowana Mall. The business was placed under liquidation in June last year after the company failed to service its debts and creditors.

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BSE complies with reporting guidelines

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Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) has become the 5th bourse in Africa to comply and publish Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting guidelines.

The development comes a year after BSEL became a partner exchange of the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchange (SSE) Initiative.“The BSE made a commitment to publish guidance on ESG Reporting. This commitment has been fulfilled.“

We are the 42nd among the 81 SSE Partner Exchanges globally and the 5th in Africa to do this,” said Kgotla Segwe, Market Development Specialist at Botswana Stock Exchange Limited.
Other stock exchanges that have complied with the SSE initiative on the continent are from South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt.

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Mobile operators look to digital inclusion

Keikantse Lesemela

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Mascom MD Jose Couciero.

Mascom Chief Executive, Jose Couciero said they are looking into digital inclusion as the potential source of revenue growth because mobile subscription is no longer a major driver.

Botswana has one of the highest records of mobile penetration in Africa at 176 percent, Internet users’ stand at 21.4 percent while the fixed line telephony services stand at 8.2 percent. “As the Botswana mobile market evolves, we observe that mobile subscriber growth alone is no longer a major driver for revenue growth. Rather, the potential for the market is in digital inclusion through access to mobile and fixed broadband,” Couciero.

He said they have invested significantly in deploying their own transmission backbone and Metropolitan fibre rings to prepare their business to enter the residential markets with bundle offers of Internet, voice and content. “I am excited to confirm that we now offer fixed broadband services using both fibre and 4.5G wireless technology. These technologies offer high speed internet for TV live streaming and online games without interruptions,” he said.

Meanwhile, the government owned Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) observed the increased usage of social media platforms which has negatively affected the traditional voice call services resulting in decreased turnover for the company. Recently, BTCL Managing Director, Anthony Masunga also highlighted that competition in the telecommunications sector continued to intensify with the entry of new internet service providers leading to a downward pressure on prices.

On the other hand, another competitor, Orange Botswana is currently constructing a data centre which will enable the company to offer telecommunication and internet services without interruptions. The Orange Data Centre will cover 81% of the population with the 2G technology, 62% of the population with 3G technology and 45% of the population with 4G technology, offering the greater levels of security, flexibility and accessibility to data and information around the world.

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