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Fengyue plant was a disappointment- Mphathi

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The liquidation of the controversial Botswana Development Corporation’s Palapye Fengyue glass project was a disappointment for the soda ash and salt producers, Botswana Ash (Botash). 

Botash, which is currently the biggest supplier to South African market with about 60 percent, had pinned its hopes to supply Botswana’s first glass manufacturers, Fengyue glass plant in Palapye. Unfortunately, the glass project did not see the light of day and faced liquidation.

Responding to Business Trends during a press briefing this past Tuesday about looking for local markets, Botash Managing Director, Montwedi Mphathi said, “the Palapye plant was a disappointment. We had concluded that we would supply about 30 000 tonnes to them per annum.” Unfortunately the project was later said to be not viable. “We pleaded with BDC to find other alternative ways but they said the market would not survive and therefore it cannot be continued,” added Mphathi.

Afterwards, BDC engaged a glass-manufacturing consortium from UK to conduct a due diligence of the project. It advised that the project was not a viable business operation. BDC boss, Bashi Gaetsaloe once confirmed to the parliamentary statutory bodies’ committee in 2015 that, glass manufacturing in Botswana was proven to be extremely risky and unprofitable.  Meanwhile, glass production is the largest application for dense soda ash.

About half of the soda ash produced worldwide is used in the manufacture of glass. In this application, soda ash is used as a fluxing agent in that it lowers the melting temperature of the raw material – pure silica – thereby reducing energy requirements for glass production.

Container glass covers a wide range of different products that include bottles, jars and other containers. About 46percent of all glass that is manufactured is used for container glass. Flat glass accounts for 42 percent of glass production and includes items such as architectural glass, car windscreens, windows, mirrors and frames.

Other glass manufacture accounts for 12 percent of glass production and includes textile, fibre optics and insulation fibre glass. It is understood that there is currently only one flat glass manufacturer in South Africa that is Botash’ s biggest consumer of soda ash; whilst the other six are importers.

With the South African market combined with the BDC glass project, it would have been a better opportunity for Botash. Moreover, Botash sells around 20 percent of soda ash to the chemical industry sector. In this sector, both dense and light soda ash is used in large number of chemical reactions to produce inorganic or organic compounds that are in turn used in a range of different applications.

It can be used to produce sodium silicates that have a wide range of uses in the production of chemicals such as silica. It also has application in pulp and paper manufacturing.

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BSE upgrades online investor access

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A recent BSE opening bell function.

Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) will this year introduce a new clearing and settlement system, as part of efforts to improve operations of the bourse.

Speaking at the seventh opening bell ceremony, Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the development will help improve liquidity and risk management. In addition, the new settlement system replaces the 2008 system while fast tracking introduction of security borrowing and lending, management settlement guarantee fund, as well as identifiers for companies and instrument.

BSEL has already awarded a contract to a Swedish company to implement the system which is also expected to digitalize Initial Public Offering (IPO), allow electronic voting for listed companies during annual general meetings (AGM) for absent shareholders.

The project, which is expected to take eight months once the two parties sign the deal, is part of efforts to have more online investors access for BSEL. Tsheole also revealed that BSEL website will undergo a revamp this year, allowing it to be more analytic, live feed shares, as they trade.“The tender is already out for the website and mobile application. It is a project that we had hoped to implement last year but because of logistic problems, we could not do it,” said Tsheole.

BSEL further plans to introduce two data display screens at CBD and at the stock exchange.“These will assist with information sharing and keep the market updated,” said Tsheole. Meanwhile, BSEL will not change its Automated Trading System (ATS) until 2022, according to Tsheole.“The system supports our strategy to grow the market and increase the average daily turnover levels to 18.0million per day by 2021,” said Tsheole.

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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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