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BotswanaPost in negative equity position

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BotswanaPost’s financial results for the period ended 31st March 2015, released this week is a tale of two halves.

In one half there are the negatives such as the overall loss-making performance and there are some major positives that augur well for the achievement of a sustained turnaround going forward, in the other half.

The company’s total revenues increased by some 29 percent to P430million driven by business services (86 percent), courier and logistic (154 percent), Express Mail Services (25 percent) and philately (100 percent).

Most significantly, administrative cost lines were lower than in the prior year. However, the cost of sales grew faster than revenue at 34 percent. This translated into slightly squeezed margins and therefore overall results are down, with the loss for the year rising from P33.8million to P47million.

Board Chairman, Polokoetsile Motau said there were no real surprises in the financial results for the year under review. “While actual numbers could be described as disappointing given the unfortunate increase in the size of the bottom line loss, they do not reflect the significant progress that has been made towards our transformation from a traditional postal operation into an advanced, diversified service provider”.  

Transport and Communications minister has encourgared the company over the years to diversify in order to sustain its operations as a business, whilst at the same time continuing to meet its obligations of providing traditional mail service.

This has seen the government who is the company’s major shareholder not injecting money to the parastatal.

Under the former Chief Executive Officer, Pele Moleta who left the parastatal sometime in 2015, the company developed a five year journey to excellence strategy which draws to a close in March 2016.

Motau feels that transformation however, requires significant financial resources, which the company as an operational entity currently does not have. “Depleted cashflows, coupled with a resultant loss in interest earned, also placed restrictions on the amount of prepaid electricity and bulk mobile phone airtime we were able to purchase in order to resell to consumers; and this had a negative impact on our revenues.”

As a result, Motau said “it is clear that we need to engage a lot more with shareholders in order for them to inject the capital required so as to move out of our current negative equity situation.”

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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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