The country’s one stop investment centre, Botswana Investment Trade Centre (BITC) has detailed how Brite Star Aviation of Texas decided to invest in Botswana amid concerns that the company’s credentials are questionable.
Brite Star Legal and Transactional Advisor, Advocate Efan Khan has since dismissed concerns that the company could be a fly by night entity.
“Anyone who has fears are welcome to visit the Aviation plants in Hungary and USA to see the aircraft manufactured for themselves and fly in the aircraft,” he told Sunday Standard.
The company is owned by Imre Katona who also owns Magnus Aircraft Corporation.
According to BITC Director of Corporate Communication Kutlo Moagi Brite Star Aviation Botswana, is a new set-up in Botswana which will raise its own funding.
Moagi said her organisation first met Magnus Aircraft representatives on the 24th March, at their plant in Kecskemet, Hungary.
She said the visit was part of the targeted investment promotion engagements into Europe.
She said during the first meeting, it emerged that, Magnus had no prior knowledge of Botswana, but were impressed with the track record of the country.
“The BITC team were able to appreciate the Magnus Aircraft facility which compromised of a composite assembly plant for light aircraft manufacturing. The team also learnt that Magnus Aircraft had partnered with Siemens to produce electric aircrafts,” said Moagi.
She said the level of detail in the presentation by the company and its outward looking in terms of global expansion informed BITC team to interest Magnus to visit Botswana for a scoping visit. “Following the initial engagement in Kecskemet, Magnus visited Botswana on the 25th March to 2nd April. The company met several key stakeholders from Government to private sector to appreciate the business environment and highlight its interest to invest in Botswana,” said Moagi.
She added that “According to the company management, Magnus strategy is to produce light aircrafts in a stable market and export internationally. The company has an already established market, and Botswana’s market characteristics fitted very well with Magnus vision, as a gateway to mainland Africa.”
Moagi said the April visit was the start of the many engagements including visit to Brite Star in the USA, to appreciate the company model and operations including the composite plants, hotels and school.
She said though company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with key stakeholders, to facilitate setting up in Botswana a MoU is not a means to an end in the project lifecycle, as it only provides guidelines to the facilitation framework to ensure successful conversion.
“On the part of Government, is a set of incentives commensurate with a project of this nature while the company obligation is to comply by submitting the required detailed business proposals for further vetting and accreditation for incentives,” said Moagi.
She said BITC has been to the Magnus Aircraft plant in Kecskemet, Hungary to appreciate the plant, its operations and the overall investment and capabilities of Magnus Aircraft.
“In addition, SPEDU and BITC have been on two due diligence visits to the plant in Texas July 2017. The signed MOU is just an instrument to facilitate engagements with all parties concerned. It stipulates what information all parties will require, what assistance is sort by Brite star and commits all parties to do their part expeditiously to ensure unnecessary delays. The MOU is no way a contract,” she said.
She said as part of facilitating Britestar, BITC and SPEDU awaits a detailed business plan from Brite star which will also indicate the models of participation by local entities.
“ Brite star has not sort any partnership with Government but instead they are seeking partnership with local entities. Botswana Government will do its part by facilitating the necessary support through the various involved agencies as per each agencies mandate,” said Moagi.
There are also concerns that might not have BITC confirmed if Brite Star Aviation has approval parts manufacturer certificate and certificate of approval for aircraft maintenance from the Federal Aviation Administration (the civil aviation regulatory authority of the USA) or from Hungary and China where the company has operations.
But Moagi said “BITC has asked for all these seals of approval to verify with CAAB as part of due diligence process. As mentioned above our facilitation process which includes due diligence is ongoing.”
She said once all documentation is received from the company the due- diligence process will be completed.
“The Government agencies will also facilitate any licensing and permitting requirements as per Botswana’s regulations to enable their set up in Botswana,” said Moagi.