Saturday, September 25, 2021

Botalana collapse shakes Choppies Group

Supermarket chain Choppies is one the companies that was reportedly hit hardest following the unexpected liquidation of one of the promising farming project in the country Botalana Ventures.

According to Documents obtained by The Telegraph, Choppies Group was one of the companies that had invested in Botalana Ventures. 

Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) which held a 33 percent stake in Botalana Ventures had requested Director of Botalana Ventures Jana Willemes to look for investors. Willemes who held 67 percent shareholding through his company called Itiya engaged Corporate Resource Management CRMS to look for investors on behalf of Botalana ventures before BDC approached the High Court to have the horticulture and ostrich company liquidated.

Despite funding from Choppies Group, BDC went ahead and applied that Botalana Farm should be placed under liquidation.  BDC was accusing Botalana of failing to settle rent arrears in the range of more than P11 million.

But Willemes opposed the liquidation warning that it would be detrimental to BDC and creditors should the company be placed under liquidation as creditors would remain unpaid and BDC may not fully recover what Botalana Ventures owed to it.

In a letter dated, 27 February 2015, addressed to BDC, CRMS states that they have been engaged by Botalana to seek new investment. 
“…We have secured short terms funding from the Choppies Group to fund our current year’s planting,” reads the letter.

It states that the funding had been acquired on the following basis; vegetable crops P3,000,000 to be received in three instalments, the first being on 25th February 2015, amounting to P1,200,000.

“Here on we will receive a further P1000, 0000 on 25th March 2015 with a balance of P800, 000 to be received in April 2015. The Choppies Group has agreed to purchase the following crops: tomatoes-30 ha, potatoes-30, ha, beetroot-10 ha and onions-30 ha” reads the letter.

It states that the combined value of vegetables and beans will exceed P30 million in revenue.

“The fund for vegetables is revolving, once repaid; its drawable again will increase with each time it resolves. Furthermore we are in the process of finalising a forward contract for 500 tonne of dry beans. In this regard we have set the price P11, 500 per tonne, which equates to P5, 750,000. In this respect, the Choppies Group has committed to providing us with P3, 000,000 working capital to allow us to plant this crop,” reads the letter.

According to the letter, “in respect of the current transactions, Mr. Jan Willemse has attended several meetings regarding the negotiations of the current deals in Gaborone during the month of February 2015.”

Recently Choppies Group stated in its cautionary statement that it “is currently finalising its results for the half year ended 31 December 2016, which are expected to be released on BSE and SENS on 14 March2017. The group’s EPS is expected to show a reduction of 40% – 50% from the EPS reported for the half year ended 31 December 2015.”

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