Saturday, October 24, 2020

BTCL board chairperson quits

Fresh capital markets information has surfaced indicating that the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) board chairperson, Daphne Matlakala will leave the BSE listed teleco giant by end of this month. 

The sudden departure which is yet to be officially communicated has been put up as part of the items in the agenda of the much anticipated BTCL Annual General Meeting (AGM). The BTCL AGM has been slated for late October and will among other things decide on board of directors’ appointments as well as the imminent departure of some of the directors. 

It is not yet clear why Matlakala has decided not to seek a re-election despite her eligibility but sources close to Megaleng House told The Telegraph late Monday that the outgoing board chairperson has been “in-active and out of touch lately.”  

Still on Monday, capital markets pundits warned that the premature retirement could have a negative impact on the performance of the BTCL share price at BSE. Already the company is trading below its Initial Public Offering Price (IPO) of P1 per share. By close of markets on Monday, the company’s share price was still stuck at 85 thebe per share having lost 15 percent on a year-to-year trade. 

The Telegraph also understands that BTCL, which recently rebranded its business, has since informed its ordinary shareholders through a communiqu├® about the imminent departure of its board chairperson who has served for only three years. 

Matlakala was appointed as BTCL board chair before its listing by the then Minister for Transport and Communications Nonofo Molefhi in mid 2014 replacing Len Makwinja who later joined BanABC. 

She is a founding partner at Malebeswa-Matlakala Legal Consultants. She is also a founding member of the Women’s Finance House and Women and Law in Southern Africa Research Project Botswana Trust. She has also previously served as the Deputy Attorney General and Secretary for Legislative Drafting. 

Meanwhile it has also emerged that the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), Lorato Boakgomo-Ntakhwana will resurface at the BTCL board as a non executive director. 

Boakgomo-Ntakhwana’s name is expected to be put up together with that of another businessman Mclean Letshwiti for consideration by shareholders. Letshwiti was recently elected President Botswana Football Association (BFA).  

Apart from the appointment of the non executive directors, the BTCL shareholders are expected to endorse the appointment of Anthony Masunga as Acting Chief Executive following the departure of the British national ÔÇô Paul Taylor. 

The telecommunication giant reported in July 2016 that it has swung to a P371 million loss from a profit of P147 million recorded in 2015. The poor run by the BSE quoted company has been attributed to impairments exercise that the company performed during the year that ended 31 March 2016. 

Still in July the former managing director, Taylor admitted that there were a number of technical adjustments made to the BTCL accounts as a result of the audit process, “most notably the impairment charge at P522 million compared to an expectation in the prospectus of P306 million”. 

According to the BTCL listing prospectus, an indicative impairment charge of P306 million was anticipated, however the company financials show that it recorded impairment adjustment of P322 million during the year under review. 

The BTCL financials also indicate that it’s operating costs excluding impairment charge increased by 11 percent from P1.345 billion to P1.487 billion. The increase has been attributed to accelerated depreciation of network assets and an increase in mobile handset subsidy. 

Apart from issues relating to financials, BTCL shareholders are likely to question the board on Employee shares scheme at the upcoming AGM. 

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