Wednesday, November 25, 2020

BTCL IPO project stutters again

Fresh information has surfaced this week that the much anticipated Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) Initial Public Offer (IPO) has failed again and has been postponed to next year.

The IPO, which was scheduled to be opened by the end of 2014, has been ‘extended’ into 2015.
The process of listing the BTCL IPO on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has previously failed to meet the initial date November 7th 2014 due to delays from different stages of approvals.
This month, the Ministry of Transport and Communications and PEEPA failed to provide a new date for the opening of the IPO.

In the IPO, government will be offering a total of 49 percent of the company’s shares of which 44 percent will be available for purchase by citizens and citizen companies and the remaining 5 percent will be retained for BTCL employees.

Furthermore, the Prospectus which is expected to have the whole story of the IPO such as the summary of the business of BTCL and also details as to why the company is coming to the market which should be in compliance with the BSE requirements has not been released either.

Collins Newman & Company partner Rizwan Desai the legal advisors of the current undergoing privatisation process of BTCL IPO two weeks back said, “I do not have the dates for pending approvals but the machinery is underway and pending this approval is difficult for me to say the date.”

Government claims that a number of considerations have necessitated that the IPO, which was scheduled to be opened by the end of 2014, be extended into 2015, adding that the project team has been working around the clock to bring this listing to Batswana.

In a press statement, Ministry of Transport and Communications said that what has always been apparent is that the complexities and the sheer magnitude of privatising BTCL is a challenging task.

The ministry further said that it was thus always an ambitious timeline to conclude before year-end, one that all in the project nevertheless believed was achievable.

“It needs to be noted that one cannot over emphasize the magnitude of the work that has been completed to date along the path to bringing this IPO. The journey to this point has taken many man hours over a number of years. We are confident that the remaining steps will comfortably be achieved in next year,” reads the statement.

Government also claims that institutional investors also felt that opening over the holiday break would not allow them enough time to conduct their own internal processes (convening investment committees, seeking board approvals and so forth).

Government further stated that investors also felt that as the BTCL IPO was a unique offering for Batswana providing them more time would help in ensuring more participated after the holiday break.

“After considering all advice and guidance from our Project team it has been decided that it might be counter productive to expect the relevant authorities to rush their own processes in our haste to open the IPO this year,” reads the statement.

The IPO is set to enter the bourse underpinned by government’s strong drive towards citizen empowerment through increasing direct citizen participation in the ownership of national assets.

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