Government has finally set another date for the long awaited initial public offering (IPO) of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL). On Wednesday, Minister of Transport and Communications, Tshenolo Mabeo revealed in a press conference that the starting date for the opening period of the BTCL IPO will be no later than December 18th 2015. His announcement comes after several postponements of the IPO, which was initially pencilled for November 7th 2014, due to delays in the different stages of approvals.
Government cited the many mechanical steps that needed to be followed as reasons for the delay, saying there were a series of obligations and requirements that needed to be complied with, including the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE)’s listings requirements. During the IPO, 46 percent of the BTCL shares will be up for sale, while five percent have been reserved for the corporation’s employees and the remaining 51 percent will be retained by government.
“A share allotment strategy will be put in place to ensure that all citizens are given equal opportunity to buy BTCL shares,” said Mabeo.
Asked on the value of shares, which will be open only to citizens and citizens owned companies, Mabeo said he could not disclose the value as it will be revealed in the share sale prospectus.
“This is a BSE requirement meant to ensure that all interested parties receive the information at the same time,” said Mabeo.
For his part, Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatization Agency (PEEPA) Chief Executive, Kgotla Ramaphane said the prospectus will be released after being approved by the BSE. He further said the share sale prospectus will typically include background information about the company, company strategy, information on company directors and senior officers.
“It will also disclose how many shares are on offer, the price of the shares and the process that must be followed to acquire them,” said Ramaphane.
Meanwhile, BTCL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Paul Taylor has admitted that he was under pressure from Mabeo to meet the mid December deadline.
“The pressure was there, yes; but it was healthy pressure and this time around failure is not an option,” said Taylor.
He further said the IPO will last for approximately 4-6 weeks, adding that this is to ensure that Batswana have ample time to participate. BTCL was formed ahead of the separation of the incumbent operator, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) into two entities incorporated under the Companies Act, being BTCL and Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet).