Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) announced on Friday last week that a conclusion on the establishment of the Employee Share Ownership Plan (“ESOP”) is yet to be reached.
The announcement by BTCL follows an earlier cautionary statement, released on 29 April 2016, which explained the alteration of the initial Employee Share Trust (the “Trust”) to ESOP. Employees were previously not permitted to dispose of the 5 percent shares and the dividend payout was structured such that they were payable into the Trust following which distribution by Trustees would be done in terms of the Trust Deed. The Trust had initially been under the management of trustees appointed by BTCL on behalf of employees. However BTCL expounded in its statement that ESOP will allow employees to directly own BTCL shares and permit them full voting and profit participation rights, together with the ability to buy and sell BTCL shares generally, as distinct to the limited ownership rights in terms of the original Trust.
Providing an update on the pending changes, BTCL cites in its latest statement that, “Further to the cautionary that was published on 29 April 2016, shareholders are advised that negotiations are still in progress, which if successfully concluded may have a material effect on the share price of BTCL. Accordingly, shareholders are advised to exercise caution when dealing in the company’s shares until a full announcement is made.” In addition, the company had previously informed the public that the introduction of ESOP will be based on the approval of Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) and the ordinary resolution of the shareholders in general meeting.
Deemed the biggest ever initial public offering (IPO) in Botswana, BTCL went on to list on BSE on 8 April 2016. In addition to the Employee Share Trust changes the company also appointed Imara as its new sponsoring broker taking over from Stockbrokers Botswana and a new Transfer Secretary, PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PwC) replacing CorpServe Botswana. The reason BTCL advanced for the new appointments is that their services were contracted during and up to the period of listing.