Sunday, September 27, 2020

BVI goes global through debt issuance

The Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI) leapt to the market last week by issuing a P 70 million bond which is aimed at repositioning itself in the international markets as the most reliable supplier of livestock vaccine in Africa and other parts of the world.

The ten-year bond, which is part of the P 100 million that has been given a thumps-up by the Botswana Stock Exchange, will carry a coupon rate of 11.23 percent, paid semi-annually.

“This is the first in the world for a veterinary vaccine to issue a bond and it guarantees good quality,” the General Manager of BVI, George Matho, said at the celebration of the listing of the bond.
BVI, which was founded in 1980ÔÇöthrough the assistance of IFFA and Merieux of France and MerialÔÇöcurrently controls 46 percent of the southern African market and has encroached on some of the region’s most developed countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe. The company is wholly-owned by the Botswana government and sits on a 12 000 square meter plot in Broadhurst Industrial sites. It is designed to the most advanced specifications available.

“The instate is well contained; it has all the facilities for typing of virus for the FMD (foot and mouth disease) research and for the potency and safety test,” a note posted on the company website said.
So far, the institute deals with SAT 1, SAT 2, and SAT 3 types of FMD strains but after its expansion and the inclusion of other facilities, it will be able to deal with other livestock diseases.

“This is the first state-of-art laboratory in Africa to provide FMD vaccines. It will help other African countries which can not export their beef to the European markets and other developed countries to do so.

“The debt issuance is specifically aimed at addressing some of the supply constraints that it has been facing,” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Locus Gakale, said.

Presently, BVI exports its vaccines to the whole of the southern African region, East and North Africa, including parts of eastern Asia. The expansion move is also seen as Botswana’s attempt to address some of the controversial issues in the world trade that bound on sanitary and food safety- a prerequisite if one wants to take advantage of the European Union market as well as the impending World Trade Organisation rule, which will come into effect in the next 15 years.

The construction of the new facility is ongoing, thanks to Barclays Bank of Botswana, which has provided a bridging finance as well as arranging the debt issue.

“One thing that has come out of this is that BVI has been able to tell their success story. The organization is world class and it is run by Batswana,” Managing Director of Barclays Bank Botswana, Thuli Johnson, said.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.