Thursday, October 28, 2021

Former Barclays MD joins Choppies as retailer remain closed out of BSEL

By Victor Baatweng

Troubled mass retailer ÔÇô Choppies Enterprises last week confirmed the appointment of former Barclays Bank Botswana Wilfred Mpai to its board of directors as non-executive director with effect from 22 November 2-18.

Mpai parted ways with Barclays Bank Botswana under cloudy circumstances in 2012 and has been lying low since then.

His appointment to the Choppies board will however be subjected to the approval by shareholders at the company’s next annual general meeting.

Meanwhile almost four weeks after its suspension from the Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) and Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), Choppies is still mum on its future.

The international retailer’s future is hanging on the balance following its failure to publish its end year results for the period that ended June 2018. The mass groceries retailer was supposed to have published its audited financials for the period under review latest end of September 2018.   The company has however admitted to being clueless on the date in which it would publish the much awaited financial results.

In a statement issued at the time of the suspension late last month, Choppies said that its board ÔÇô together with its new auditors ÔÇô PWC have been working together to reassess the past accounting practices and policies, a development which require independent verification and expert legal analysis before disclosures can be made.

“Certain transactions and business relationships hitherto were not made fully apparent and were therefore not sufficiently considered in preparation of historical annual financial statements,” read part of the statement issued in September 2018.

The transactions and relationships referred to include certain business acquisition transactions undertaken by South African subsidiary during the 2017 and 2018 financial years. Also part of the scrutiny is the ramifications of the “well published shareholder dispute in Zimbabwe.”

Following a series of cautionary statements from the company to the shareholders and subsequent failure to publish the results, Choppies shares were then suspended on 1st November 2018 from the BSEL main domestic board.

The BSEL’s listing requirements dictate that quoted entities publish their full year financial results within a space of three months. The full year reporting period for Choppies ended in June 2018 ÔÇô which means it had up to September to publish the audited results.

Choppies in numbers

Initial Public Offer Price P1.15 (2012)

242 Thebe: Stock Price as at December 2017

69 Thebe: Stock Price at the time of suspension

71.49%: Loss of value for Choppies Stock

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