Funeral Services Group (FSG) Managing Director, Mike Nikolic, Botswana Life’s latest addition, in the form of a bundle product, is a first in the country’s funeral business history and provides combined cash and burial services benefits and will increase the company’s market share beyond the current 65 percent.
Despite the launch of the product in July 2012 and its availability for purchase on the market in August, given sustained advertisement exposure, the financial benefits, provide the leverage, mileage and potential beyond other competing funeral products offering only inflexible burial options, Nokolic told The Telegraph in Gaborone last week.
The product is not a replacement but a more interesting complement broadening the scope of funeral policies to greater heights of caring, dignified and compassionate service delivery.
Botswana Life Insurance Proprietary Limited, which by volume and equity is FSG’s largest corporate shareholder with 25 460 730 million shares or 21.22 percent, respectively, provides the bulk of the latter’s funeral insurance cover.
“In joint collaboration with Botswana Life, we have launched new insurance products to different market segments. FSG will, however, continue its drive in areas of strategic growth by focusing on developing its core business within Botswana in line with its business vision to 2015,” Nokolic said. “The Group’s focus is on the modernisation and transformation of hearses, acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment and mobile offices to ensure enhanced service delivery. For instance, FSG will introduce two mobile offices and, with time, buy an additional three as a way of reaching inaccessible villages and communities disadvantage through remoteness or poor infrastructure. When the mobile offices programme becomes fully operational, the increase in the number of clientele would provide a further boost to the Group’s bottom line.”
During 2011, the Group MD says, FSG expanded to new locations and developed a common brand image across the country and embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign to promote sales of Phomolong, its private cemetery memorial park products, with people buying at least two graves a week, despite the higher costs of burials.
The Group is redefining the Phomolong cemetery concept in the Francistown City Council (FCC) as the initial infrastructural expenditure is very high. Hopefully, negotiations with FCC would be completed within three to four months because of the current shortage of suitable burial ground within the urban and peri-urban setting.
“We have applied to the Mahalapye, Palapye and Serowe Land Boards to extend private cemeteries in Botswana’s heartland where there is a growing interest in the concept,” he said.
According to Nikolic, FSG will open a new funeral parlour in Mochudi, Kgatleng District, during this October, as part of increasing the funeral business network currently comprising of 26 branches and clientele service points.
The Group has already acquired land to open a new branch in Palapye in early 2013 and plants are afoot to establish four to five new branches in potential business areas within the next two years.
Based on the Unaudited Group Financial Results for the half year ended June 30, 2012, profit before tax, revenue and income from insurance package scheme increased by 19 percent to P12.8 million, 16 percent to P456 m and 25 percent to P14.4 m, respectively.
In Botswana, the Group enjoys 65 percent market share and consolidated in its chore funeral and services business as a market leader. M & N Coffin and Casket Manufacturers (Pty) Ltd trading as Lyn’s and Kagiso Funeral Parlours are part of the FSG Group of companies locally.
Regionally, FSG operates in South Africa and Zambia with high prospects of tapping on the Zimbabwean and Namibian markets. Apart from the one office in Lusaka, Zambia contributing between 30 percent to 40 percent profit annually, the Group intends to open two new branches in the Zambian Copper Belt towns of Kitwe and Ndola.