FSG, the sole funeral services provider listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE), said death business defied the worst global economic downturn since the World War II as its revenue leap-frogged 16 percent to P 45.6 million.
The funeral services provider that is aiming to be a titanic regional player left with some few months to officially trade in Zambia indicated in the full year results to the end of December 2009, that despite the challenging economic down turn that affected consumer spending patterns its business performance remained strong— in almost all segments.
FSG, commonly known as Lyn’s Funeral Parlour and Kagiso Funeral Parlour paraded impressive results indicating that profit before tax up 16 percent to P 17.5 million while its assets were solid at P 105 million.
“The group maintained its position as the market leader (in Botswana ) in delivering high quality funeral and funeral-related services. Together with its Botswana Life Insurance Limited, the group introduced a new product for the benefit of the group customers,” the company said in a statement that accompanied the results.
FSG has been bold in the roll-out of targeted products into the market including the funeral package schemeÔÇösuch as Mompoloki Funeral Cover — which grew from P 15 .4 million to P 18.3 million over the twelve months to December.
Last year, it introduced Phomolong Memorial ParkÔÇöwhere customers have the chance to buy bespoken graves before their death ÔÇô which is the first of its kind in Botswana.
“The graves are available on cash basis and through insurance product to be developed and marketed by Botswana Life Insurance Limited,” the company said.
FSG further expressed its undying appetite of entering the Zambian- a market with a population size of 11.8 million people with high population growth rates of 1.6 percent.
Zambia is one of the southern African states with the highest HIV/ AIDS prevalence rate with 1.1 million people reportedly living with the disease that while life expectancy in the copper rich southern African country has been brutally slashed to 38.6 years.
However, FSG said in the report that is well prepared for the challenge which includes completion of the Lusaka office by end May and at the same time it has built strong inventories of caskets and coffin to the tune of P 3.4 million ahead of the developments.
The move will also see the company will open its bread and butter outfit ÔÇô the caskets and coffin manufacturing operation — in Zambia towards the end of the year in order to respond to the needs of the market. The company is one of the best exports from Botswana into that market which includes the like of Bifm’s subsidiary, African Life, ABC Bank, Letshego Holdings, Woolworths and Zambezi Motors among others.
FSG is a holding company for four subsidiaries: Kagiso Funeral Parlour Ltd, M& N Coffin and Casket Manufacturers, Private cemeteries and V and N Coffins, which operates in ZambiaÔÇöone of the countries in the southern African region with the highest HIV/AIDS deaths until recently.
“Lyn’s and Kagiso are engaged in the business of the supply of coffins and caskets and provision of funeral-related services under the name and style “Lyn’s Funeral Parlour” and “Kagiso Funeral Parlour” in southern and northern Botswana, respectively.
“In addition, Lyn’s is involved in the manufacturing and distribution of coffins and caskets from manufacturing plants in Gaborone for sale throughout Botswana,” the company said.
Lyn’s transformed its image in the early 2000s after Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited, the parent company of the giants, Botswana Insurance Fund Management and Botswana Life, took a stake in the company. That came with the transformation of its image from being a company active in the southern corner of the country into funeral services icon.
FSG dividend of three thebe per share payable May 10.