London Stock Exchange quoted company, Grit Services Limited is exiting its shareholding in Botswana’s Letlole La Larona (LLR), citing changes to its investment strategy. Despite the LLR exit and another in Mauritius in the past, Grit remains one of the largest real estate investors into Africa.
The Botswana Stock Exchange listed LLR announced on Thursday that Grit has informed the company of its intention to exit its investment, following a series of shares disposal. Grit has been a material shareholder in LLR since 2019, after the London Stock Exchange (LSE) listed firm increased its stake in LLR from 6.25 percent to 30 percent to become the second main shareholder.
In early March, Grit sold 6.4 million shares of its holding in LLR for P22.5 million, following up on previous sales of 4.78 percent in February and 6.79 percent in December 2022 to various shareholders. In total, Grit has sold 13.9 percent shareholding in LLR, leaving it with current shareholding of 11.25 percent.
“The exit process will take place in an orderly manner so as to maintain stability of the company’s share price. Grit’s sale of its entire shareholding in LLR is in line with its decision to exit investments where it does not have majority control, or where it has significant exposure to currencies other than US dollar, Euro or hard-currency-pegged revenue streams. Grit has announced similar decisions pertaining to certain of its hospitality assets in Mauritius recently,” said LLR in a statement.
One of the main buyers of the shares from Grit is Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), which has increased its interest in LLR to become the second major shareholder, new filings made to the Botswana Stock exchange shows. BPOPF bought nearly 19 million of the shares in an on-market sale deal valued at P66.1 million, concluded on 30 December 2022, through asset manager Vunani Fund Managers which acquired the shares on behalf of their client BPOPF.
In 2019, Botswana Development Corporation (BDC), the wholly owned government investment arm, reduced its stake in LLR from 65.8 percent to 42 percent after disposing 66.5 million shares Grit.
The acquisition of BDC’s stake in LLR by Grit was settled through share consideration, in which Grit paid for LLR shares by issuing 9.8 million shares to BDC, which was equivalent to P150 million, and resulted in BDC holding a 3.1 percent shareholding in Grit.
LLR’s property portfolio is diversified through 67 percent allocation to the industrial sector, 22 percent in retail, 6 percent in office buildings and 6.2 percent residential. The company’s share price climbed 36.4 percent last year, impressing its shareholders through profits and expansion plans to markets outside Botswana, promising unitholders better returns.