Sunday, January 16, 2022

‘No date for BTCL IPO, machinery underway’- Collins Newman & Co

Collins Newman & Company, the legal advisors of the current undergoing privatisation process of BTCL Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) says the failure to meet the initial November 7th date was due to the delays from different stages of approvals.

Collins Newman & Company Partner Rizwan Desai said the IPO is a time bound process with so many steps. He said the failure to meet the initial deadline set was being ambitious acknowledging that it was clearly not met due to the many mechanical steps which are needed to be done.

“I do not have the dates for pending approvals but the machinery is underway and pending this approval is difficult for me to say the date,” he said.

“The whole advisory team in responding to BTCL was that they need to give more time to Batswana some engagement from the public feedback, adding that there were requests for knowledge of what the process details,” Desai stated.

He pointed that the financial work has been done adding that the draft financial statements have been submitted. He said there is a series of obligations and requirements to be followed as well as by the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listings requirements and under the company’s act.

“What is at stake here is the sales of national assets and the sales of any national asset has to go through certain procedural steps. There are parallel layers of approval that have to be done which include Cabinet approval, PPADB approval, and only then one can say that there is finality for the auditors to sign,” he said.

Desai believes that it is a good thing for the Batswana to buy BTCL shares adding that it is even a better thing that more Batswana are becoming educated about the development of the capital markets as an alternative source to invest and make money.

“The maximum number of Batswana who are able to buy into IPO is the primary objective. We need to go out into the country and the team is working together as to what the timing should be and what the maximum period should be given to finalise,” said Desai.

He further stated that some eminent decisions have to be first made adding that once they are made one will be able to say the fixed time required for the IPO. Desai pointed out that his team is required in terms of the BSE listings requirement to effect an IPO. He mentioned Delloite as the financial advisors.

“The Prospectus is expected to have the whole story of the IPO such as the summary of the business of BTCL and also details to why the company is coming to the market and it should be in compliance with BSE requirements before approving it,” he said.

Desai did not reveal the value of shares adding that it is only open to citizens and citizens owned companies. He said the prospectus is issued at the time when the offer of shares is announced.

The 49 percent shares in BTCL are expected to be listed on the BSE with the government retaining a 51 percent majority stake. Of this 49 percent, 5 percent will be reserved for staff as part of an Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP). BTCL was formed ahead of the separation of the incumbent operator, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) into two entities incorporated under the Companies Act, these being: BTCL and Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet).

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