The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has embarked on a charm offensive aimed at forging relations with private and unlisted companies and educating present and future business owners on the importance of using the bourse to pursue growth opportunities.
Newly appointed BSE Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Thapelo Tsheole said in a recent interview with Sunday Standard that the stock exchange has given listed companies a platform to share inspirational and practical business experiences with unlisted companies as a way of encouraging them to list.
“We are doing this is to generate more listings over the short, medium to long term. Ultimately, increased listings make the BSE more vibrant, more liquid and more attractive to investors,” said Tsheole.
He commended government for fostering private sector growth by providing a conducive and enabling environment for business to grow. He however challenged local companies to collectively improve the country’s competitiveness by creating, testing and adopting new ways of doing business.
“We need to challenge our current business model of small, stable, family owned businesses that are maintained for subsistence. We need to explore opportunities within our current customer base and also beyond our borders,” he said.
Because Botswana is very small in terms of population and consumption capacity, said Tsheole, there is need for local businesses to seek growth regionally and internationally. He added that businesses and investors all over the world are cognizant of Africa’s growth potential, as the continent has experienced significant improvement in its demographics, particularly the fast growing middle income class. He also encouraged Botswana businesses to take advantage of new markets that are opening up in Africa.
“Markets in Africa that were previously inaccessible are opening up, primarily because of improving economic fortunes, improving political stability and ongoing investments in infrastructure. These are business opportunities that Botswana companies cannot afford to ignore,” said Tsheole.
He further said home grown BSE listed companies have over the years demonstrated that opportunities in the region can be explored feasibly, largely because of their ability to raise capital on the BSE.
BSE Listings Conference
The BSE will host a Listings Conference in March aimed at bringing players together and setting the tone for succeeding one-on-ones or closed seminars with private companies. The theme of the conference is “Opening the BSE to the Business Community ÔÇô Creating Value through Listing.” Tsheole explained that the stock exchange fits in the business value chain as it is at the epicentre of capital markets; providing a platform where companies can raise capital to fund expansion projects so as to maximize their value to the shareholder.
“The listings conference is a way of reaching out to private unlisted business and educating them. We expect this conference to challenge them to begin to introspect; to challenge and refresh their business aspirations and strategies; and begin to look to the capital markets for avenues for growth,” said the BSE CEO.
Benefits of listing on BSE
Ability to raise capital: This is done at the initial public offering (IPO) stage and subsequently through corporate actions such as rights issues and issues for cash. Tsheole explained that compared to a listed company, private unlisted companies does not have a broad shareholder base that can be tapped on to raise capital when there is need.
“Capital is key to any company looking to expand its business fortunes,” he said.
Sound Management: Tsheole pointed out that a company that is listed on the exchange is perceived to be well managed and duly accountable to shareholders when compared to a private company.
“This attribute also helps in raising credit at reasonable cost,” he said.
Visibility: The BSE gives a company increased visibility. The BSE trading statistics are carried through international data vendors such as Bloomberg, which helps companies to be readily accessed and be followed by international investors.