Barclays Bank of Botswana has made the biggest venture ever into the African continent by financing the Turnstar acquisition of the Mlimani City in Tanzania.
The deal has been calculated at US$ 33.5 million.
The transaction by Barclays is easily among the biggest by a Botswana based bank. The audacity of the deal is made even starker by the fact that it finances a concern that is outside the borders of Botswana.
Turnstar Holdings is a premier property development outfit listed with the Botswana Stock Exchange.
Barclays Bank Botswana Corporate Director, Seseti Mogami, has said the money will be used to acquire and further develop Mlimani City.
Seseti said a decision by Barclays Bank Botswana to go it alone was a vote of confidence in the viability and sustainability of Turnstar Holdings who are also the owners of Game City shopping complex in Gaborone.
Like Game City in Gaborone, Mlimani City has Game Store as the primary tenant.
He said Barclays Bank Botswana had also become a market thought leader when it comes to handling large, intricate transactions as is the case with the Turnstar-Mlimani offering.
“Two years ago, a decision was taken at Barclays to enhance internal expertise. There are many new people inside the bank who are easily the top talent on the local market. This latest transaction is proof that Barclays has become thought leaders on corporate transactions.”
He said the size of the transaction also went a long way to demonstrate that Barclays Bank Botswana was well capitalized.
Because of exposure to currency fluctuations and cross border uncertainties, a decision has also been made to hedge the transaction to the United States Dollar.
When it is complete, the Mlimani City will boast High end residential houses, a world class conference facility, a shopping mall as well as office space. The City will be built adjacent to a university campus.
The transaction execution date is tomorrow (Monday).
“It is important to point out that this was an open bid. It is not like Barclays Bank Botswana got any preferential treatment,” said Mogami.
The bank was appointed through the independent advice tendered by Investec South Africa.
“It is a pretty bold move to go with a deal of this quantum with a client who is not even your traditional customer. It goes to also show our faith in the fundamentals underlying Turnstar Holdings as a business. Any deal of this magnitude is ideally syndicated, but we were confident of the promoters behind Turnstar Holdings,” said Mogami.
He continued that the fact that the Bank of Botswana has approved the deal also went a long way to show that Barclays Bank Botswana had got its fundamentals right.
“The regulator also approved the deal thereby attaching a seal of confidence on our ability to handle this deal alone,” he said.
For his part, the Managing Director of Turnstar Holdings, Jacob Motlhabane, said the directors of Turnstar look forward to the conclusion of the transaction and the amalgamation of Mlimani into the Turnstar Holdings Group.
Motlhabane said following the completion of the transaction, Turnstar will have operational control of a world class property asset anchored by high-quality retail and office tenants, simultaneously enhancing the geographic diversification and quality of its property portfolio. He said the acquisition represents a significant milestone in the life of Turnstar and is the first step in achieving its growth ambitions in Sub-Saharan Africa and becoming a regional property company. He said the deal brings the group to realise its long held ambitions of becoming a pan-africanist premier property company.
“We are grateful for the support from our existing and new shareholders, who have enabled us to accomplish such an extraordinary milestone in the history of Turnstar. The Board and management are excited about the acquisition of Mlimani, as it represents a tremendous opportunity, not only to strategically enhance shareholder value and strengthen our competitive market position but also represent a catalyst for the transformation of Turnstar into a Pan-African property champion. We are thrilled to expand our presence into one of the strongest growing markets in Africa with a truly unique asset that is the premier retail destination in Tanzania. With the innovation and leadership of the Turnstar Board and the dedication and hard work of our employees, we are confident that the acquisition will be seamlessly integrated into our business,” said Motlhabane
Motlhabane said the deal will provide Turnstar Holdings with an unrivalled influence in the whole of Tanzania. Back to the Botswana Stock Exchange, the deal is likely to see Turnstar regain its position as the number one property company, the position that was lost late last year when New Africa Properties listed with the bourse.
“The deal puts us in an even stronger position to go further into Africa for more expansion,” said Motlhabane.