April 11 2010: Wilderness Safaris successfully floated its shares on the local bourse when the market opened 9.30 am on Thursday as the conservation company became the first foreign controlled company to have its primary listing in Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE).
“Our business is in the forefront of the tourism industry in Botswana and we are giving recognition to the support we got from people and government of Botswana,” said Malcolm McCulloch, Chairman of the group, before ringing the bell.
The move to list follows private placing in which 28 000 000 ordinary shares were issued at a price of P4.00/share and public offer in which 3 million shares were issued at a price of P4. 00/ share in Botswana and R4.56 in South Africa.
The company’s idea behind the listing is to improve efficiency and broaden participation, especially that the company is well capitalised.
After the listing, the company’s largest shareholders and their holdings are expected to be management (20.8 percent), Wine Investments (20.9 percent), PUMA (20.1 percent) and Capital Africa Limited (17.3 percent).
“(The listing) is opening new opportunities for us; a company that started with one Land Rover, but made a business that is changing lives,” added McCulloch.
“We have incorporated our regional footprint and we see opportunities going forward with the people and the power of the brand.”
Wilderness was conceived in Botswana in 1982, with nothing more than a single land rover and currently is invested in 53 destinations and employing 2 705 people, 85 percent of whom come from remote rural communities adjacent to the areas it seeks to protect.
Government said the listing marked major milestone in a long and mutually rewarding partnership, between Botswana and Wilderness Safaris.
“The money generated through the private and public offering, will be used to fund the company’s growth plans of doubling both, the number of guests hosted by the business by 2015, as well as the present areas under its control,” Kitso Mokaila, Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism said at a pre-listing party.
“With its unique positioning, iconic international brand and management’s long track record of financial and operational success, Wilderness Safaris presents the general Botswana public with an attractive growth and investment platform,” he said.
The company operates in Chobe, Linyanti area and The Okavango Delta and presently it is giving the Central Kalahari Game Reserve a lot of attention following the opening of Kalahari Plains operations.
It also floated its shares on JSE Africa Board.