How BTCL’s money is shared

SHARE   |   Saturday, 30 April 2016   |   By Eric Molale

Government received P212million to supplement national budgetary requirements while BTCL received P250 million for its growth and expansion. Below are Minister Eric Molale's remarks at the occasion to receive the Government cheque. I am truly glad this morning, to be able to add my voice to the many great accolades that have already been made towards the successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) and subsequent listing of the shares of the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) on the Botswana Stock Exchange.  This is the first, and may I emphasise, very successful privatisation of a public entity in Botswana. The IPO has resulted in the transfer of 44% of the Company into the hands of thousands of citizens across the country. As you may all be aware, the remaining 5% is reserved for citizen employees BTCL.

Most notable for me in this transaction has been the unprecedented high level of public interest as well as demand for these shares by citizens, which resulted in an oversubscription of about 1.7times.  This has, amongst other things, shown the great commitment that our citizens have towards supporting the Government in its initiatives of diversifying its economic base.  In addition, it indicates that Batswana are truly investors in their own right.  I would like to thank Batswana in this regard. It further demonstrates that the Government's objective of empowering Batswana through the ownership of public assets is beginning to bear fruit. Today is the culmination of the process of privatising part of BTCL as approved by Government in 2010.  The journey has been a long one. Government has continuously monitored its progression and provided the necessary support to ensure that its commitment to Batswana, through its Privatisation Programme, is realised.

The key highlights of the process have included: The structural separation of Government's country wide optic fibre from BTCL's own telecommunications network; The establishment and operationalisation BOFiNET to manage that optic fibre and offer wholesale product; Securing funding for the underwriting of the shares, and The aggressive country wide road shows and marketing activities to ensure that Batswana understood and could participate in this historic transaction. We believe it has been worth it as we have achieved one of Government's key privatisation objectives of empowering Batswana by offering them the opportunity to be owners, of one of the Country's largest public entities.  Batswana are now not only customers but can now share in the growth and profitability of the Company, and ultimately generate greater wealth for their livelihoods.  This however, depends on BTCL delivering on what it has promised Batswana in the Prospectus of the IPO.  I am confident that the BTCL team will continue to effectively deliver on its mandate and continue to add value for its shareholders.

The IPO resulted in an oversubscription and hence we collected the BWP462million that Government had targeted from the shares it offered to citizens.  The purpose of this function is to hand over these funds so that they can be put to use as planned.  Government is going to receive BWP212million which it will put towards its national budgetary requirements. BTCL will on the other hand receive BWP250million towards its growth and expansion projects outlined in the Prospectus.  I am confident that utilisation of these funds cumulatively will go a long way towards facilitating the national needs.

8. Finally, allow me at this point, to acknowledge and thank the team at the Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA) which has tirelessly led the implementation of the BTCL privatisation. We commend you PEEPA Management and your Board.  PEEPA has now been transferred to my Ministry of Presidential Affairs and I must say; we are eager to work with you so that we deliver more successful privatisation transactions. I would also like to thank the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning who have collaborated in earnest with PEEPA to deliver this transaction.  Thank you, to each and every one who played a role in this important project. We commend you and we applaud you.

Eric Molale
Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration