At exactly 09:55 on Thursday 8th April 2016 history was made when the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) Board Chairperson Regina Sikalesele-Vaka and the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Nonofo Molefhi hit the drums with trading gong to signal the official listing of Botswana’s first ever privatised parastatal – Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL). At that moment BTCL shares started floating. They were listed at exactly 10am. By close of the IPO on Friday the 4th March 2016 a total of 50 301 qualifying applications were received. According to BTCL management this equated to offer for 776,333,400 shares well in excess of the 462,000,000 shares available to the public, representing a 1.68 times over-subscription, making it one of the largest and most historic IPOs in Botswana’s history.
Molefhi said the 8th of April 2016 will forever be engraved in the minds of Batswana as it shows a truly momentous achievement and milestone for Government Privatisation Agenda. He said even though there was so much work that had to be done after the IPO was launched they were prepared for any eventuality and committed themselves to ensuring that Batswana have the access and opportunity to ownership of shares in a national asset such as BTCL. “The government of Botswana has always envisaged seeing more Batswana partake in a pinnacle moment in the history of BTCL and our local economy,” he said. BTCL Managing Director Paul Taylor said they are very proud because they have always prided themselves as an indigenous organisation that belongs to the public. He said they are absolutely delighted to have over 50 000 of Batswana as part of BTCL. “There were challenges but we stood up and we know that we must rise up to meet the new challenges head on,” he said.
BSE CEO Thapelo Tsheole referred to the BTCL listing as one of the biggest that they have had in this country and the one that also made them work very hard. He said BTCL is the 23rd company to register with BSE, and the only telecommunications party. According to PEEPA CEO Kgotla Ramaphane this is the first privatisation of a public enterprise that they have completed. He congratulated BTCL for having moved from a parastatal to a limited company with only one shareholder to becoming a listed company with thousands of Batswana as shareholders. “You are truly the proverbial butterfly. I, therefore, urge you to go out there and beautify the telecommunications sector with your colours,” he said.