The much anticipated Botswana Telecommunication Corporation Limited Initial Public Offering (IPO) has finally been scheduled for Friday 7th November. This will not only mark an end to a process that many Batswana have been eagerly awaiting but will also be the beginning of the privatisation roll out that has dragging for too long.
Addressing members of the media this week, the Minister of Transport and Communications Nonofo Molefhi said that work towards the BTC IPO has reached advanced stages. ”This is a truly historic IPO we have before us, and comes following many years of hard work and planning,“ said Molefhi.
Government is only offering 49% of the shares of the company. Of this, 5% will be offered to citizen employees of BTCL. These will be delivered through an Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP). The remaining 51% of the shares will be retained by Government.
Details of the value and amount of shares on offer are yet to be announced pending finalisation of a few loose ends and a prospectus on the offer is expected in the next two weeks. The Prospectus will be available from the various outlets which include BTCL offices and Barclays Bank of Botswana branches nationwide. Additional outlets are expected to be announced at a later date though.
According to Molefhi, further information on the BTCL IPO will be shared through various platforms in due course, through his ministry as well as through the Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA) and BTCL.
He also highlighted the fact that his ministry will soon embark on a nationwide programme aimed at sensitising and educating the public on issues relating to the BTCL IPO, hence maximizing chances of their full participation.
The ministry is organising a mini get-together with all stakeholders on the 6th of October in Gaborone, which will be followed by another one on October 9th in Francistown as part of the aforementioned public education strategy. A share allotment strategy will also be put in place to ensure that all citizens are given equal opportunity to buy BTCL shares.
The transition process to list BTCL on the BSE can be traced back to November 2012 when Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) was converted from a statutory body into a public company limited by shares and renamed BTCL with equity shares owned by the government. The former has been in business as the incumbent telecommunications services provider for over 33 years.
BTCL was formed after BTC was separated into two entities through an Act of Parliament, resulting with BTCL and Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet).
BTCL’s core business is voice (fixed and mobile) and data services through a broad spectrum of converged telecommunication product. It abides to all regulatory requirements as per Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA).