The elusive Botswana Telecommunications Limited (BTCL) much awaited Initial Public Offering IPO opening has once again failed to materialise after the corporation’s authorities pleaded for more time before they can open doors to shareholders.
The anticipated new IPO offer opening was apparently supposed to be mid – December this year after several other postponements dating as far back as August 2014, but BTCL Managing Director Paul Taylor pleaded with the Parliament Committee on Statutory Bodies & State-Owned Enterprises on Friday that the corporation need an extension up to at least April in order to tighten a few loose ends.
According to Taylor, though the corporation has managed to among others complete its financial audit 2014/15 and secure amongst a number of other activities requiring financing , a total of P250 million underwriting funds they are yet to be fully prepared for the IPO opening.
The Committee on Statutory Bodies & State-Owned Enterprises was told that BTCL is still yet to finalise employee share ownership plan (ESOP), update prospectus, legal due diligence and financial due diligence.
Other pending activities include asset valuation, share price and share split and securing requisite stakeholder approvals from shareholders, BTCL board, cabinet, PPADB and the BSE.
Confidential documents passed to this publication indicate that BTCL management is worried and wants clarity on the Ministry of Transport and Communications role as a policy maker, regulator and shareholder. This they say is significant especially as privatisation approaches.
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.
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).