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Batswana Sell Livestock, Forego Christmas Gifts To Invest In Largest IPO In The Country

Batswana Sell Livestock, Forego Christmas Gifts To Invest In Largest IPO In The Country

Botswana citizens (Batswana) have poured their life saving into the country’s -largest ever share offer by state-owned Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTLC), a Daily News report on AllAfrica said.

BTLC, a fixed telephone provider, opened its initial public offer on January 11 after nearly a decade of promise by the government to privatize the telecom giant. The share offer will close on March 4 and start trading on the Botswana Stock Exchange on April 8.

The government is selling 49 percent of its stake in the telecoms operator, strictly to its citizens and companies owned by its citizens, for what it says would drive a wide base of ownership around the country by distributing shares to Batswana.

According to a press release from BTCL, the reception for the share offer has been good with an average 1,000 applications being made every day at Barclays Branches across Botswana.

“The reception we have received from Batswana has been simply amazing,” said Paul Taylor, managing director of BTCL.

“We are humbled by stories of how some have raised their funds to be able to offer for these shares. Some have sold livestock; some have received money from family in place of Christmas gifts,” he added.

The IPO marks the first time ever the government has privatized a state-owned company through the Botswana Stock Exchange – Africa’s fifth largest bourse.

“It marks the first sale of a National asset into the hands of Batswana in the Nation’s history, and already serves as the largest IPO in Botswana to date,” BTCL said in a statement sent to AFKInsider on Wednesday.

Analysts however cautioned that BTCL monopolization of the fixed line market was no longer profitable as subscribers have move on to mobile phones. They said the company has been making loses for “a number of years”.

“The performance of the BTCL shares will depend on where the new owners (Batswana) are going to spend their money in terms of telecommunication services,” Onkokame Mokobi, a University of Cape Town PhD Student studying Economics of Regulation and Competition, said in an opinion piece published by Mmengi Online.