BTCL IPO finally launched

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

The much anticipated launch of the Botswana Telecommunicatuions Corporation Limited (BTCL) Initial Public Offering (IPO) has finally taken place.

Speaking at the launch yesterday the Minister of Transport and Communication Tshenolo Mabeo who was visibly elated said: “I am delighted to inform you that nearly a decade of hard work, sweat, dedication, skill and passion have been sown into privatising BTCL. Today I can stand here and declare that we are done and ready to offer BTCL shares to citizens of Botswana.”

Mabeo said he was happy to see the deal which has been in the making for many years come to fruition. “I am privileged to stand here today and set in motion the final steps towards a privatised Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited. This Project has been in the pipeline for many years and now it has become a reality. The Government of Botswana has always envisaged seeing more Batswana partake in a pinnacle moment in the history of BTCL and our local economy. That day has come and we are about to see history unfold right before our eyes.”

In the spirit of the nation doing work for its citizens, the minister told the gathering that “a significant number of the members of the various organizations involved were our very own Batswana utilizing Botswana suppliers and partners to deliver this project. I am particularly proud to note this.

To get to this day, the minister said they had to go through a lot of trying situations. “The journey has not been without its trying moments. Key factors that we had to address included: Having new legislation passed that enabled Government to be able to offer shares to the public, the finalisation of securing an underwriter for a project of this magnitude, ensuring that Batswana would have sufficient time during which to prepare themselves to participate in this historic transaction. This includes time to ensure adequate understanding and financial preparation to invest in BTCL, and we have completed all the complex and important steps needed to be able to fulfil the Companies Act and the Botswana Stock Exchange.

Through the BTCL IPO we have said yes as the Government to the privatization agenda of Botswana. We have said yes to the empowerment of Batswana through ownership of BTCL.

Today history has been made. This IPO is the finale of the privatisation of one of the largest State Owned Companies in Botswana. Together, we are witnessing the fruits of Government’s Privatisation Policy and the Privatisation Model that has been adopted. The privatisation of BTCL, beginning with this IPO, has been a process that has evolved with time. This project has seen the days of different Government Ministers and even changes of actual Ministries. This privatisation project necessitated the reconstitution of the former BTC. The BTCL IPO will make history even on the Botswana Stock Exchange. It is the first offer reserved specifically for citizens.”

He noted: “This IPO is a melting pot of the rich history of Botswana. It will open new avenues through its unique citizen-centric design. It has challenged status quos through its design for uptake by a wide spectrum of citizens and 100% citizen owned businesses from all walks of life across Botswana.

It is a historic feat, which I am certainly proud to have been a part of bringing to pass. This is truly an empowerment initiative that will help many Batswana take their first steps towards shareholding as a method of wealth creation for their futures and that of their children.”

“This IPO is underpinned by Government’s strong drive towards empowering Batswana. We decided to open this offer to citizens as a means to increase direct participation of Batswana in owning more national assets. This is in line with the objectives of our Privatisation Policy. This IPO will contribute significantly to the diversification of our economy,” said Mabeo.

In addition to the launch of the IPO, an accompanying prospectus was released electronically on the same day.  Mabero said of this document. the BTCL Prospectus will be available for all Batswana to access from today onwards from various platforms starting with electronic version online, followed by print copies available nationwide from the 11th January 2016, at all Barclays Bank and BTCL Branches. We will also have selected branches of Botswana Post and Choppies carrying copies.

The prospectus will be published online at www.btc.bw and www.gov.bw. Please note that you will only be able to submit your application for offer at Barclays Bank from the 11th January 2016.”

Another stakeholder in this important development PEEPA’s CEO Kgotla Ramaphane gave the details of the prospectus thus: “The BTCL shares are offered through a document called “the Prospectus”. This prospectus contains all the information required to enable Batswana to make informed decisions for buying BTCL shares.

Among others; the prospectus provides: information on the BTCL mandate, its products, services, markets and performance. It also highlights BTCL’s future strategies, plans and projections; the value of the Corporation; the number of shares on offer and the minimum quantity of shares one can purchase. Most importantly, the prospectus contains the application forms that prospective buyers have to fill in to participate in the IPO.”

Roadshows will be conducted across the country from January 2016. “These roadshows are part of our continued efforts to reach every corner of the country. We really mean it when we say that this IPO keyarona, rotlhe. The time has come for Batswana to own shares in BTCL because it is theirs too. It is yours. It is ours.”

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