BDC on track to meet divestment target

FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) says it is on track to divest from 12 percent of its portfolio.

The corporation announced early this year it will shed 12 percent of companies that are not aligned to its strategy and those that have matured enough to be effectively run by the private sector.

At the time BDC, which invested in manufacturing, property, and the services sectors, also indicated that divestiture was part of its normal course of business as a corporation, to empower the private sector and Batswana in general.

The corporation has already sold Cumberland Hotel, Toro Lodge, Khawa Lodge as well as disposing of its stakes in Metropolitan Botswana, Asphalt Botswana and Kwena Rocla as part of its efforts to shed off 12 percent of its portfolio.

Though BDC spokesperson, Boitshwarelo Lebang would not disclose the total percentage of companies that have so far been disposed of by the corporation as part of the exercise, she said:

 “We are tracking well on our divestment programme. It should be noted that there are various considerations to be taken into account when implementing a divestment programme”.  She added: “It is important to balance the aspirations of the various stakeholders such as government, the public and the corporation.  This also applies in divesting from the earmarked 12 percent of the portfolio as per BDC’s remodelling programme”.

“Our divestment programme has not necessarily been driven by a target, but rather timing, performance, strategic relevance of a project and targeted return. Review of exit targets is an ongoing process and do not necessarily have a fixed time,” she said when responding to BusinessWeek enquiries this week.

Lebang also said the divestment programme would not only involve outright sale of BDC’s 12 percent portfolio, but also collaborations and partnerships on projects that the corporation believes need partnerships for better growth prospects.

The spokesperson declined to reveal the money that has been accrued by BDC so far as part of the divestment initiative.

She said final earnings through the divestment programme would be computed once all transactions have been closed and transfers done.

“These will be communicated as part of our financial statements and other announcements at the time,” she said.

Lebang was also not willing to give an update on the relocation of Pasdec Automotive Technologies from South Africa to Botswana. More than a year ago BDC announced that it was at an advanced stage of funding the relocation of Padsec from South Africa to Lobatse. Though it operates in South Africa, Padsec originates from Malaysia.

She said discussions on any project that have not reached a final stage could not be shared with the media in line with basic business ethics and client confidentiality.

The relocation of the company, which manufactures automotive and wiring harnesses, is expected to create 500 jobs.

BDC is expected to invest P52 million in the company.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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