The Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limitedís (BTCL) privatisation came full circle on Friday when 1.05 billion shares were listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE).
The listing followed an oversubscribed Initial Public Offer in which applications received were for a total of 776.3 million shares against the 462 million shares on offer.
The IPO offered citizen applicants a 44 percent stake in the BTCL, with government retaining 51 percent and another five percent reserved for BTCL citizen employees. The IPO raised P462 million – the largest in history – coming ahead of Choppies’ 2012 offer, which raised P350 million.
The 1.05 billion shares listed on Friday represented the second largest in the BSE’s history, after the 1.2 billion floated by Choppies in 2012. However, in terms of investors ushered onto the BSE, the BTCL was far larger, bringing 50,301 new investors and more than tripling the number of domestic investors on the BSE.
At 9.55am on Friday morning, Infrastructure, Science and Technology minister, Nonofo Molefhi beat a ceremonial drum marking BTCL’s official start of trade on the BSE. The BTCL was listed at P1.00 and by mid-day Friday was yet to trade.
“Government has always envisaged seeing more Batswana partake in a pinnacle moment in the history of BTCL and our local economy and today we see that this has become a reality,” said Molefhi, representing Transport and Communications minister, Tshenolo Mabeo.“Our mandate was to ensure maximum citizen participation and we were steadfast in delivering it.” Molefhi said the stories of how Batswana had raised funds to participate in the IPO were ‘humbling and remarkable’
“While some may not have been able to raise funds on time, it is our hope that their thirst for share ownership extends beyond the IPO itself,” he said.
For his part, BSE CEO, Thapelo Tsheole said the listing ceremony was the culmination of ‘round the clock’ efforts of teams that had handheld the BTCL and government through the share sale process.
He revealed that the mammoth listing had involved the opening of 50,301 new Central Securities Depository (CSD) accounts representing each new investor.
“In the last two months, our CSD team has been working up to midnight nearly every day to open these accounts. We had about 22,000 CSD accounts and with BTCL, we now have 71,600.
“This is a very significant increase and we are proud that it is Batswana involved,” he said. The CEO revealed that the BTCL’s listing meant that the proportion of domestic investors to the overall population was about five percent, which compared well with other markets.
BTCL managing director, Paul Taylor said the group’s focus going forward is to become more customer-centric and return value to its new shareholders. He said the BTCL was aware of its enhanced responsibilities. “Many eyes are now on us and we have an obligation to make this a resounding success. To our stakeholders, our promise is that we will not let you down,” he said.