Botswana’s Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA) has said that an initial public offering (IPO) for fixed line incumbent Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) is likely to take place after the end of the operator’s financial year in March 2011.
Local news source Mmegi Online reports that a 49% stake in BTC will be sold to investors and BTC employees, while the government will retain the remaining 51%. Commenting on BTC’s privatisation, Kgotla Ramaphane, CEO of PEEPA, said: ‘The process involves the appointment of advisers for the IPO and many other stakeholders,’ Ramaphane noted, adding: ‘We are working towards the end of the financial year, which is March 2011.
At this time, we should know the date for the IPO. However, there is a lot of groundwork and further discussions to be had before we can arrive there.’ According to the operator’s spokesperson Anno Tsie, discussions will involve the number of shares that will be set aside for BTC employees, as well as the price of shares and the listing requirements for the Botswana Stock Exchange.
The privatisation of BTC was first mooted in June 2006, with initial plans envisaging the sale of between 40% and 49% of the telco to a strategic investor and a 5% share to BTC employees. The remaining shares would be retained by the government for a future stock market listing. The first stage of the privatisation began in January 2007, with a tender put out for ‘advisory services’.
In February 2008 PEEPA signed a contract with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to act as transactional advisor in the privatisation. The IFC completed due diligence in November 2008 and in 2009 the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (Transition) Bill was enacted in parliament, which established BTC as a public company under the Company Act.