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Setback for BTCL's intended IPO listing

Setback for BTCL's intended IPO listing

Botswana's fixed telephone line parastatal, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL), due to be listed on this bourse this year, has postponed its initial public offering (IPO) to next year.

The IPO has been deferred for the second time this year after the initial November date was extended to December.

Transport and Communication ministry said the delay has been further dictated by a number of considerations, amid the project team working round the clock to bring the IPO to life.

"What has always been apparent is that the complexities and the sheer magnitude of privatising BTCL is a challenging task. It was thus always an ambitious timeline to conclude before year-end, one that all in the project nevertheless believed was achievable," said the ministry.

"However, a number of material steps, including securing the necessary underwriting arrangements, remain to be concluded."

In addition, the ministry said institutional investors felt opening the IPO over the holiday break would not allow them enough time to conduct their own internal processes - convening investment committees, seeking board approvals and so forth.

Expressing optimism the ministry said the remaining steps will comfortably be achieved next year at a date yet to be announced.

44% of the company's shares will be available for purchase by citizens and citizen companies while 5% will be retained for BTCL employees.

Meanwhile, government plans holding a 51% share of BTCL.

Government says the core mandate of the IPO is to deliver an IPO that allows maximum potential for citizen participation.

"A deferred IPO opening would have the additional benefit of allowing more Batswana to continue to save to enable them to participate in what will be the most significant listing in the history of Botswana."

BTCL is a parastatal that has been operational since 1980. However, it has been financially unstable and is looking to a privatisation move to spur on its revival.

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