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Botswana IPO postponed...again

Botswana IPO postponed...again

The Initial Public Offering (IPO) for Botswana's fixed telephone line parastatal, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited's (BTCL), has been deferred again.

Paul Taylor, BTCL Managing Director said the company strategy and privatisation programme, financed to the tune of 8 million pula by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, needs more time.

Initially scheduled for August 2011, the BTCL IPO launch has experienced several postponements and Taylor maintains that putting out the IPO before year end would be 'risky and disastrous'.

Taylor has convinced the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises, to ask parliament to defer the much-anticipated privatisation.

"The reasonable time for us would be April 2016, but we cautiously suggest the date given the fact there are a number of other stakeholders involved in the project," said Taylor.

Last year, government said 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.

According to intended BTCL privatisation plan, 44% of the company's shares will be available for purchase by citizens and citizen companies while 5% will be retained for BTCL employees while government plans holding a 51% share of BTCL.

The BTCL IPO was first postponed in 2011 to 2012 and then later pushed to August 2014 before being again deferred to December 31, 2014.

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