Home » Botswana tycoon Ramachandran Ottapathu’s Choppies posts $11 million in profit as earnings soar

Botswana tycoon Ramachandran Ottapathu’s Choppies posts $11 million in profit as earnings soar

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Ramachandran Ottapathu

Choppies Enterprises, a Gaborone-based supermarket chain led by Botswana businessman Ramachandran Ottapathu, reported a triple-digit increase in profit at the end of its 2022 fiscal year, owing to sustained increases in consumer demand, improved operational flexibility, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

The supermarket chain’s profits rose by 141.7 percent from BWP60 million ($4.53 million) in 2021 to BWP145 million ($11 million) in 2022 thanks to higher sales driven by a broad presence across Botswana and a growing footprint in three other African countries, according to a recently published financial statement.

During the period under review, the group’s total retail sales rose by more than 13 percent, from BWP5.33 billion ($402.76 million) to BWP6.04 billion ($456.4 million), boosted by strong growth in Zambia and Zimbabwe, which performed exceptionally well despite the weakness of the Zimbabwean dollar.

As a result of the robust financial performance, the group’s total assets increased from BWP1.7 billion ($128.46 million) to BWP1.89 billion ($142.8 million), while retained losses decreased from BWP938 million ($70.9 million) to BWP798 million ($60.3 million).

Choppies Enterprises is Botswana’s largest retail chain, with a centralized distribution network in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Kenya. It distributes both well-known international food brands and its own private-label items.

The group operates as a leading player in the food and general merchandise retail segments under Ottapathu, who co-founded the retail behemoth with Farouk Ismail in 1986.

The increase in retail sales, combined with operational flexibility, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, resulted in a BWP107 million ($8.1 million) decrease in negative equity accrued from years of losses, from BWP448 million ($33.9 million) to BWP341 million ($25.8 million).

If the founding shareholder’s initial loans are considered equity, the group’s negative equity is reduced to BWP228 million ($17.24 million), and Choppies is on track to trade out its negative equity in three years based on current performance.

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