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The 20 richest investors on the Botswana Stock Exchange

The Botswana Stock Exchange has just 31 equity listings and 49 bond listings.

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Malawian banking tycoon Hitesh Anadkat.

Botswana, whose economy is heavily reliant on diamond production, has a lacklustre stock market.

The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has just 31 equity listings and 49 bond listings. Of these listings, the vast majority are issued by mining companies.

Liquidity is also concentrated in among a handful of companies. In 2020, the shares of First National Bank Botswana, the Sechaba brewery company and the Letshego microfinance lender accounted for 47 percent of the total equity turnover, according to The Africa Report.

While a significant majority of Botswana’s wealthiest individuals continue to shun its local bourse ­– preferring to build their fortunes through privately-owned companies – the Botswana Stock Exchange still accounts for a substantial portion of the wealth of a number of the country’s richest individuals.

Based on figures derived from investment agencies, the latest annual reports and confirmations from capital market registrars, these are the 20 richest people who own stocks listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange. The value of their shares is based on prices at the end of trading on Aug. 20, and valuations are converted to U.S. dollars at current exchange rates.

1. Ramachandran Ottapathu

Net worth on the BSE: $40.9 million

Holdings: Choppies, Far Property Company Limited

Choppies CEO Ramachandran Ottapathu owns a 26.8-percent stake in Far Property Company Limited, a listed real estate development company that owns more than 170 commercial properties in Botswana and South Africa – the majority of which are warehouses and shopping centres where from retail giant Choppies Enterprises operates. Ottapathu also owns 19.7 percent of Choppies.

Ottapathu, 56, relocated to Botswana from India in the 1990s and eventually joined Wayside Supermarket, a small family-owned supermarket, as its CEO. Over two decades, he transformed Wayside into Choppies Enterprises, Botswana’s largest grocery and general merchandise retailer. The value of his stakes in both companies adds up to $40.9 million, making him the richest person on the Botswana Stock Exchange.

2. Farouk Ismail

Net worth on the BSE: $39.5 million

Holdings: Choppies, Far Property Company Limited, Botswana Telecommunications Company

Farouk Ismail’s father was the founder of Wayside Supermarket, the small family-owned retailer that eventually became Choppies Enterprises.  He owns a 15.27-percent stake in the retailer, which is valued at $10.9 million. His other assets on the BSE include 28.69 percent of Far Property Company Limited, worth $27.7 million, and a 1.19-percent stake in Botswana Telecommunications Company, worth a little over $800,000.

3. Jonathan Gibson

Net worth on the BSE: $22.7 million

Holdings: Chobe Holdings ­

Gibson is the deputy chairman and CEO of Chobe Holdings, which owns and operates lodges and camps on leased lands in Northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip in Namibia. He owns 35.59 percent of the company – a stake worth $22.7 million.

4. Gulaam Abdoola

Net worth on the BSE: $14.6 million

Holdings: Turnstar Holdings

Gulaam Hussain Abdoola is the founder of Turnstar Holdings, a property investment company that owns shopping centers, office, commercial, residential and industrial properties in Botswana, Tanzania, and the United Arab Emirates. He currently owns an estimated 14-percent stake in the company.

5. Chandra Chauhan

Net worth on the BSE: $11.9 million

Holdings: Sefalana Holding Company 

Chandra Chauhan is the group managing director of Sefalana Holding Company,  a retail conglomerate that operates a chain of retail supermarkets, convenience stores, cash and carry outlets, hyper stores and liquor stores. The 5.53-percent stake that he owns in the company is worth $11.9 million.

6. Giorgio Giachetti

Net worth on the BSE: $10.9 million

Holdings: RDC Properties

Giorgio Giachetti is a co-founder of RDC Properties, a property investment and development company that owns office, industrial, retail, residential and hospitality properties in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, the United States, and Madagascar. His 15.98-percent stake is currently worth $10.9 million.

7. Alexander Kelly

Net worth on the BSE: $8.8 million

Holdings: Primetime Property Holdings

Alexander Kelly owns 40,480,008 shares in Primetime Property Holdings, a property management, development and rental company in Botswana where he serves as managing director. His shares have a current value of $8.8 million.

8. Mashale Phumaphi

Net worth on the BSE: $6.3 million

Holdings: Shumba Energy

Mashale Phumaphi owns a 25.1-percent stake in Shumba Energy, a company involved in the trade of solar and coal energy. Phumaphi is the company’s founder and CEO. His stake is worth $6.3 million.

9. Hitesh Anadkat

Net worth on the BSE: $5.5 million

Holdings: Letshego Holdings

Hitesh Anadkat, a prominent Malawian banking tycoon, owns a 2.76-percent stake in Letshego Holdings worth $5.5 million. Letshego Holdings provides short- and medium-term unsecured loans to the employees of public, quasi-public and private sectors.

10. Alexander Whitehouse

Net worth on the BSE: $5.5 million

Holdings: Chobe Holdings ­

Alexander Whitehouse, a director of Chobe, owns a 8.53-percent stake in Chobe Holdings through his private investment firm, Angold (Pty) Ltd.

11. Adams Dambe Chilisa

Net worth on the BSE: $3.65 million

Holdings: Chobe Holdings

Adams Dambe Chilisa, a Botswanan businessman with interests in the hospitality industry, owns 5.7 percent of Chobe Holdings, which is listed on the BSE. His stake is valued at $3.65 million.

12. Claude de Bruin

Net worth on the BSE: $3.1 million

Holdings: Minergy

Claude de Bruin is a co-founder and owner of a 9.07-percent stake in Minergy Limited, a company that engages in the exploration, development, mining, and trading of thermal coal. Minergy supplies coal to industrial end-users.

13. Duncan Lewis

Net worth on the BSE: $3.1 million

Holdings: CA Sales Holdings

Duncan Lewis is the CEO and largest individual shareholder of CA Sales Holdings. The company engages in the sales, merchandising, warehousing, distribution, debtor’s administration, marketing and promotions, transport, and training activities for the blue-chip manufacturers in the fast-moving consumer goods industry. It operates in numerous countries in Southern Africa.

14. Anthony Geldard

Net worth on the BSE: $2.8 million

Holdings: CA Sales Holdings

Anthony Geldard is the managing director of Logico Unlimited, a subsidiary of CA&S group, South Africa. He owns a 1.86-percent stake in CA Sales Holdings Limited, valued at $2.8 million.

15. John Astrup

Net worth on the BSE: $2.9 million

Holdings: Minergy

John Astrup is a general manager and the second largest individual shareholder at Minergy Limited, which engages in the exploration, development, mining, and trading of thermal coal.

16. He Liesen ­

Net worth on the BSE: $2.1 million

Holdings: Shumba Energy

 He Liesen owns a 8.47-percent stake in Shumba Energy, a company involved in the trade of solar and coal energy. His stake is worth $2.1 million.

17. G.H. Haniger

Net worth on the BSE: $2 million

Holdings: Chobe Holdings

G.H. Haniger owns a 3.14-percent stake in Chobe Holdings. His stake is worth $2 million.

18. Ramnauth Munesh Sharma

Net worth on the BSE: $1.25 million

Holdings: Shumba Energy

Ramnauth Munesh Sharma, a Mauritian national, owns a 4.91-percent stake in Shumba Energy, valued at $1.25 million.

19. Festus Mogae

Net worth on the BSE: $1.2 million

Holdings: Choppies, Far Property Company Limited

Botswana’s former president Festus Mogae owns a 1.51-percent stake in Choppies, the country’s largest retailer. The stake is worth over $1 million. He also owns shares in Far Property Company worth a little over $200,000.

20. Andre Boje

Net worth on the BSE: $1.08 million

Holdings: Minergy

Andre Boje, the former CEO of Minergy, still retains a 3.19-percent stake in the company. His stake is valued at $1.08 million.

Mfonobong Nsehe contributed to this report. Comments can be sent to: news@billionaires.africa.

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Namibian tycoon Quinton van Rooyen’s Trustco wins round in court against JSE

Shares in the group rose 35.56 percent as a result.

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Quinton van Rooyen.

Trustco Group, an investment holding majority owned by Namibian businessman Quinton van Rooyen and his family, has won a round in court against the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

The Pretoria High Court ruled that the company may not be suspended from the JSE until the hearing of its review application in September.

The presiding judge, Nicoline Janse van Nieuwenhuizen, pre-dismissed every argument made against Trustco. The judge issued a decision, in which she ordered the JSE to be interdicted and restrained from suspending Trustco shares from trading on the local bourse.

“The grounds of review are all deserving of a proper hearing in due course, and I am satisfied that Trustco has asserted a prima facie right to fair and just administrative action,” she said in her decision.

In response to the news, shares in the group rose 35.56 percent to R0.61 ($0.0367), from a price of R0.45 ($0.0271) at the start of trading this morning.

The increase in Trustco’s share price pushed its market capitalization above R985 million ($60 million) and the value of van Rooyen’s 63.94-percent stake above R630 million ($38 million).

The court also prohibited the JSE from implementing or attempting to implement the decision that Trustco restate its annual financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, as well as the interim results for the six months ending Sept. 30, 2019.

The legal battle between Trustco and the JSE began on Nov. 11, 2020, when the exchange’s authorities claimed that the company had not met the listing requirements for its 2019 annual financial statements and 2020 interim results.

As part of the allegations, the JSE accused Trustco of violating international accounting standards by misrepresenting features of two loans and reclassifying land that it owns.

Trustco questioned the JSE’s authority to order corporations to amend their financial statements. It claimed that only boards have that authority and stated that all transactions had been “exactly accounted for, reported, and disclosed.”

Amid the legal battle between Trustco and the JSE, wary local bourse investors sold their stakes in the company, fearing a potential delisting of its shares, which caused the share price to crash to an all-time low in July before rebounding recently by double digits.

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Ugandan tycoon Charles Mbire to pocket $1.15-million interim dividend from MTN Uganda

Mbire owns a significant 3.98-percent stake in the Ugandan telecom outfit.

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Charles Mbire.

Ugandan multimillionaire businessman Charles Mbire is on track to receive an interim dividend of Ush4.48 billion ($1.155 million) from his stake in MTN Uganda after the telecom group reported a double-digit percent increase in earnings in the first half of 2022.

MTN Uganda is Uganda’s leading telecom service operator.

Mbire, the chairman of MTN Uganda and one of Uganda’s wealthiest businessmen, owns a significant 3.98-percent stake in the Ugandan telecom outfit, which operates as the fourth operating subsidiary of the South African multinational mobile telecom company, MTN Group.

The interim dividend will be paid electronically into his bank account at a later date from the group’s retained earnings of Ush902 billion ($232.4 million) at the end of its 2022 fiscal year. It is his first dividend from the telecom company since its shares were listed more than eight months ago.

The dividend payment follows a significant rise in the group’s earnings in the first half of 2022 despite a 4.9-percent decline in voice revenue, as it looks set to replicate its stellar performance in 2021.

As a result of the company’s strong financial performance, the board of directors approved the payment of an interim dividend of Ush5 ($0.00128) per share for the six months ending June 30, totaling Ush11.95 billion ($28.9 million), which is subject to withholding taxes.

According to data retrieved from the company’s earnings report for the first six months of 2022, its profit increased by 48.1 percent to Ush193.6 billion ($50.2 million) in the first half of 2022, compared to Ush130.7 billion ($33.7 million) in the first half of 2021.

The double-digit increase in profit can be attributed to a 10-percent surge in the company’s service revenue, which was driven by a significant increase in data and fintech revenue, which were more than sufficient to offset the 4.9-percent decline in voice revenue.

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Billionaire Robert Smith’s Vista to acquire Avalara business software for $8.4 billion

Smith directs Vista’s investment strategy.

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Robert Smith.

Avalara Inc., a leading tax compliance automation provider for businesses, has agreed to be bought by Vista Equity Partners for $8.4 billion.

Vista Equity Partners is a leading global investment firm led by America’s richest Black person, Robert Smith.

The transaction received unanimous approval from the Avalara board of directors and is expected to close in the second half of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions such as shareholder and regulatory approval.

Under the terms of the deal, Vista will acquire all outstanding shares of Avalara common stock for $93.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $8.4 billion, including Avalara’s net debt.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Vista has secured a total of $2.5 billion in loans from private lenders as part of the move to bring in institutional investors as co-investors.

The purchase price represents a 27-percent premium over the company’s closing share price on July 6, the last trading day prior to the announcement of the deal.

“For nearly two decades, Avalara has ambitiously pursued its vision of automating global compliance, making tax less taxing for businesses and governments around the world,” Avalara Co-Founder and CEO Scott McFarlane said.

“As a category leader, we believe that continuing to invest in innovation and experience is exciting for our customers, partners, and employees,” he said. “We are excited to work with Vista and will benefit from their enterprise software expertise as we build and improve our cloud compliance platform.”

After the conclusion of the deal, Avalara shares will no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Avalara will become a private company managed by Vista.

Smith has an $8-billion stake in Vista and directs its investment strategy.

He also serves on its executive committee, the company’s governing and decision-making body for all matters affecting overall management and strategic direction. He has supervised more than 570 completed transactions, with a total transaction value of more than $265 billion.

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