Hotel operator books its place on Botswana Stock Exchange

Cresta Marakanelo, Botswana‘s largest hotel operator, is on track for a 17 June listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) judging by enthusiastic public response to the sale of 62,9 million shares in the company by Botswana Development Corporation (BDC).

The outdoor area of the Cresta Lodge in Gaborone.

The outdoor area of the Cresta Lodge in Gaborone.

The private placement of 18,5 million shares, which was taken up by three local institutions, was significantly oversubscribed, and a further 40,7 million shares are being sold by way of an initial public offer (IPO). The balance of 3,7 million shares have been earmarked for an employee share trust. The offer dilutes BDC’s stake in Cresta Marakanelo from 60% to 26%.

The offer closes on 7 June. Shares are offered at P1,45 a share, equivalent to a price/earnings multiple of 13, a discount to the BSE’s current market average.

“The offer is well priced and we’re confident that all the Cresta shares will be taken up,” said Grant Molyneaux, corporate finance executive at Imara Botswana, financial advisors to Cresta for the transaction. “Within four days of the opening of the offer we had to print additional prospectuses to keep up with demand.

“This indicates strong interest from retail investors which will complement institutional demand. It also suggests that the citizen empowerment objectives of the BDC will be realised.

“Strong public participation is good news for local capital market development as the listing will contribute to an improvement in the BSE’s liquidity and trading volumes.”

The listing of Cresta Marakanelo has received BSE approval, subject to the achievement of a minimum spread of 300 public shareholders. The new share (CML) will be quoted on the domestic sector of the BSE’s main board, taking the total number of counters on the exchange to 33.

The hotel group operates eight hotels with 724 rooms. Average occupancy runs at 67%.

“We’re delighted that the public response has been so positive,” said Tawanda Makaya, managing director of Cresta Marakanelo. “We have a broad geographic footprint across Botswana and are well established as the nation’s leading hotel brand.

“We have achieved significant expansion over the past 11 years. The listing will further enhance our profile and position us for the next stage in our growth strategy – our emergence as a major regional brand.”