Magazine article African Business

Botswana, Malawi Are the Stars

Magazine article African Business

Botswana, Malawi Are the Stars

Article excerpt

South Africa may dominate Southern Africa more completely than any other African economy dominates its region. Yet once the continent's biggest economy is taken out of the equation, Southern Africa is the most competitive of our regional tables.

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Botswana takes 19 places in the Southern African Top 50, ahead of Zambia with 14, Malawi with 11 and Namibia with six.

This year the region secures its first $1bn company in the form of First National Bank of Botswana (FNBB), which just breaks the one billion dollar barrier to retain top ranking. As last year, two other Botswanan banks, Barclays and Standard Chartered, take second and third spots, although their relative positions have reversed.

FNBB's pre-tax profits fell 3% to P265m for the second half of 2009 and the bank has warned that earnings will remain depressed during the first six months of 2010. In a statement, the company revealed: "We shall continue with our sound credit vetting process and closely monitor all sectors of the economy. In the last six months of 2009, our strong credit vetting systems paid dividends resulting in impairment losses growing by only 12% from a low base."

The bank's deposits increased 17% and there was strong growth in Bank of Botswana Certificates. Presenting the company's results on 12 March, FNBB chief financial officer Steven Bogatsu commented: "Going forward, we look forward to do even better in the area as the bank should take advantage of government decision to float more bonds on the local market as it tries to obtain funds to cover its budget deficit."

Malawian firms maintained their strong showing, led by Illovo Sugar Malawi, which took fifth position with market capitalisation of $534m. The company, which is an offshoot of Associated British Foods, raised R2.98bn ($284m) last year through a rights issue designed to pay off some of its debts and fund its expansion plans in Mali, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia, as well as in Malawi itself. Telekom Networks Malawi, National Bank of Malawi, First Merchant Bank and Stanbic Malawi also made it into the top 20, as Malawi and Botswana continue to outperform other countries in the region with larger populations.

Celtel Zambia is the top-ranked telecoms company in our Top 50, moving up from eighth to fourth over the past year with market capitalisation of $571m. Celtel Zambia continues to hold a 78.9% stake in Zain Zambia. The company hopes to roll out 3G technology across the country but has complained about delays in the licensing procedure.

Zain Zambia managing director David Holliday said: "We would have expected 3G and other licences under the ICT to have been issued by now. So, we are patiently waiting for the licence to be issued. Once this licence is issued, we are ready to rollout 3G for the benefit of Zambian consumers."

Southern Africa's Top 50 companies excluding South Africa

Regional  Rank  Company Name                        Country   Value
Rank       in                                                  ($m)
          Top
          2009

1         105     First National Bank of Botswana   Botswana  1,018

2         124     Barclays Bank of Botswana         Botswana    831

3         140     Standard Chartered Bank Botswana  Botswana    678

4         153     Celtel Zambia                     Zambia      571

5         165     Illovo Sugar Malawi               Malawi      534

6         166     Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines  Zambia      530

7         192     Zambia Sugar                      Zambia      406

8         193     Botswana Insurance Holdings       Botswana    405

9         210     Letshego                          Botswana    347

10        227     FNB Namibia                       Namibia     307

11        -       Sechaba Breweries                 Botswana    252

12        -       Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM)     Malawi      235

13        -       Standard Chartered Bank of        Zambia      225
                  Zambia

14        -       Chilanga Cement                   Zambia      201

15        -       National Bank of Malawi           Malawi      183

16        -       Namibian Breweries                Namibia     176

17        -       Zambian Breweries                 Zambia      160

18        -       First Merchant Bank               Malawi      151

19        -       Stanbic Malawi                    Malawi      125

20        -       zambeef Products                  Zambia      122

21        -       Press Corporation                 Malawi      122

22        -       Engen - Botswana                  Botswana     90

23        -       Sefalana Holdings                 Botswana     79

24        -       Furniture Mart                    Botswana     78

25        -       National Breweries                Zambia       72

26        -       British American Tobacco Zambia   Zambia       58

27        -       Oryx Properties Limited           Namibia      51

28        -       National Insurance Company        Malawi       48

29        -       Imara Holdings                    Botswana     47

30        -       NBS Bank Limited                  Malawi       47

31        -       Metro Sefalana Cash and Carry     Botswana     43

32              - African Diamonds                  Botswana     38

33              - Primetime Property Holdings       Botswana     38

34              - Turnstar                          Botswana     31

35              - BP Zambia                         Zambia       28

36              - FSG                               Botswana     28

37              - Securicor                         Botswana     27

38              - Farmers House                     Zambia       22

39              - African Banking Corp Holdings     Botswana     22

40              - Malawi Property Investment        Malawi       20
                  Company

41              - RDC Properties                    Botswana     19

42              - Chobe Holdings                    Botswana     19

43              - Stimulus Investments              Namibia      17

44              - Sunbird Tourism Hotels and        Malawi       16
                  Resorts

45              - National Investment Trust         Malawi       14

46              - Metal Fabricators of Zambia       Zambia       10

47              - Trustco Group Holdings            Namibia       9

48              - Investrust Bank                   Zambia        9

49              - Zambia Bata Shoe Company          Zambia        8

50        -       Namibian Asset Management         Namibia       7
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