Botswana: IFC picked as transaction adviser for BTC privatisation

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The Public Enterprise Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA) board has engaged the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to act as transactional advisers as government shifts attention to privatise the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC).

PEEPA Chief Executive Officer, Joshua Galeforolwe confirmed that a procurement tender has been filed through the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology to the Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Board (PPADB). "We have started finalising the agreement with the PPADB and the line ministry, and by next week we hope they will be ready to start," he revealed.

In an advert placed last week in the Daily News, the PPADB board indicated that it has approved the ministry's request for a waiver to request information from IFC for the transaction advisory services for more wholesome liberalisation of the day-to-day operations of the BTC.

"The board approved the request to source more information and clarifications according to the documents submitted," the advert reads. In 2003, IFC was the lead consultant in the aborted Air Botswana sale bid involving Airlink.

Galeforolwe said the government was interested in finding as much information as possible to aid a smooth privatisation process at BTC. He pointed out that as transactional advisers, IFC had a mandate to identify strategies to further privatise the parastatal.

"We also hope to explore prospects for selling shares at BTC," he added. "We sought legal advice and we approached the company and asked them to show cause why the bid should not be disqualified," he said.

Inside sources reveal that the collapse of the Air Botswana deal has raised fears that even in the instance of the BTC, PEEPA might be elbowed out of performing their primary role as chief policy adviser to government. "In the last meeting that I attended the minister made it clear that she will not allow BTC to privatise itself," replied Galeforolwe.

Mmegi/The Reporter