BBS Limited to re-submit banking licence application

Kabelo Adamson

Following the completion and publication of its audited 2019 financial statements, BBS Limited intends to re-file its banking licence application.

It has not been a smooth ride for BBS Limited in its bid to convert into a fully-fledged commercial bank following its demutualization in 2017.

The demutualization process – voted for by the organisation’s shareholders – meant BBS was converted from a society into a company. The transformation was finally completed in April 2018.

BBS Limited hopes to become the first indigenous commercial bank should it acquire a banking licence from the Bank of Botswana (BoB). Currently, there are 10 licenced commercial banks in the country.

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In September 2018, BBS Limited listed its shares on the Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) and was hoping to use the move as a springboard to become a fully-fledged commercial bank.

However, a series of hiccups along the way, including delayed publication of audited financial statements, which resulted in the company’s shares being suspended from trading, contributed to the delay in the bank acquiring a banking licence.

Having finally published its audited financial statements late last week, BBS Limited Board Chairperson, Pelani Siwawa-Ndai revealed the organisation intends to re-submit its banking licence application before the end of the year.

“The application record has been updated accordingly. All things being equal, we expect to have received a response from the authorities by the middle of 2021,” she declared.

Siwawa-Ndai added that in the meantime, the company is preparing itself for operating commercially by putting in place the necessary operational and human capital requirements.

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Additionally, since the company has published its 2019 audited financial statements, the suspension on trading of its shares has been lifted.

Meanwhile, BBS has reported a loss of P35.761 million during the year under review, compared to a loss of P26.191 million for the nine-month period to December 2018.

However, BBS Limited Managing Director, Pius Molefe insists other performance indicators show the business is still strong despite suffering a loss.

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He pointed out that total savings and deposits grew by 33 percent, from a balance of P2.170 billion (as of 31st December 2018) to P2.885 billion by the end of December last year.

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