Turnstar retain dividends to ward-off Covid-19 effects

Kabelo Adamson

Due to uncertainty in the business environment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Turnstar Holdings Limited has decided not to pay dividends for the year ended January 2020.

When announcing the group’s financial results on Monday, the company’s Managing Director, Gulaam Abdoola told shareholders that Turnstar is implementing all the self-help steps available to keep the company liquid and strong.

“We paid an interim dividend of 9 thebe per linked unit for the first half of the financial year in January 2020. The company will not pay a final dividend, as has been traditionally done since the inception of the company,” revealed Abdoola.

He added that the group, whose flagship properties in Botswana include Game City Mall, has made cash flow projections based on best and worse case scenarios.

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“We are confident Turnstar has the financial strength to survive even the worst-case scenario. However, we need to be prudent and retain cash within the company, to tide over these difficult times, when trading conditions are almost impossible to forecast,” continued the MD.

Before the outbreak of Covid-19, Abdoola says his mission was to make Turnstar the largest and most profitable company on the Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) – where they have been listed since 2002.

“We have done a lot of work on our growth strategy in the countries we operate in and have identified new opportunities in other countries. The past 12 weeks have changed the world totally with the spread of the Coronavirus,” Abdoola told shareholders.

Besides eight properties in Botswana, Turnstar Group holds four in Tanzania and one in Dubai.

With the pandemic raging across the world, Abdoola said this year the focus will remain fixed on Botswana. Only after the virus has been brought under control will the company make informed decisions on its future plans.

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Meanwhile, for the year ended January 31, 2020, the company posted what it calls ‘pleasing results’.

Botswana rental revenue is said to have increased by Pula 7.7 million or 5.5 percent while operating costs increased by 3.3 percent.

While the Dubai property is also said to be performing well, the vacancies in commercial office space in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania are reported to have negatively affected the group’s results.

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During the year under review, Turnstar Group registered a profit of P116.2 million, a decrease from P122.4 million registered in the same period last year.

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