BOTSWANA – Choppies supermarket has resumed trading on the Botswana Stock Exchange after a 20-month suspension following the company’s failure to publish its financial results.

The Botswana based retailer finally released its long awaited audited financial results for the year end-June 2019 on 24th July 2020.

According to the company the changing of its auditors when PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) resigned in September 2019 and replaced by Mazars in February 2020, led to the delaying in publication.

The group also faced legal and forensic investigations as well as the COVID -19 outbreak coupled with the lock-downs in the countries it operates which added to the hold up of results, highlighted the company.

Due to failure of releasing of the financials, Reuters has highlighted that Choppies saw its shares plunge by more than 60% in September 2018 leading to their suspension on both the local bourse and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) where it has a secondary listing.

“The company has now published all its financials up to December 2019 bringing it into compliance with the stock exchange requirements,” the BSE said in a statement.

“BSE wishes to inform the public that with effect from Monday 27 July 2020, Choppies Enterprises Limited securities will resume trading on the market following a decision to lift their suspension by the BSE,” it said

Trading in Choppies shares resumed at 0.69 pula per share, in line with their suspension price. Some 797,000 shares were traded in the opening auction.

As part of plans to consolidate its business and focus on more profitable subsidiaries, Choppies – Botswana’s biggest retailer – has since exited the South African and Mozambican markets.

The company is also divesting operations in Tanzania and Kenya, Chief Executive Ramachandran Ottapathu, but will continue operating in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia.

“We are hoping the JSE will soon lift the suspension … they have to follow what has happened in the primary market,” Ottapathu said.

As Choppies released its audited full year results for 2019, the retailer also published its Interim results for the half year ended December 2019.

The multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer, reported a 15% in profits to P65.5 million (US$5.7m) from P76.6 million (US$6.7m) reported in 2018 the same period.

Its revenue from continuing operations declined by 17.5 percent to P2.97 billion (US$259.5m) while gross margins improved slightly to 22.9 percent compared to 22.5 percent a year earlier following another good performance in the Botswana operations.

Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) decreased by 13.69 percent to P171.5m (US$15m) from P198.7m (US$17.3m) of 2018.

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