BOTSWANA – Botswana budget retailer Choppies Enterprises plans to spend 570 million pula ($55 million) to open more stores in Africa in the next 15 months, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

Choppies, a no-frills retailer which has 202 stores in towns often too small to attract larger competitors such as South Africa’s Shoprite, reported a 47 percent drop in half-year profit for the six months to end-December.

Though profit after tax narrowed to 55 million pula, Chief Executive Ramachandran Ottapathu said his firm would expand in the seven countries it already operates in.

The capital expenditure in Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique will be funded mostly from internal cashflows, he said.

“We are not shaken by the drop in profit after tax fall as the company is in a growth phase,” Ottapathu said.

The company plans to spend 120 million pula up to June this year and a further 450 million pula in the full-year until June 2018.

Choppies, which makes around half of its sales in Botswana, plans to open 36 new stores in 2017, Ottapathu said.

Choppies shares on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange, where the firm has a secondary listing, rose 6.35 percent to 3.35 rand.

March 16, 2017; CNBC Africa