Gaborone — As the COVID-19 crisis deepens, Managing Director of Botswana Ash (Botash), Mr Kangangwani Phatshwane says the company’s fundamentals are moving in a positive direction with a chance of regression.
In a press briefing held in Gaborone recently, Mr Phatswane said the company’s sales had dropped to 50 per cent since April, with its major product line down to 30 per cent from 70 per cent.
He said the company’s revenue lines had increased to 70 per cent in May, with further increments of 15 per cent in June as the markets began to open up, noting however that this upward trend was forecasted to drop to 75 percent in August.
Mr Phatshwane said the company continued to face challenges, especially as South Africa’s liquor industry had closed down for the second time which significantly affected their product line.
“As you know, liquor bottles are made from sand and Soda Ash, which is our major product line and when that market closes down, we also scale down production,” he said.
He said as an export-led company, Botash had been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that their transport networks, including the importation of experts for technical consultancy, had been affected by the closure of borders. He also noted that the organisation was faced with shortage of machinery spares, which they sourced from the European markets .
Mr Phatshwane said the company had to optimise revenue lines by making revisions to credit lines for its customers in measures geared towards business continuity, while also conserving maintenance capital by P130 million.
He also noted that structural economic deficits of the country were not conducive for value-add services for the company.
He noted that the shortage of value chains was detrimental to business growth and stimulation of supporting industries.
“Clustering of different interdependent industries is key in the creation of efficient value chains,” Mr Phatshwane said.
He said the company was embarking on other product lines with pilot plants already being built.
He expressed reservations that if the COVID-19 crisis did not abate, it would bring about bad results as companies and markets continued to grapple with the pandemic.
However, Mr Phatshwane pointed to the Kazungula project as one of the biggest catalysts in stimulating market development, noting that it would ease distribution networks to Central Africa.
Source : BOPA