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Time to strike!

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Time to strike!

Nako Timepieces ticking to the top

Since setting up shop in October 2018, business for local watch brand Nako Timepiece has been ticking along nicely.

Famous for its exceptional quality, the up-market product, which sells for P3, 500, is the brainchild of business partners, Gabriel Mothibedi and Tirafalo Otlhogile.

Speaking to Voice Money recently, Mothibedi revealed the enterprise has undergone exciting new developments, including the launch of subsidiary brands.

“We have two other subsidiaries being Nako Corporate where we have corporate packages and offer businesses gifts for milestone celebrations and other events. We have done that for Debswana, for instance, when they were celebrating their 50th anniversary. The watches we produced for them were unique for such,” said Mothibedi, a Design Strategist by profession.

The company has also introduced Nako Foundation, a charity-like organisation dedicated to helping underprivileged Batswana.

“The process is always to establish the company first, build it and make profits and afterwards see how to benefit others. It becomes problematic if you have the desire when you start the company and immediately try to help others,” noted Mothibedi, adding he feels Nako Timepieces are finally in a position where they can extend a helping hand to those in need.

The watchmakers have also sealed a partnership with Monsieur – a high-end clothes shop which will stock Nako timepieces.

Time to strike!
FRESH LOOK: Mothibedi and Otlhogile with DJ Fresh

“Brand partnerships really build depending on what you want you achieve. We are going to take our watches to different stores in Botswana, outside Botswana and to the world because right now we don’t want to be dealing with retail ourselves,” explained Mothibedi, adding the Monsieur partnership is the first of many to come.

The Nako co-owner announced their intention to establish an assembly factory in Botswana but stressed that production would still take place in Switzerland.

“We want at least the straps to be fitted in Botswana and eventually the watches will be made here as well because we are looking to partner with those guys in Switzerland to come and set up in Botswana,” said Mothibedi, who told Voice Money they have already established offices in South Africa, London and New York

He is confident hundreds of jobs will be created once an assembly factory is set up in Botswana, predicting the number will double once a full production facility is established.

When quizzed on the high price charged for one of their watches, Mothibedi revealed they plan to launch a cheaper version soon.

“We are going to introduce a new product which will cater for a segment which has not been catered for before. There are people who would want to own the collection but are currently put-off by the price. Introducing more affordable ones will give everyone an opportunity to own Nako Timepieces.”

However, he maintained that the quality will remain the same but the new ones will be slimmer.

“We will maintain the same level of quality, durability because the issue here is about demographic profiles,” he concluded.

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Business

ABSA in the money

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Bank registers 15 percent profit increase

Two months after its official name change, Absa Bank Botswana has announced a 15 percent jump in profits.

This week, the bank’s Managing Director, Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane revealed that despite the challenges faced by the industry, Absa registered profit after tax of P678 million for the 12-month period ending 31 December 2019.

Highlighting the bank’s success, Finance Director, Mumba Kalifungwa explained it continued on a forward momentum of driving interest income growth through prudent lending across all segments.

“On a gross basis, interest income was up by 10 percent year-on-year (YoY). However, market liquidity in the year was thin and this resulted in increased costs of funds,” he said, adding overall net interest income increased by six percent.

Furthermore, according to Kalifungwa, Absa’s net trading remained flat despite an increase in trading volumes.

“This was due to the tough trading conditions and the global geo political challenges experienced in the year. To this end, in 2019 our net fee and commission income as a portion of total income represented 35 percent of total revenue which resonates with our strategy to diversify our revenue mix,” he said.

When it comes to credit losses or impairments, the bank’s expected year-on-year credit losses decreased by 64 percent in comparison to the prior period.

Kalifungwa attributed this to the Absa’s enhanced collections capability, conservative credit extension to high risk sectors especially in the Retail segment as well as significant recovery from one of their clients.

HAPPY BANKER: Kalifungwa

The Finance Director added that as they continue to pursue growth the overall balance sheet grew by 11 percent, ending the year at a whopping P18 billion.

“For the year under review, our customer loans and advances grew by 13 percent compared to market growth of 7.7 percent. This was achieved by growth in all our segments in line with our growth strategy,” he explained, noting the main driver behind the balance sheet’s growth continues to be loans and advances and customer liabilities which remain key drivers of the bank’s total revenue.

During the period, Absa’s loans and advances to customers increased by 13 percent YoY to P13billion.

“The growth was fairly distributed across the segments in line with our strategy and continues to be focused around prudent lending in our chosen business segments,” Kalifungwa concluded.

Meanwhile, the bank has set aside a total of P231 million as dividends for the year, with shareholders set to receive 25 Thebe per share.

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Business

Local suppliers ally fears of shortages

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Fear marched menacingly into the country this week as the reality of COVID-19 began to hit home.

Botswana, which goes into lockdown this Friday, imports the majority of her basic commodities – including food, beverages and fuel – from South Africa (SA).

With SA embarking on a three-week lockdown last Thursday, it seems inevitable this will lead to a shortage of supplies here.

Although travel is restricted between the two countries, government has announced that movements of goods will be allowed.

However, it is feared the South African lockdown will lead to demand surpassing supply in the country, which in turn will drastically reduce the amount of goods available for export.

With South Africans engaging in widespread panic buying, emptying all the shelves in major stores, this could potentially prove disastrous for local supply.

The rapid spread of the virus, which has already reached many parts of the world, claiming thousands of lives in the process, has had unprecedented effects on the global economy.

While there is fear of shortage of foodstuffs, distributors have allayed such concerns, as they believe they have enough stock to supply the local market.

It will soon be seen if their confidence is well placed!

Claude Hassett, the Managing Director of one of the leading distribution companies, CA Sales and Distribution told The Voice on Wednesday this week that consumers need not worry as CA Sales has triple extra stock to supply the market.

“Besides, trucks are still allowed to get into the country,” said Hassett, adding that they are hoping that the situation will not get worse.

Hassett although the spread of the Covid-19 has affected virtually everyone they have enough stock in the inventory.

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