BULAWAYO, May 6 (The Source) – Regional retail group Choppies now plans to open 50 supermarkets in Zimbabwe in the short to medium-term buoyed by ‘more than exceptional’ results since it entered the market in 2013.
In a notice sent to shareholders on Wednesday informing them of the group’s intention to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Choppies said its Zimbabwe operations have been exceptional hence the need to expand its operations in the country.
The company announced in March that revenue from Zimbabwe operations grew by 250 percent to BWP395 million ($39,85 million) in the half-year ended December 2014 after an aggressive expansion that saw its units growing to 18 outlets from 13 since 2013.
“The entry into Zimbabwe in 2013 has exceeded all expectations and there is a major expansion plan to ensure an extensive footprint in the country with the objective of opening up to 50 stores,” said the retailer.
Choppies, chaired by former Botswana president Festus Mogae, said the JSE will be an inward secondary listing and that it will maintain its primary listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange.
The proposed listing will entail an issue of new shares and an offer for sale made by certain existing shareholders at a price to be determined by a book build process.
“The Offer price will be subject to the terms approved by shareholders of the Company at the Extraordinary General Meeting of the Shareholders held on 23 April 2015, including that the discount, if any, at which the shares, being the subject of the Offer, are to be issued and sold will not exceed 10 percent of the weighted average traded price of the ordinary shares of the Company over the 30 day period prior to the pricing date,” it said.
The proceeds of the primary capital raising will be used to settle part of current borrowings and to fund the company expansion into existing and new markets.
The group operates 125 retail outlets in Southern Africa comprising 72 stores in Botswana, 35 in South Africa and 18 in Zimbabwe.
It also operates distribution centres in the region.
In addition to the three warehouses Choppies operates in Botswana of 10,000m², 3,500m² and 3,000m² in size, Choppies also has a combined 18 000m² of warehouse facilities in Rustenburg, South Africa, a 6,850m² warehouse in Bulawayo and a 3,000m² warehouse in Harare, Zimbabwe. It said its infrastructure can support over 100 stores in Botswana, up to 100 stores in South Africa and 50 stores in Zimbabwe.
“This infrastructure includes in-house transport logistics and maintenance capabilities. The Group employs in excess of 11,000 employees across all of its operations.”