Choppies expands, but has no immediate ZSE listing plans

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BOTSWANA-BASED fast growing retail chain Choppies, in which Zimbabwe Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko has an interest, says while it has embarked on an aggressive expansion drive in the region, it has no immediate plans for a secondary listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).

Lack of capital on the domestic market has seen few listings on the local bourse over the past few years as investors seek alternative markets with better returns in the region and beyond.

Delisted financial services group BancABC is one company that had its primary listing in Botswana and secondary listing on ZSE before its takeover by a company co-owned by former Barclays Plc chief executive Bob Diamond and billionaire Ashish Thakkar.

Choppies, a Botswana Stock Exchange-listed concern, which has its presence in South Africa, Zimbabwe, is planning to expand its markets to East Africa.

choppies shop

Choppies, a lower-end market retail chain, has taken its fight to big boys such as Pick n Pay, OK Zimbabwe and Spar brands.

“We are not planning any listing. The company is complied with all regulations as it is 51% is owned by local Zimbabweans,” the company said in a written response to Zimbabwe Independent questions this week.

The company said it has fully complied with country’s indigenisation and empowerment law compelling foreign-owned companies to cede at least 51% equity to locals. Mphoko leads the local consortium in Choppies.

As part of the company’s expansion drive, Choppies moved into Zimbabwe in 2013 where most of its stores were acquisitions of the existing Spar network. A year later it opened a distribution centre in Zimbabwe, signaling its plans to grow the business.

The company announced that it also sees growth in Kenya and Tanzania as it grows its footprint across the continent.
The retail chain was established in 1986 in Lobatse. The first store was Wayside supermarket and 1993 saw the opening of a second store in the same town.

Last month Choppies reported revenue in its Zimbabwe operations rose to US$82 million (BWP 863 million) in the full-year to June 30 despite weakening aggregate demand in the economy.

“The dollarised Zimbabwe economy remains fragile. Average basket sizes dropped considerably but footfall growth was very strong indicating a growing popularity of the Choppies brand,” the group said in its financials.-Staff Writer

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