- Reveals plans of expansion
- Turnstar boasts of strong balance sheet
- Board explores regional investment opportunities
The new Board of Directors at the property titan Turnstar Holdings Limited are determined to hit the ground running, leveraging on the company’s balance sheet for regional expansion to improve shareholder value.
After ratification of their nominations into the board on Thursday 28 July, they told The Business Weekly & Review in an interview on the sidelines that they plan to significantly grow shareholder value at the company. For the new board that is led by Butler Phirie, the most important thing is to establish an investment sub-committee with immediate effect.
“The committee will oversee new investments as well as acquisitions,” Phirie said. “We want to ensure that our level of scrutiny when it comes to making investment decisions is watertight.”
In furtherance of tightening processes, the board has created the position of Chief Operations Officer (COO) who will act more like Turnstar’s Deputy Managing Director and help the MD in terms of managing operations. Phirie said this is crucial, more so that Turnstar will continue to explore investment opportunities to expand shareholder value. “We are going to finalise our 3-5 year operational strategy which will guide our investment and expansion plans,” he added. “For us to do that effectively, we needed the watertight corporate structure,” he said, adding that Turnstar has seen ample expansion opportunities in and outside Botswana.
Phirie takes over from Patrick Balopi
Butler Phirie was appointed Chairman of the Board, having served as a Director since July 2021. He took the baton from Patrick Balopi, who has served on the Board since inception of the company and rejoined it as Board Chairman on 10 August 2016. Two new Board Directors have been appointed, namely Solomon Mantswe and Amaresh Chetty.
Mantswe brings brings over 30 years’ experience in the public service. He was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Botswana Police Service (BPS) in 2021. Some of his key responsibilities include strategic leadership and management of BPS, development and implementation of organisational strategies, directing the Human Resource and Administration department of BPS, policy direction and stakeholder relations. He gained extensive experience in corporate governance through his work as Chairman of Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), a position that he has held since 2017, as well from the various subcommittees of the same board.
Mantswe is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), which is the largest institutional investor in Turnstar at around 44 percent. His directorship at Turnstar was for him to represent interests of the Fund as the Employer Trustee.
Speaking for himself about what value he believes he adds to the Turnstar board, Mantswe highlighted his nine years of being a director on the BPOPF Board of Trustees, saying he has gained invaluable experience in handing large investment transactions that are always based on foundations of good corporate governance and non-tolerance for corruption. “I have also gained decades of experience as a public officer, making me well equipped in terms of leadership skills,” Mantswe added. “Turnstar has highly qualified experts in various fields. As the board, our duty is to guide them, help them drive strategy and ensure good corporate governance.”
Chetty is the Chief Investment Officer at Ngwenya Capital and has in excess of 15 years’ investment and commercial experience across various sectors, including real estate, healthcare and financial services. He has served as a Director at Ascendis Health Limited (JSE Main Board), Sunstone Capital Limited, Pepper Club Hotel Investments, and Rencell. In an interview, Chetty said as an experienced investment professional, he wanted to be associated with Turnstar because he appreciates the value that the company can make as a massive real estate player regionally. “I am actually very impressed by Turnstar’s Loan to Value Ratio, which puts Turnstar in a very good position to acquire financing and expand further,” he said. Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is an assessment of lending risk that financial institutions and other lenders examine before approving a mortgage. Turnstar, according to Chetty, has a very low lending risk.
Strong balance sheet
Further, Chetty said Turnstar also boasts of a very strong balance sheet that puts the company in a very strong position to finance expansions and other investments. “There are ample investment opportunities that Turnstar will take advantage of using its balance sheet flexibility,” he pointed out. “I follow the property market regionally and all over the world. Africa, for starters, is underserved in terms of infrastructural development. I am talking about shopping malls with a convenient proximity to communities, affordable housing, industrial property as well as conference centres,” said Chetty.
Another existing director, Victoria Tebele, also spoke of the flexibility of the Turnstar balance sheet that provides an opportunity for growth. “There is so much need for industrial space regionally,” Tebele said. “Look at economic activities and growth in countries like Rwanda. At Turnstar we want to be part of the African growth story.”
Tebele heads Audit and Risk
She was also appointed as the Chairperson of the Audit & Risk Committee. Tebele graduated from the University of Botswana with a First Class Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) in 1992 and attained ACCA in 1998. She is a Fellow Member of both ACCA and the Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants. She has extensive experience in financial and management accounting, risk management, internal auditing, contracts management, corporate governance and people management in a number of industries, including mining, financial services, beef production and general maintenance in the private sector and parastatals. Tebele has served as a Director on a number of boards in Botswana.
She served as a BICA Tax Committee member from 2004 to 2011. She is currently serving as Treasurer of Botswana Chamber of Mines and is a Board Member of the Bank of Botswana where she chairs the Audit and Risk Committee of the central bank. Tebele believes that she possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in risk management, internal audit and contracts management which will ensure that all transactions that Turnstar enters into are watertight as the company mulls growth. Other directors of Turnstar are Gulaam Abdoola, who is the Managing Director, and Shiran Puvimanasinghe, who is a Chartered Accountant and Chief Finance Officer (CFO) at Turnstar.