Botswana loss-making retailer Choppies to exit 3 more African countries

GABERONE (Reuters) – Botswana budget retailer Choppies will exit three more African markets, the company announced late on Friday, less than a fortnight after it said it would sell its loss-making South African operations for only 1 rand ($0.0680).

The company added that it posted a 445 million pula ($40.8 million) loss after tax in delayed results for the financial year ending June 2018.

Choppies will dispose of its operations in Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya, halving its footprint to just four countries, it said in an announcement through the Botswana Stock Exchange late on Friday.

The group will continue operating in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia.

“Negotiations to sell the Tanzanian subsidiary are at an advanced stage, while the boards have also taken a decision to downscale its operations in Kenya and dispose of the stores to the local operators,” it said in the statement accompanying delayed financial results for the year ending June 2018.

It added that Choppies’ only store in Mozambique would be closed. It ceased trading on September 2019.

Choppies saw its shares plunge by more than 60% last September after announcing a delay to the publication of its financial statements.

The results were delayed after auditors raised concerns with the board about accounting practices for the year ended June 30, 2018 and prior years.

Botswana Stock Exchange CEO Thapelo Tsheole told Reuters on Saturday that Choppies would remain suspended from the bourse until the company releases its results for the half-year period to December 2018 as well as for the full-year to June 2019.

($1 = 10.9170 pulas)

($1 = 14.7075 rand)

Reporting by Brian Benza; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Alex Richardson

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