Choppies escape new tougher penalties

Troubled retail chain supermarket, Choppies will for now escape tougher penalties that came into effect at the beginning of the month.

The under-fire store has still not published it financial results, due at the end of last September – a misdemeanor that resulted in Choppies’ suspension from the stock market.

According to the new listing requirements, a company that fails to publish its financial statements will be put on a Default Board.

In addition, companies that violate the revamped rules will attract a daily fine of P500.

Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) has also increased the maximum fine to P150, 000.

However, the newly introduced regulations state that listed companies with securities already suspended from trading shall not be charged the penalty.

This effectively means Choppies will escape the penalty as trading of its shares has been suspended on both BSEL and Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), where it is secondary listed, since November.

Nonetheless, this will not be the case for future defaulters, as according to the new rules a listed company that fails to publish its financial results within the required period will have its securities moved to Default Board.

It is now over three months since Choppies, which has over 200 stores across the continent, the majority of which are based in Botswana and South Africa, were meant to publish its financial results.

To date, Choppies has failed to adequately explain the reasons for the continued delay in publicizing its results, leaving shareholders in total darkness.

The enterprise’s year ends in June and according to listing requirements, financial results are supposed to be released three months from the year-end.

In December, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Sanooj Pullarote quit, with Heinrich Stander appointed to replace him.

Speaking to Voice Money this week, BSEL CEO, Thapelo Tsheole revealed that Choppies securities remain on suspension as they are still sorting out their financial issues.

He confirmed that the chain supermarket will not be affected by the new listings rules as their matter is for last year, noting it would be unfair to impose the new regulations on it.

When contacted for an update on the matter, Choppies CEO Ramachandran Ottapathu said he was on leave and would only be back next week.

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