8 November 2018

Botswana: Lobatse Recycler Hunts for Investors

Promoters of local recycling outfit, Green Energy Botswana, have decried lack of investors after struggling for many years to secure a suitable partner for a lucrative deal they proposed to enter into with Babereki Investments and Black Bear fell through in 2017.

One of the Directors, Sajid Khan, told The Patriot on Sunday that together with his brother they have been operating a recycling plant in Lobatse for many years. Their major challenge is that they operate the plant on a small scale using machinery sourced from China due to inability to raise capital and lack of funding from investors.

Hence in 2016, the Khan brothers decided to look for a European investor who would bring internationally recognised machinery and recycling expertise. They identified Black Bear of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands who advised them to find a local company that can raise approximately P200 million capital for the expansion and operation of the current plant with plans to expand countrywide.

"It was then that Babereki came on board as they liked the recycling concept, which would have created over 250 local jobs. We took the Board members of Babereki to meet Black Bear executives in Amsterdam at the beginning of 2017. Despite the high viability of the project, Babereki abandoned the negotiations along the way and nothing has been moving since," an exasperated Sajid said midweek, adding that they have since identified another potential investor in South America who is interested in the carbon black recycling of waste tyres.

"We are keeping our fingers crossed," said Sajid.

Former Executive Chairman of Babereki Investments, Andrew Motsamai, confirmed that Green Energy Botswana were the promoters of the failed partnership with the European recycle giant Black Bear. He said Babereki engaged an external transaction advisor to represent them in negotiations for the deal because they lacked the expertise internally. "It was a good deal but internal trade union politics (at BOPEU, the parent union of Babereki) got in the way. The investment remains viable because there is a lot of waste tyres all over the country, which could be recycled into other products and re-used," he said.

Motsamai said like other deals he brought to Babereki, some of his colleagues in the board must have suspected that he was getting kickbacks from the investors and joined forces to fire him.

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