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Not detracting but re-investing

Johan Mostert, regional buyer at Spar Namibia. (Photograph by Clemencia Jacobs)The perception that Spar, which consists of a chain of retail stores, is taking money out of Namibia is wrong as each Spar store is individually-owned by Namibians who re-invest in the country, says Johan Mostert, regional buyer at Spar Namibia.
“The money stays in Namibia, it does not go to South Africa. We are also part of Team Namibia. Many people think that we only buy our products from South African manufacturers. We do get some of our stock from South Africa, but we support local manufacturers. For example, we buy our maize and pasta from Namib Mills, our dairy products come from Namibia Dairies and Clover Namibia,” Mostert said.
Another perception that Spar is more expensive than other retailers, is also devoid from truth, he emphasised.
Prices differ from store to store as the retailers have price promotions at different times; where as you pay N$18.99 for 500g Kellogs at one retailer, you pay N$19.99 for Bokomo at another, Mostert explained.
He said Spar does not have promotions at the same time as other retailers which might be perpetuating the belief that the franchise is more expensive than other retailers.
“Given this, our prices are on average cheaper than the other stores. In the past, Spar’s known value items – things that people buy everyday – were expensive so it has also been difficult to change this perception,” Mostert told the Economist.
Spar Namibia also conducts monthly surveys as well as quarterly surveys which are conducted by a South African company in order to ensure that the stores stay competitive, he further said.
“We try to cater for every one. We are creating an experience. When a person walks into a Spar shop, the atmosphere must be of such a nature that they love it. Spar is there for Namibians, people just have to go to Spar shops to experience it. Unlike other retailers, the Spar owners are always available; you can talk to them, you can raise complaints directly. Basically, you can build a relationship with them,” said Mostert.
In order to operate under the Spar brand name, shop owners have to comply with all Namibian laws regarding health regulations, taxes and personnel issues – including minimum wages and union membership. Two audits are also done annually by a South African based company, Q Pro, to ensure that the Spar retail stores comply with hygiene and quality standards.
“The audits are very thorough and you need to score more than 60% to pass. I have to say, most of our stores score 75% and upwards. Our standards are very high,” Mostert continued.
Spar Namibia also employs regional operation managers who assist the different branches in staff matters, analyse business opportunities and operations as well as assist with technical matters.
Currently, there are 27 Spar stores in Namibia and plans are under way to open two more.

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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

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20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.