Another gaffe knocks on the door of Botswana Development Corporation with potential risk of losing over P200 million worth of assets in the state-of-the-art Can Manufacturers factory in Lobatse.Built at a capital investmet of P126 million the plant, which was inaugurated in 2007 and hailed as a “wise investment,” could soon be liquidated, And already prospective buyers are keeping a close watch on the development.
Infact, the plant, which initially employed 30 people and was expanded at a cost of P76 million some five years ago, already has a suitor. It is none other than the South African entity, Nampak Packaging Company. Botswana Guardian investigations have found that BDC is already negotiating with Nampak, whose queer terns are not to invest locally but to buy the state-of-the-art machines at the factory and relocate them to South Africa.
Nampak allegedly proposes in its terms to then bring its second-hand equipment for use at the Lobatse plant. According to insiders, BDC is standing on one leg and has no lout. Nampak has made it clear that should the embattled investment arm reject tnis offer, they would patiently wait for Can Manufaturers to liquidate and then buy the equipment for a song.
The state of the art machines can produce up to 600 cans per minute and 500 000 cans per day on a double shift. When fully operational, Can Manufacturers was expected to produce approximately 150 million cans annually in two 8 hours shifts 5 days a week. Can manufacturers; main client is Botswana Meat Commission (BMC).
The Lobatse plant was informed by a feasibility study undertaken in 2002, which identified an unmet demand for food cans in the SADC region and justified the entry of additional players in the industry. Some of the BDC investments that went bust include Hyundai, Selibe Phikwe Textile manufacturing companies and Lobatse Tile.
In all the occasions where a local company failed to operate successfully a South African Company has always ended up being the beneficiary. Efforts to contact both BDC and the Can Manufacturers officials for comment were not successful.