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Letshego reports double digit growth

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Letshego Holdings Limited has delivered satisfactory results that have yielded good growth at half year for the period ended 30th June 2017. This has seen growth in loans and operating income with Ghana featuring first time since the 100 percent Afb Ghana acquisition in March 2017. The Group’s strategic agenda to build Africa’s leading inclusive finance group, is underpinned by embedding future capability with investment in people and systems to enhance customer experience. Financial highlights for the six months ended 30th June 2017 show total assets increase by 16 percent to P8.7billion from P7.3billion in the same reporting period in 2016.

Profit before tax was P498million, a 2 percent increase from P489million in 2016 and total revenues exceeded the P1.2billion representing a 15 percent increase. The group has declared a dividend of 8.5 thebe per share retaining a 50 percent dividend payout ratio. Group Managing Director, Chris Low commented, “Our most recent acquisition in Ghana is already demonstrating positive results in integration and growth potential, and brings Letshego’s footprint to a total of eleven Sub Saharan markets. “Our positive loan growth will continue to benefit from our increasing diversification into savings solutions, with successful pilot launches in Tanzania and Nigeria’s education and housing sectors.

“Our award-winning agency model currently being rolled out in Mozambique is evidence of our commitment to extending our reach into the most rural areas.” Letshego’s drive to diversify its solutions across existing markets is gaining traction, with a number of educational facilities in Tanzania and Nigeria now enjoying both credit and savings solutions. The Group’s agency network in Mozambique and Tanzania uses a number of different business models, with the aim of increasing access points for customers wherever they may be located.

Mozambique is the first market to pilot ‘Blue Box’, a technology-driven agency banking model which uses biometric authentication to on-board customers, while providing both saving and loan solutions for the under-served community. Low added, “Strategic partnerships remain an important catalyst to achieving our expansion ambitions within all of our markets. “In Rwanda and Ghana for example, we have partnered with a fintech business and local mobile operators to pilot projects which stand to reach many thousands of new customers.

“Home improvement and affordable housing now constitutes 5 percent of our total loan portfolio, a percentage we aim to raise in the medium to long term.” Letshego group’s consumer lending segment is 88 percent of the overall loan portfolio with MSE (micro and small enterprises) at 12 percent. Loans and advances to customers are up 19 percent in Pula terms year-on-year (14 percent excluding Ghana), supported by stable interest margins and cost of funding. The quality of the loan book remains at targeted levels with the exception of Rwanda, where the group has taken additional provisions on a specific segment of the loan portfolio.

Customer deposits grew marginally, however the impact of Letshego customer savings solutions is only expected to reflect in subsequent reporting periods. Letshego introduced new funding lines resulting in a 45 percent increase in borrowings, and a strong funding pipeline is in place to support the business growth going forward. Letshego continues to work towards delivering a meaningful and positive impact for customers and communities, as well as returns for shareholders. The Group’s recently launched campaign entitled ‘Improving Life,’ rewards and celebrates customers for productive and responsible financial behaviour. Letshego remains committed to providing simple, appropriate and accessible solutions to the financially under-served, in a sustainable manner.

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ADB grants BDC P4m for capacity building

Koobonye Ramokopelwa

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BDC head of human capital, Thabile Moipolai

African Development Bank has granted Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) over P4 million for training and capacity building of its staff members, the latter’s Managing Director, Bashi Gaetsaloe has disclosed.

The grant, which is $400,000 could not have come at a better time for BDC which has just begun a foray into the African continent. According to the Head of Human Capital at the investment arm of government, Thabile Moipolai, the grant will be used in areas such as investment, legal and risk, the three divisions which are considered critical as they continue to push the five -year strategy.

BDC has been given the leeway to invest outside Botswana and already some investments are being made in West Africa. Capacitating the staff in the above areas will come in handy for the African expansion.

Moipolai was answering a question from The Midweek Sun on Friday during the company’s annual stakeholder briefing where operational and financial reports for 2017/2018 were made public. The grant will be utilised in the next two years. BDC has reiterated its plan to continue to invest initiatives which are aimed at developing and retaining staff members.

“As we continue to build a strong BDC for the future, continuous learning and development is critical for our business success and therefore remains a priority area for Human Capital,” BDC 2017 annual report reads.

BDC has also developed a future focused competency based training that will be used to make informed learning and development decisions. “The (BDC) academy will also help BDC produce future leaders that are fluid and progressive through a bespoke leadership development,” reads the report.

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KBL announces return of Kickstart program

Koobonye Ramokopelwa

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Previous kickstart beneficiaries

Kgalagadi Breweries Limited, a unit of Sechaba has announced the return of Kickstart, a youth entrepreneurial development program that was suspended three years due to lack of financial resources, Managing Director, Renaud Beauchamp has told the media.

Before the program was put on ice, it had benefited over 70 small medium enterprises with funding, mentoring and market access assistance. According to Beauchamp, the revamped Kickstart will start next year, with an annual budget of about P1, 5 million. “We plan to invest in 15 new businesses every year,” he said at a press briefing which also announced a price reduction for its alcohol brands such as St Louis, Castel Lite and Black Label.

Successful applicants will receive about P200, 000 grants to execute their business ideas. Beauchamp stated that, they have been able to reintroduce Kickstart from ‘freed capital’ as a result of the recent reduction in Alcohol Levy from 55 percent to 35 percent. The clear beer price reduction comes after the Alcohol Levy, which made beer expensive, was slashed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi regime some few months ago.

Meanwhile, Assistant Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment has announced changes in trading hours for businesses that trade with liquor.

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