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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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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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