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Letshego issues fresh bond in South Africa

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Letshego Holdings Limited has announced that the new Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed bond notes has boosted its total debt issuance to R880 million on the JSE.

The listed micro-lender and also a financial inclusion focused group with consumer, micro lending and deposit-taking subsidiaries across Southern, East and West Africa, said in a statement that it has successfully re-financed and issued new JSE-listed bond notes, raising R655 million in addition to an existing base of R225 million, bringing Letshego’s total debt issuance on the JSE to R880 million.

“The money was raised from a number of South Africa based fixed income investors, and the ZAR bonds are part of the Group’s strategy to diversify its funding portfolio, as well as to create depth in local debt capital markets. Settlement was on 14 December 2015,” reads the statement.

Letshego, group Managing Director, Chris Low said they had initially planned to raise R500 million and it was increased to R655 million due to strong appetite from financial institutions who like and understand the Letshego story.

“The fact that we provide international investors with geographic and credit diversification makes Letshego a good investment-destination for funds seeking sub-Sahara Africa opportunities,’’ said Low. The proceeds of the issue were partially used to refinance R475million of ZAR notes that matured in December 2015, whilst the remainder of the funding will be deployed to growing the Letshego franchise, and its financial inclusion agenda.

The three new ZAR issuances, that include both fixed and floating rate senior secured notes maturing in 2018 and 2019, are part of Letshego’s JSE-listed ZAR2.5 billion Domestic Medium Term Note Programme.

This is in addition to Letshego’s BWP350 million of bonds listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, and MZN72 million in unlisted paper in Mozambique. Meanwhile the company, which operates in 11 African countries, is currently seeking to enter the continent’s biggest economy-Nigeria.

If it gets the nod, the company will acquire 100 percent of a depositing taking institution in Africa’s most populous nation. A similar deal is currently being pursued in Tanzania. 

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BSE upgrades online investor access

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A recent BSE opening bell function.

Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) will this year introduce a new clearing and settlement system, as part of efforts to improve operations of the bourse.

Speaking at the seventh opening bell ceremony, Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the development will help improve liquidity and risk management. In addition, the new settlement system replaces the 2008 system while fast tracking introduction of security borrowing and lending, management settlement guarantee fund, as well as identifiers for companies and instrument.

BSEL has already awarded a contract to a Swedish company to implement the system which is also expected to digitalize Initial Public Offering (IPO), allow electronic voting for listed companies during annual general meetings (AGM) for absent shareholders.

The project, which is expected to take eight months once the two parties sign the deal, is part of efforts to have more online investors access for BSEL. Tsheole also revealed that BSEL website will undergo a revamp this year, allowing it to be more analytic, live feed shares, as they trade.“The tender is already out for the website and mobile application. It is a project that we had hoped to implement last year but because of logistic problems, we could not do it,” said Tsheole.

BSEL further plans to introduce two data display screens at CBD and at the stock exchange.“These will assist with information sharing and keep the market updated,” said Tsheole. Meanwhile, BSEL will not change its Automated Trading System (ATS) until 2022, according to Tsheole.“The system supports our strategy to grow the market and increase the average daily turnover levels to 18.0million per day by 2021,” said Tsheole.

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BSE complies with reporting guidelines

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Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) has become the 5th bourse in Africa to comply and publish Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting guidelines.

The development comes a year after BSEL became a partner exchange of the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchange (SSE) Initiative.“The BSE made a commitment to publish guidance on ESG Reporting. This commitment has been fulfilled.“

We are the 42nd among the 81 SSE Partner Exchanges globally and the 5th in Africa to do this,” said Kgotla Segwe, Market Development Specialist at Botswana Stock Exchange Limited.
Other stock exchanges that have complied with the SSE initiative on the continent are from South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt.

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