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Since listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) back in 2002 Letshego group has raised P646 million from the shareholders while returning P1.9 billion by way of dividends, the group chief financial officer Colm Patterson said on Friday as the group announced its financial results for the half period ended June 30 2017. Letshego, which is the largest Pan-African microfinance group, has this time around seen its profit before tax going up by two percent to reach P498 million while total revenue exceeded P1.2 billion, having increased by 15 percent. The group announced its results on Friday which have been described as satisfactory by both Patterson and Managing Director Chris Low following an acquisition which was made in Ghana during the period. The group, whose core business lies mainly on deduction at source lending mostly to the civil servants, has seen its loan book increase by 19 percent year-on-year and has during the period under review disbursed a total of P1.4 billion in new or top up loans. In order to grow its portfolio Letshego started a financial inclusion strategy in 2013 and this is said to be progressing well. It says its focus is on consumer lending, micro finance banking and savings solutions within its existing footprint.
Market response has reportedly been positive in line with the group’s market assessment and internal forecast on the potential for sustainable commercial returns in the longer term. Areas such education financing, agriculture, low-cost house and tourism are some of the key spaces identified by the group for financing under the financial inclusion strategy. The group has already piloted educational solutions in both Tanzania and Nigeria which include payment, borrowing and savings options whose aim is to benefit the complete educational ‘eco-system’ which includes school bodies, educators, leaners and other associated partners. The diversification strategy has led to the consumer lending segment now accounting for 88 percent of overall loan portfolio while micro-finance sector accounts for 12 percent. Letshego, which recently acquired a banking license in Namibia, expects to raise about P285 million should it list on Namibia Stock Exchange (NSX). The group has already obtained approval from the NSX to list the Namibian subsidiary. As part of the listing, 20 percent of the shares in the company are being offered for sale as part of the licensing requirements for Bank of Namibia.
The Initial Public Offering (IPO) opened on 25 August 2017 and will close on September 22 this year. Letshego Namibia is registered as bank and micro finance group and its business activities are similar to the overall Letshego group. At this stage the group is not certain whether from the proceeds from listing to deploy in the business or distribute to the shareholders.