Letshego Holdings Group celebrated their 17 years in anniversary with a classy dinner on Tuesday evening. The company opened doors in Botswana in 1998 and has since expanded into highly lucrative Pan African financial service provider.
Letshego - a microfinance holding company - boasts of 10 subsidiaries in Southern and East Africa. Speaking at the ceremony, the group Managing Director Christopher Low, revealed that when the company was conceptualised close to two decades ago, it started with 30 staff members in a stand-alone office in Gaborone. Now the group employs over 1,300 staff representing more than 20 nationalities.
The group has since then grown in leaps and bounds to become what can be referred to as a national pride, having penetrated the international market to establish itself and rake in profits.
A few years after establishment, Letshego listed on Botswana Stock Exchange in 2002. While the move was to allow the citizens to own part of the group, it also offered growth for Letshego and today it boasts of market capitalisation of around P5.3 billion, the second largest after FNBB.
Letshego services more than 250 000 customers which are being served by its micro lending subsidiaries across the 10 countries. The subsidiaries provide short to medium term unsecured loans to customers employed in the formal sector.
In the six month period ending 31 July 2014, advances increased by 32 percent whereas profit before tax for the same period stood at $556 million while full year for 2013/14 was $97 million.
Looking ahead, the group says it intends to transform its business through becoming a deposit taking financial institution in a number of markets and expanding further into geographies with high growth prospects.
Deposit taking process has already started in Mozambique subsidiary where it has a micro-bank license and has started deposit taking as of February 2014. In Namibia the company has been granted a provisional banking license.
The process of deposit-taking is expected to diversify the group operation model and help to achieve financial inclusion agenda.