Group accelerates digital growth in Q1
LetsGo Mall acquires 77% of new customers
Letshego’s deposit portfolio hits P989 million
Home grown Pan African micro lender, Letshego Holdings has posted a solid performance driven the robust digital transformation strategy that the Group has embarked on. Letshego has, as part of its transformation strategy, undertaken strong digitalisation.
The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) top listed micro lender has achieved double digit growth in its 2021 interim results despite the challenges of trading under difficult Covid-19 climate.
The Group Interim financials for period ending 30 June 2021 reflects a promising future ahead. Despite the tough operating environment, Letshego says its Profit before Tax (PBT) climbed to 23%.
The ever determined Group’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Andrew Okai, told journalists during a virtual round table discussion that the digital transformation strategy is on the right track so far. Okai said the company has achieved key positive strides on its quest to digitalise. According to him, the digitalisation strategy has proved that it is the core pillar in bolstering the business.
“The LetsGo mall digital platform also forms the core part of the digitalisation strategy and 77% of the customers on the LetsGo are new. Digitilisation has driven the business resilience. Our first half results are strong, with profit growth above 20% in a challenging environment. We have made significant strides in enhancing our execution capabilities, enabling us to go live with our LetsGo digital platform across 10 countries well ahead of a plan,” said Okai filled with optimism.
Oozing with confidence, Letshego Group head honcho further said they are set to improve lives with digital and social impact solutions within Group’s sprightlier transformative LetsGoNation. Okai revealed that the company estimates to invests USD50 million in its digital transformation. He said the Group will inject approximately USD10 million dollars every year in the next five years.
Letshego reiterated its commitment to advance its digitalisation strategy that enables flexibility, adaptability and operational efficiencies while enhancing an effective risk management framework.
“2021 saw Letshego commence the second phase of its 6-2-5 execution roadmap, ‘Plan 2’. This two-year phase is characterized by increased investment into digital-first initiatives, along with the end-to-end automation of processes and platforms. In the first six months of this year, Letshego has already achieved targeted digital milestones, including the roll out of its LetsGo Digital Platform across 10 markets, giving customers direct access to lending solutions via their mobile phones,” the Group said.
Letshego Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Gwen Muteiwa said the business has done quite well given the volatile circumstances in the markets owing to Covid-19 which subdues growth. Muteiwa said the Deduction at Source (DAS) financial segment continued to exhibit resilience. She further said the Group recorded an impressive performance with strong deposit growth.
“Letshego’s deposit portfolio almost doubled to P989million in the first half (H1 2020; P499m) spurred by the Group’s digitalised payment capabilities (USSD, Cards, Agency & Community Commerce) and deepening strategic partnerships, particularly in Mozambique, Namibia, Ghana and Tanzania,” she said.
According to Muteiwa, the deposit customer numbers grew by 19% to 694k (H1 2020: 586 00), with more than half of the new customers signing up via digital channels while Cost of deposits decreased by a two percent to 13% through the deposit base diversification (H1 2020: 15.06%). On the financial performance, Letshego Group has indicated that its year on year to P544 million.
“Profit after tax rose 28% for the same comparative period. Asset quality remains robust with the Group’s Loan Loss Ratio (LLR) within target range at 1.4%, and the non-performing loans ratio reducing to 5.6% (H1 2020: 7.9%). Strong performance for the interim period was driven by a 20% growth in net customer advances, totalling P11.1 billion,” stressed the micro lender.
Product performance saw double digit portfolio growth in Letshego’s primary deduction at source (DAS) portfolio of 16% and the DAS customer numbers increased by 19% to 694 000 (H1 2020: 586 000). “The Micro and Small Entrepreneur (MSE) segment remained more sensitive to the economic slowdowns with net loan book values dropping 3%. However, MSE profitability improved with recovery and collection efficiencies. Letshego’s Mass Mobile portfolio performed well with a portfolio value increase over 200% year-on-year. Letshego remains well capitalised at 34% capital adequacy ratio, and has a strong liquidity position to support business growth,” the Group buttressed. An interim dividend of 7.3 Thebe, with a dividend yield of 17%, has been declared by the group.