LETSHEGO DELIVERS STRONG INTERIM RESULTS AS GROUP ACCELERATES ITS DIGITAL STRATEGY

Leading pan-Africa financial services group, Letshego Holdings Limited (“Letshego” or “the Group”) has demonstrated robust financial performance for the period ended 30 June 2021. The Group presented its consolidated half year financial results for the period before key stakeholders during a virtual engagement on the 31 August 2021, set against strong progress in delivery of the Group’s accelerated digital strategy.

 

KEY FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS

 

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

PORTFOLIO PERFORMANCE

SHAREHOLDER RETURNS

  • Profit Before Tax (PBT) up 23% yoy to P544 million (H1 2020*: P443 million)
  • Profit After Tax (PAT) up 28% yoy to P314 million (H1 2020*: P245 million).
  • Net Interest Income increased by 9% to P1.032 billion (HY 2020*: P944million)
  • Cost to Income Ratio reduced to 47% (H1 2020*: 49%), with bulk of digital investment cost only expected in H2 2021
  • Total Assets increased by 25% yoy to P13.3 billion (H1 2020* P10.6 billion)
  • Net Advances up 20% to P11.1billion (H1 2020*: P9.3billion), while Gross Advances grew by 16% yoy
  • Customer Deposits near double to P989million (H1 2020: P499million)
  • Loan Loss Ratio (LLR) remained constant at 1.4% (H1 2020*: 1.4%) with loan book remaining resilient
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  • Return on Equity (ROE) constant at 13% (H1 2020: 11%)
  • Earnings Per Share increased to 13.4 thebe (H1 2020: 10.7 thebe)
  • Dividend Yield increased 17%

(H1 2020: 11%)

 

 

Product performance saw double digit portfolio growth in Letshego’s primary deduction at source (DAS) portfolio of 16%.  DAS customer numbers increased by 19% to 694k (H1 2020: 586k).  The Micro and Small Entrepreneur (MSE) segment remained more sensitive to 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.   

 

Borrowing costs decreased by 9% year on year, following concerted efforts by the Group to diversify its funding base and grow its customer deposit base. Operating income was up 14%, despite the new Delta variant of COVID-19. Non-funded income increased 62% year on year, largely boosted by Namibia’s revised insurance arrangement, increasing overall insurance revenue to 116% to P48 million (P85million). Further diversification in Letshego’s insurance offering will see Kenya, Mozambique and Botswana expand their offerings into life and short-term insurance leveraging the Group’s increasing efficiencies achieved via digitised channels and platforms.

 

Total operational expenses increased 8% year on year to P549 million, while employee costs increased by 6% for the period in line with planned investment in more specialist skills appointments made in product, digital and risk to help capacitate for the digital transformation strategy roll out. Other operating expenses were up by 9%, also driven by the roll out of Letshego’s LetsGO Digital Platform. Digital investment will continue in the second half as the Group seeks to achieve end to end automation and digitisation to deliver 6-2-5 growth targets.

Enos Banda, Group Board Chairman, said, A year ago we announced our Transformation Strategy.The strategy entailed our positive shift towards digitalisation, embedding an Agile culture, and enhancing enterprise risk frameworks. Although the strides we have made in this journey have been inspiring, we are not done. Letshego is still on the march and, on track to achieve its 2025 targets, which are, delivering a marked change in sustainable growth, impact and value for both our customers and shareholders.”

2021 saw Letshego commence the second phase of its 6-2-5 execution roadmap, ‘Plan 2’.  The two-year phase is characterised by increased investment into digital-first initiatives, along with the end-to-end automation of processes and platforms.  This second phase sees a focus on leveraging digital to automate processes end-to-end, diversify our product offering and dramatically enhance customer experience by increasing operational efficiencies and access. In the first 6 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.

 

Letshego’s ‘Plan 2’ horizon will see increased investment into digital and strategic partnerships towards year end and into 2022, supporting further system and product enhancements.  By the end of 2022 will see further expansion of the Group’s vision to develop a foundation for ‘eco-systems’, expanded multi-tier partnerships and digital hubs, all while upskilling and empowering employees and customers with world-class, digital skills that supports sustainable financial inclusion and digital-savvy economies through the launch of the Group’s inaugural ‘Online Learning Platform’ in May.  96% of employees have enrolled and completed over 1700 courses in just 3 months, ensuring the greatest depth of talent to support the Group’s digitization efforts.

 

The Group continues to progress its ‘Programmatic Approach’, a holistic structure that leverages partnerships to maximise value for the MSE segment, while mitigating downside risks in the segment.  Programmatic Approach initiatives include eco-friendly lending solutions in Ghana and Educational Impact solutions in Botswana, Ghana and Kenya.  With partner support, Letshego is increasing products and solutions that achieve a social and environmental impact within targeted economic segments, that include Housing, Education, Agriculture and Health.  Recent partnerships have been launched with IFC in Namibia and Panamax.

 

Andrew F. Okai, Group Chief Executive Officer, said, “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 plan. We are set to improve more lives with digital and social impact solutions within our #LetsGoNation.”

 

The Board has declared an interim dividend of 7.3 thebe per share for the half year ended 30 June 2021.