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Letshego delivers robust 2020 financials amid Covid-19 crisis

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, Letshego demonstrated strong business resilience and effective risk management, resulting in robust financial performance for the financial year ended December 2020.

After a challenging first half, the second half of the year saw the start of a recovery in many economies across the group’s footprint, albeit constrained again by a second wave that emerged towards the end of the year, and into 2021. Despite the challenging economic environment, Letshego delivered profit before tax in excess of P1 Billion, bridging the net year on year decrease from 20% in H1, to a single digit of 9% in H2.

Performance was underpinned by 12% growth in net customer advances, and asset quality improved with an overall reduced Loan Loss Ratio of 0.3%. Business resilience was further demonstrated by a reduction in Non-Performing Loans to 5.3%.

Customer access was maintained and enhanced during the financial period under review, thanks to fast tracking of the digitalisation of systems and channels. The group also improved its business performance in the second half of the year compared to the first half.

Net interest income was P1.9 Billion (FY 2019: P2.1 Billion). The outcome, Letshego says, was better than expected with increased pay-out volumes experienced in the second half, improving on first half volumes that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Second half pay-outs peaked with the highest net pay-outs for the year of P647 Million recorded in October. According to financials released this week, borrowing costs decreased by 8% year-on-year, with the group progressing on its longer term journey to diversify funding.

Non-funded income reduced by 15% year-on-year, mainly affected by the change in Namibia’s insurance arrangement, which decreased by 21% year-on-year following the initial revision in October 2019 to meet new statutory requirements.

Letshego’s total operation income expenses of P1.9 Billion increased by 1% from 2019. Employee costs increased by 9%. These included one-off exit costs as well as the recruitment of senior resources. Other operating expenses decreased by 4%, although increased expenditure was incurred on advertising, COVID-19-related IT costs and consultancy fees related to building the digital platform, a statement on the financial reveals.

The group demonstrated strong full year 2020 credit performance despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Expected Credit Losses as a percentage of Gross Advances reduced from 7.7% in December 2019 to 5.4% in December 2020 in line with impaired portfolio.

“We recorded a low loan loss ratio of 0.3%, down from 1.7% in 2019 and this was attributable to the release of mobile provisions of P105.3 Million, reversal of COVID-19 provisions on the back of repayment holidays, improvement in asset quality, collections, recoveries and the recovery of single exposure employer partners,” reads the FY 2020 financial statement.

Overall, deposits from customers increased by 56% to P664 Million, as compared to the previous year’s P427 Million. Deposit growth was the result of retail deposits increasing by 46% to P315 Million. The group also saw an increase in corporate deposits (66% to P349 Million). In 2019, corporate deposits closed the year with P210 Million.

The financial statement indicates that liquidity remained stable with year-end cash and cash equivalents at P1 Billion. Letshego says sustained interest from international investors and developmental financial institutions continues to support its liquidity and effective management of debt maturities.

With the ongoing credit scorecard optimization, Letshego says mobile loans provisions reduced by P105.3 Million, with the portfolio enjoying increased stability and continued enhancement in credit risk management. The group indicated in its financial statement that, repayment holidays were granted for loans amounting to P683.7 Million at June comprising of 7% of the group’s total loan portfolio, with additional relief provided via loan restructures.

The group recovered P35 Million during the financial period, with major contributions from improved employer contributions in Eswatini and general provision reversals post closure of payment holiday support.

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China’s GDP expands 3% in 2022 despite various pressures

2nd February 2023
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 3% year-on-year to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.93 trillion) in 2022 despite being mired in various growth pressures, according to data from the National Bureau Statistics.

The annual growth rate beat a median economist forecast of 2.8% as polled by Reuters. The country’s fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.9% also surpassed expectations for a 1.8% increase.

In 2022, the Chinese economy encountered more difficulties and challenges than was expected amid a complex domestic and international situation. However, NBS said economic growth stabilized after various measures were taken to shore up growth.

Industrial output rose 3.6% in 2022 over the previous year, while retail sales slightly shrank by 0.2% data show that fixed-asset investment increased 5.1% over 2021, with a 9.1% hike in manufacturing investment but a 10% fall in property investment.

China created 12.06 million new jobs in urban regions throughout the year, surpassing its annual target of 11 million, and officials have stressed the importance of continuing an employment-first policy in 2023.

Meanwhile, China tourism market is a step closer to robust recovery. Tourism operators are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.

On January 27, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, they year before the pandemic hit.

According to the report, tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan ($55.41 billion), a year-on-year rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the Ministry said.

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Jewellery manufacturing plant to create over 100 jobs

30th January 2023

The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.

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Investors inject capital into Tsodilo Resources Company

25th January 2023

Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.

According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.

The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.

Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.

Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.

Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana.  The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.

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