Financial services group, Letshego Holdings Namibia (LHN), expects investors to show more interest in the company’s shares after it recorded a 17 percent increase in after tax profit to N$385 million in the financial year ended 31 December 2017.
“We expect this to be a natural consequence…on the back of the strong results,” LHN Chief Executive Officer, Ester Kali, said in an interview with the Windhoek Observer.
Letshego’s share price stood at N$3.98 on Tuesday representing a 4.7 percent growth on the issue price of N$3.80.
LHN’s core business, the ‘deduction at source’ borrowing solutions, performed well in 2017, registering a 14 percent loan book growth from N$2,1 billion in 2016 to N$2,4 billion in 2017.
The listed company said it had begun rolling out its banking business, starting with the launch of LetsGo, an all in one solution, on a pilot or trial basis to targeted Namibian customers.
“LetsGo is a simple, all in one, easy-to-access solution or account which is currently being rolled out to 11 Letshego countries across the group’s regional footprint in Africa, including Namibia. As Letshego Namibia continues to invest in digital access channels, the LetsGo solution will become increasingly accessible for the broader Namibian market,” Kali said.
Analysts seem sceptical about the company’s growth prospects, especially that its liabilities include a borrowing of N$63 million obtained on the Namibian capital and that its mother company had pumped in N$100 million in the last financial year. But Kali remains upbeat.
“Our track record speaks for itself. We have been on a positive growth trajectory over the last three years as our results demonstrate and for the record, we are celebrating our 10-year anniversary as Letshego this year, although the business has been in the market for 20 years.”
LHN received a lukewarm response from institutional investors when it listed at the end of September last year.
It had hoped to sell 100 million shares for N$470 million at an initial offer of N$4,70 per share, but only raised N$182 million despite reducing the share price to N$3,80 a few days before the offering closed.
One of the investor’s concerns about Letshego is that it is too dependent on its micro lending business, mainly targeting government workers.
With the economy in recession, there are fears that Letshego’s growth prospects maybe affected by this, however, Kali assured investors that the company is diversifying its business.
“Letshego’s vision is to build Namibia’s leading inclusive finance group. To this end, we have made a deliberate move to diversify the solutions we offer our customers by obtaining a banking licence which will enable us to offer a broader spectrum of solutions - like the LetsGo all in one, solution - thereby allowing us to diversify our business while driving our inclusive finance agenda to the financially underserved communities.”
The company announced a final dividend of 19,20 cents per share for the year payable to all shareholders.
LHN is now the fourth largest company on the NSX by market capitalisation.