Future looks bright as micro-financer expands to four African countries
Botswana-based micro-finance institution, FirstCred Limited reported a major jump in profits for the financial year ended 31 December 2020.
The results were mainly bolstered by the acquisition and consolidation of a 52 percent interest in Finclusion Africa (Finclusion), expanding the Group’s footprint across four African countries.
This also paved the way for strong growth plans, which include the introduction of SMME and other loan products as well as building towards the ultimate evolution of offering all services generally associated with a bank.
FirstCred recorded an after tax profit for the year of P53.7 million.
“We are very pleased with this solid performance, despite a very challenging operating environment. The acquisition of Finclusion expands our operations from Botswana into South Africa, Kenya, Namibia and Eswatini, providing us with regional diversification and significant growth prospects,” said FirstCred Chief Executive Officer, Dudu Garekwe.
“We expect to evolve the business into deposit-taking banking institutions across all operations and have also applied to various regulators for approval of our SMME product in countries where it’s not yet available,” she added.
Group revenue of P92 million achieved in December 2020 remained relatively stable compared to 2019, despite reduced demand in loans because of the current economic challenges.
The acquisition of Finclusion, which was consolidated in the Group ‘s results for the first time on 31 December 2020, increased its asset base to P521 million, compared to P271 million in December 2019 and P160 million achieved the previous December.
Impairments, however, increased to 14 percent in December 2020 from 11 percent the previous year, with the Group saying it has reviewed all loan products with sub-par collection rates of below 98 percent to manage loan book quality.
Financial borrowings stood at P311 million, indicating the Group‘s ability to continually leverage from debt to fund loan book growth.
“Since we took over as new management, we have focused on implementing the right corporate governance processes and procedures, and the rebrand to FirstCred has helped us to install the right corporate culture underpinned by ownership.
“We continue to grow our operational footprint, alongside the introduction of various innovative online platforms and products, to further increase our capability to provide accessible financial services,” said Garekwe.