Home » Hitesh Anadkat-backed Letshego defaults on $30.5-million loan in Kenya and Uganda

Hitesh Anadkat-backed Letshego defaults on $30.5-million loan in Kenya and Uganda

Botswana-based lender faces financial challenges in Kenya and Uganda subsidiaries

by Omokolade Ajayi
Hitesh Anadkat

Key Point

  • Letshego Holdings defaults on a $30.5-million loan for Kenya and Uganda subsidiaries, raising concerns about liquidity.
  • Letshego Holdings’ total debt reaches $210.95 million, raising concerns about liquidity and funding stability.
  • Letshego Holdings posts a $10.82-million loss in 2023, casting doubt on its operational viability amidst rising debt.

Letshego Holdings, a transnational financial services group based in Botswana and partly owned by Malawian banking magnate Hitesh Anadkat, has defaulted on a Ksh3.9 billion ($30.5 million) loan for its Kenya and Uganda subsidiaries. This significant default marks a troubling period for the lender in the region.

In addition to the defaults, Letshego Holdings has reduced its workforce by 142 jobs in the affected units, just 15 months after issuing a warning about a potential exit from the region due to worsening economic conditions. The lender’s financial difficulties are further underscored by a Ksh1.39 billion ($10.82 million) loss recorded at the end of its 2023 fiscal year, casting doubt on its ability to continue operations.

Total debt hits $210.15 billion

The Botswana-based lender’s total debt stands at Ksh27.15 billion ($210.95 million), which includes the loans defaulted in Kenya and Uganda. The breaches of the loan covenants amount to Ksh3.26 billion ($25.37 million) in Kenya and Ksh658.77 million ($5.12 million) in Uganda. These defaults have raised concerns about Letshego’s liquidity and funding pipeline.

Despite these challenges, Letshego Holdings is taking steps to mitigate the situation. The lender is in discussions with funders and is optimistic about receiving some relief. However, the lender’s annual report for 2023 highlights the potential risk of a forecast cash shortfall of approximately BWP3.5 billion if it fails to secure new funding and roll forward existing facilities.

Letshego’s workforce restructuring

As part of a strategic restructuring, Letshego reduced its workforce in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda by 43, 69, and 30, respectively, while slightly increasing staff in Rwanda. Last year, the lender hinted at possible closures in Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania due to unfavorable economic conditions.

The financial strains and restructuring efforts highlight the challenges Letshego faces in navigating a difficult economic landscape. The company has classified these regions, along with Ghana and Nigeria, as ‘turnaround markets’ and appointed Fergus Ferguson as regional CEO to oversee their recovery.

Hitesh Anadkat holds 2.9-percent stake in Letshego Holdings 

Hitesh Anadkat, a Malawian banking mogul, holds a 2.9-percent stake in Letshego Holdings, making him the largest private shareholder.

In 2022, he received BWP5.71 million ($498,000) in dividends from his stake in the Botswana-based group, which operates across ten Sub-Saharan African markets.

Aside from his stake in Letshego Holdings, Anadkat owns stakes in Malawi’s first telecommunications company, Telekom Networks Malawi, and the country’s first bank, FMB Capital Holdings Plc.

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