Micro-finance institution FirstCred Limited says it has received approval from the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) to launch a P1 billion Guaranteed Medium Term Note Programme.
The lender says the note programme is fully guaranteed by FirstCred’s parent company, Mauritius-listed financial services company MHMK Group Limited and Zahra Equity Ventures (Proprietary) Limited as a Security Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
“We are very excited by the launch of this P1 billion Note Programme, the first under the FirstCred brand,” said the CEO of FirstCred, Dudu Garekwe. “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
“This Note Programme now positions us for major regional expansion and local growth, as it will allow us to aggressively grow our loan book in Botswana and other countries of operation. It will also allow us to introduce new products and deliver on our strategic imperatives to attract and retain customers.”
Garekwe noted that FirstCred’s strategic imperatives include the introduction of innovative financial solutions, digitisation, hiring and training local talent, as well as maintaining efficient operational processes. Proceeds from the note programme issuance will further be used to refinance or retire existing external debt to enable FirstCred to lower its cost of funding and reduce its cost of capital, said the CEO.
“Going forward, our customer base will include individuals and small entrepreneurs who do not have access to traditional commercial or retail banking channels, in addition to our current customers who are government employed or who are formally employed in the private sector.”
The BSE approval means that FirstCred may issue tranches of notes which may be listed on the BSE or remain unlisted, Garekwe explained. The notes may be in the form of various debt instruments attracting different interest rates such as fixed rate notes, floating rate notes, zero coupon notes, partly paid notes, instalment notes, mixed rate notes, index linked notes, dual currency notes and exchangeable notes.
From time to time, the company may issue notes denominated in any currency. “We expect strong institutional interest in the Note Programme, considering the wide range of debt instruments on offer and the attractive interest rates attached to these,” she said.