How fintech verticals pushed CWG to growth in 2020 amid COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic left many businesses scrambling for emergency strategies to survive. While some were able to sail through, others simply gave up, sent their workers home, and shut the door.

For CWG Plc, one of the few technology companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of N6.4 billion, to close shop was not on the menu neither was merely surviving. Shareholders were counting on them to cushion the impact of the pandemic on their investment.

Recently, CWG released its financial statement for 2020 to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) which showed its business posted a profit after tax (PAT) of N487 million, representing a growth of 570 percent from 2019 where it recorded N72.7 million in profit. The company recorded a revenue of N11.8 billion and a gross profit of N2.6 billion, representing an increase of 23.4 percent and 13.9 percent respectively, year-on-year. Apart from recording growth, the financial statement showed that CWG’S operating expenses dropped by 24.4 percent to N1.8 billion. The company’s EBITDA, EBIT, and PBT stood at N888 million, N636 million, and N546 million, respectively.

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However, much of the progress it made in 2020 was down to two financial technology (fintech) businesses – Vericash and Billsnpay. The company said it completed over 160 million transactions on Vericash, a banking software that offers mobile banking and wallet solutions. Billsnpay, the bill’s presentment and vending platform delivered over 38 million transaction counts, processed over N27 billion worth of transactions with over 5,000 users of the mobile app, and over 500 percent increase in earnings from 2018.

Unlike many businesses, CWG had been experimenting with the idea of remote working before the COVID-19 virus became a pandemic. At the beginning of 2020, it conducted a staff survey which led to the introduction of the ‘Work from Home Initiative’. That survey essentially helped the company understand the work conditions that will be more convenient for the team.

“We also focused on five strategic pillars in the year, which are growth, dividend, brands, liquidity, and profit,” Adewale Adeyipo, CEO of CWG told Businessday. “These pillars have created an essential guide on what we do and how we do it. We evaluate every decision and determine what will be the contribution of the decision on any of these pillars. These pillars have enabled us to create some focus and clarity. It has given us insights into what we need to take seriously and what we need to stop doing.”

Launched in 2014, Vericash is an omnichannel plus digital solution, which allows banks to operate all their digital channels on one platform. Unlike other platforms, where the banks have to start development from scratch, which usually takes several weeks, the Vericash mobile banking platform is simple and fast because of the integration layout which is already developed, allowing a customer to just customise.

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