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21.03.2007 Business & Finance

Ecobank Transnational To Raise $300m

ECOBANK Transnational Incorporated (ETI) is to raise $300 million from the capital market to finance its Pan-African expansion programme.

The ETI is listed on three bourses in the sub-region, namely the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), the Nigerian Stock Market and the Abidjan-based BRVM.

The West and Central African bank with a strong financial muscle has set its eyes on firmly establishing its presence in Central, East and Southern African countries through acquisition and collaboration in a bid to become a truly Pan-African bank.

Speaking at a press conference at the end of a two-day board meeting in Bamako, Mali, the Board Chairman of the group, Mr Mande Sidibe, said the bank was on course to become a Pan-African bank without losing its African identity.

The bank is represented in 15 West and Central African countries and hopes to open up two more subsidiaries in Soa Tome and Principe this year, as well as other branches in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in the coming months.

“Our objective is to make the bank the first Pan-African group on the continent of Africa,” adding that “our meeting here in Bamako attests to this strategy,” the board chairman said.

Mr Sidibe, a former Prime Minister of Mali, said the bank also had a mission to help deepen the financial sector of the economies of African countries through its knowledge acquired over the years in operations in West Africa.

He said the bank was conscious of its identity and assured the press that the bank would still remain an African bank which was driven mainly by African experts.

Shareholders of the group approved the decision to raise ¢300 million from the capital market at an Extraordinary General Meeting held in Lome, Togo in January.

In addition to the increase in capital the general meeting also approved a split of the company's shares and amendment of its articles of association to better protect its shareholders in view of the triple listing of the group on the three stock exchanges in the sub-region.

The Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Arnold Ekpe, said “the bank sees itself as an institution that has a part to play in the development of African economies” and added that the African continent is making significant gains”.

He said the planned sourcing of funds from the capital markets was also to give an opportunity to the bank's shareholders to further invest in the group, while giving the shareholders good returns.

Mr Ekpe added that the funds would also be used to finance the retail end of the bank's strategy to make banking more convenient and accessible to the unbank publics.

“Ecobank is investing significantly in the retail banking sector,” he said, stressing that it was the bank's way of facilitating business growth and development.

Mr Ekpe said the group had also developed many products that addressed the needs of businesses and stated that the group would therefore continue to review its structures and strategies to be ahead of competition.

Story by Boahene Asamoah