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ETI shareholders get first dividends in 5yrs

BY: Suleiman Mustapha
Ade Ayeyemi, Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Executive Director of ETI

ECOBANK Transnational Incorporation (ETI) has returned to the path of growth by posting an increased profit of $295 million last year.

This is up from the $201 million recorded in 2020 and represents a 47 per cent rise.

The bank increased its profit before tax to $478 million, increasing by $140 million and driven mainly by gross trade loans across the business.

First dividend in five years

Based on the positive performance by the bank, the board has, therefore, recommended a dividend payment of $40 million to the shareholders. This is equivalent to $0.16 cents per share.

This is the first dividend payment since 2016, when the bank had to strengthen its capital base and build sufficient levels of allowances to cover potential risks.

The Chairman of Ecobank Group, Alain Nkontchou, stated, at the bank’s 34th Annual General Meeting in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, that last year’s results were solid because it leveraged on improved trend from previous years. The bank generated a record return on tangible shareholders’ equity of 19 per cent.

“The year 2021 was a transformational year for the group, and the board is pleased to be rewarding shareholders with a dividend for the first time since 2016.

Transforming business

“Our results show that we are maximising operational efficiencies and successfully transforming our business for sustainable long-term growth.

“As we continue to deliver on our strategic imperatives, we are firmly positioned as the ideal partner for households and businesses to grow and succeed.

The Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Executive Director of ETI, Ade Ayeyemi, said the key drivers for the bank’s growth were the gross trade loans, which increased by 39 per cent to 2.9 billion dollars and was driven mainly by commodity financing.

Roadmap to leadership

According to Ayeyemi, improvements recorded in the bank’s ‘Roadmap to Leadership’ strategy adopted in 2016, were instrumental to achieving the dividends payments.

He said that adopting the strategy helped the bank to clarify portfolios across businesses and maximise value of portfolios, which culminated in a cash dividend of 0.16 cents ($0.0016) per share to shareholders.

Mr Ayeyemi affirmed that the strategy was focused at redefining business segments and building a stronger and more profitable financial institution.

“We transitioned to our ‘Executive Momentum’ strategy while continuing to harvest the expected results from our previous strategy.

“We have become more efficient, addressed legacy loan problems, strengthened capital and digitised our operations for the future,” he said.

Mr Ayeyemi, who has had an outstanding career as CEO of ETI, is credited with implementing the strategic roadmap towards recovery and growth.

Competitive position

He assured shareholders that the bank would continue to defend its competitive position, explore growth opportunities, revisit operational strategy in high potential markets and consider constructive exit from low potential markets.

He added that the bank’s first quarter results for 2022 provided a clear confirmation of Ecobank Group’s continuing strong and sustained performance trajectory.

Mr Ayeyemi said this had reinforced the bank’s reliability and capacity to successfully deliver on its Africa-focused purpose and support for the continent’s economies, regardless of the prevailing challenges.

Financial results for the bank indicate that net revenues for the consolidated group increased by five per cent to $1.8 billion, and profit before tax increased by 174 per cent to $478 million after adjusting for the one-off, non-recurring $164 million goodwill impairment charge in 2020.