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Ecobank breaks five-year dividend drought

Shareholders of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the parent company of the Ecobank Group, yesterday approved the payment of a dividend per share of $0.16 cents, the first dividend payment since 2016.

The leading pan-African bank with operations across 33 African countries held its 34th Annual General Meeting (AGM) yesterday in Abidjan, Côte d’ Ivoire.

Chairman, Ecobank Group, Alain Nkontchou said 2021 was a transformational year for the group, thus the decision of the board to reward shareholders with a dividend for the first time since 2016.

“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, and to foster Africa’s economic development, while continuing to grow our revenues and value,” Nkontchou said.

Chief Executive Officer, Ecobank Group, Ade Ayeyemi said: “Our scalable payments ecosystem endows us with low cost-to-serve and the readiness to facilitate the expected huge growth in payments and collections. This, coupled with our intent to be the trade bank for sub-Saharan Africa, makes us a key player in helping Africa’s businesses and economies to maximise the huge opportunities created by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” Ayeyemi said.

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

“We are steadfast in our determination to win for all our stakeholders,” Ayeyemi assured.

Shareholders applauded the group’s impressively strong performance in 2021, which was achieved despite the challenging environment. The group’s profit for the year was $357 million compared with $88 million in 2020, although the latter was adversely affected by a goodwill impairment charge of $164 million. The group’s net revenues increased by 4.6 per cent to $1.757 billion.

Ayeyemi said Ecobank’s ‘one market endless possibilities’ AGM theme underlined the infinite possibilities offered by the African market, especially in the era of the AfCFTA, adding that the bank is ready to maximise this one market with endless possibilities with its customers and clients by providing support to trade and satisfying the financial needs of customers and clients, using its innovative solutions and services.

According to him, with an unrivalled African footprint, strong balance sheet and ability to tap capital markets as necessary, Ecobank’s commercial, corporate and investment, and consumer banking divisions’ continued and effective growth and impact is assured.

Shareholders also approved all the resolution presented at the AGM, including the appropriation of profits, the renewal of the mandates of directors and the appointment of alternate auditors.

This article was first published in THE NATION.

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