posted by www.equatorialguineaonline.com
By Michael Eboh
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, ETI, parent company of Ecobank Nigeria Plc, has said that it is set to further expand its operations across Africa, as it plans to commence banking operations in Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique and Angola.
Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Arnold Ekpe, in his address to shareholders in its 2010 annual general meeting, said that the bank is targeting modest geographical expansion in the years ahead and plans to increase its branch network in Nigeria, Coted’Ivoire and Cameroon.
He said, “Whilst most of our geographical growth is behind us, we expect to see modest geographical expansion in the coming years. The emphasis remains to integrate and optimise our unrivalled operating platform.
“We expect to add a few countries in the medium term to our operating network, namely Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique and Angola which form part of our core Africa geography.
To pursue its growth plans, he said that the bank’s retail and corporate banks are focussed on ensuring a significant increase in its customer base, while it also announced plans to ensure a significant growth in its Automated Teller Machines, ATM, and Point of Sale, POS, network to further expand its distribution capacity.
The bank, in its financial performance for the year 2010, recorded net revenue of $900 million, rising by three per cent from $873 million in 2009, its profit before tax grew by 67 per cent to $169 million from $101 million in 2009, while it posted a profit after tax of $132 million from $65 million in 2009.
The company declared a dividend of 0.4 US cents per share, which was approved by shareholders of the company at the annual general meeting.
Speaking on the financial performance, Ekpe said, “Revenue growth was driven largely by a significant increase in fees and commissions and a relatively modest growth in interest income from a modest growth in loan volume.”
He noted that the bank has continued to diversify its operations across market customers and geographies. “No single country contributes a majority of our revenues or profitability.
Our largest country, Nigeria, contributes 29 per cent of our assets and 28 per cent of our revenues. Our most profitable country, Ghana, contributes 38 per cent of our profits.
We are working very hard to build our business outside Africa. Our Paris affiliate, EBI SA currently contributes about three per cent of our assets although it is yet to contribute to profitability,” says Ekpe.
He disclosed that the company, as part of its turnaround and growth strategy, has embarked on programmes to strengthen its risk management and controls.
He said, “We believe that competition in the banking industry is bound to return as banks recover from the past years of difficulties and that the banking industry will be defined by further consolidation, especially in the larger markets.
“Whilst we believe we have built a network that would be difficult but not impossible to replicate in the medium term, we are now working actively to realise the full value of this network.
“This will require better and more efficient use of our resources and improvement in our technology and processes and most importantly, continued investment in developing and training our people. It will also require us to focus on those countries with larger banking revenue pools.”