By Peter Egwuatu
Ecobank Transnational In corporated (Ecobank Group) said it is poised to deliver superior returns to stakeholders as its geographical expansion programmes comes to an end.
Speaking to capital market community on Facts Behind its figures for financial year ended December 31, 2008 at the Lagos Floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) last week, Chief Executive Officer, Ecobank Group, Mr. Arnold Ekpe said, â€œ With our geographical expansion coming to an end, we shall focus increasingly on improving value for stakeholders, customers service, processes, efficiency, productivity and make use of technology to leverage our unparalleled presence across Africaâ€
He explained that during the year under review Ecobank Group raised additional capital to strengthen and support the growth of its subsidiaries, adding that the bank shall continue its strategy of diversification of its business across markets, products and services, and would continue to explore ways of adding value for its stakeholders. While reviewing the performance of the bank, he disclosed that itsÂ revenue grew by 52 per cent to US$ 826 million as a result of a growth in business volumes.
According to him, â€œ We achieved significant growth in deposits, branch network, net interest revenues and fees and commissions. Revenues in our regions experienced substantial growth. Our business in Nigeria grew by 55 per cent. The UEMOA region, comprising our affiliates in French speaking West Africa grew by 44 per cent.â€Ekpe noted that the bankâ€™s other operations in the West African Monetary Zone (less Nigeria) performed well growing by 44 per cent while its Central Africa operations grew by 72 per cent.According to him, â€œ Our newly established Eastern and Southern Africa operations grew by 556 per cent.
Overall, gross revenues (excluding interest expense) increased to US$1,156 million. Profit Before Tax (PBT) dropped by 15 per centtoUS$162 million.Explaining reason for the drop, he said the Bank invested heavily on its branch expansion and technology. â€œ Although we invested US $110 million in this manner and our value added after these investments was US$586 million against US$ 524 million in 2007.â€ he added.Ekpe further disclosed that the Bank is now in 25 countries across Africa, with an increased presence in Central Eastern and Southern Africa .
â€œ We now have in place an unparalleled platform for the distribution of our products and services to customers across Africa.Â In terms of scale, our balance sheet exceeded US$8 billion in 2008. In terms of geography, we now have by far the largest geographical footprint in Africa with a presence in 27 countries. In terms of branch network, we also have one of the largest networks in Middle Africa with over 600 outlets.Ekpe, explained to stockbrokers that ETI is not a Plc but a bank holding company.