The Chairman of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), parent company of all Ecobank subsidiaries, Mr. Emmanuel Ikazoboh, has assured stakeholders that efforts are being intensified to sustain the positive performance recorded by the financial institution going forward.
Ikazoboh stated this while presenting the bank’s 2018 financial report at the 31st annual general meeting (AGM) held in Lome, Togo.
After posting a loss in 2016, ETI bounced back into profit in 2017 and consolidated on that performance in 2018 by growing its profit after tax by 46 per cent to N136 billion.
The chairman said the results reflected the continued discipline in cost management, commitment to risk management and the ongoing clean-up of the bank’s credit portfolio, saying the efficiency or cost-to-income ratio has steadily improved to 61.5 per cent in 2018 despite tepid revenue growth.
He added: “Our capital levels remain adequate. The Group’s Base II/III Capital Adequacy Ratio of 13.6 per cent is above the regulatory limit and each of our subsidiaries is meeting its capital commitments as well. However, your board believes that in the near-term, to meet our planned growth initiatives, and to ensure that we win in key countries such as Nigeria and Kenya, we will need to boost capital levels through a combination of fresh equity injections and the reinvestments of profits.”
According to him, notwithstanding the improvement recorded in the year under review and the importance of paying dividends to shareholders, the board has taken a decision not to pay dividends to shareholders.
He attributed the decision to factors such as the impending regulatory capital requirements of the group and the need to build the holding company’s liquidity buffers.
He, however assured that dividends would be paid to shareholders as a soon as the bank has a strong balance sheet and solid capital base.
“We assure you that while this was a hard decision, it was taken in the best interest of the company. We want to make sure we attend to the capital needs of all our subsidiaries before can start paying dividends.”
Also speaking, the Group Chief Executive Officer, ETI, Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, described the bank’s financial results in 2018 as remarkable in many ways, saying it reflects the meaningful and significant progress they made in the execution of “our Roadmap to Leadership strategy”.
“It also demonstrates the commitment, hard work and contribution of Ecobankers towards ensuring our sustainable foundation for growth,” Ayeyemi added.