April 27, 2011
ECOBANK Nigeria Plc will meet with the regulatory authorities to reduce the stakes of parent company - Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) - to comform with the rules of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
The shares were acquired through injection of funds during the regulatory induced consolidation exercise in 2007.
Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Jubril Aku, disclosed this at a media parley in Lagos.
He said Ecobank intends to discuss with the regulatory authorities to allow the bank dilute the higher equity stake of its parent company, which stands at 84.5 per cent in the Nigeria affiliate to conform with the 75 per cent stipulated for quoted companies by the exchange.
The Ecobank boss said the bank would in the near future approach the investing public for the raising of fresh capital, stressing that this would allow local investors to have more stakes than the parent company.
On the waiver the bank got from the NSE before the capital market crisis in 2008, he said Ecobank will soon approach the Exchange to extend the waiver to allow the bank reconsider its planned fund raising from the capital market, which was put on hold as a result of the financial system meltdown three years ago.
He said: "Ecobank will engage the regulatory authorities of the market towards extending the waiver for the bank to reconsider its fund raising from the capital market, which was put on hold due to the crisis in the last three years."
The notice to the exchange for capital raising before the capital market meltdown was suspended following request by the bank that the exercise be suspended owing to the stock value depreciation, while suspension had been placed on the stock movement.
However, Aku said the bank notwithstanding its unsuccessful marriage with First Bank and its botched acquisition of Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN), is still interested in any combination that will give the institution scale.
"Besides the unsuccessful marriage of First Bank, we were one of those that showed interest in taking Union Bank but we were not short listed. We are interested in any combination that will give us scale. Even today if any bank comes, we will discuss if there is any financial benefit," he said.
Ecobank, which operates in 31 countries in Africa, is known for high integrity and has dominance in the regional countries.