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Interim dividend pays off for ETI


January 01, 2006



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<DIV>The decision of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated to pay an interim dividend appeared to have paid off, as the price of the equity not only stabilised, but also appreciated at the stock market last week.</DIV>
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<P>ETI had recorded a price dip the previous week but rallied last week to lead the price gainers with N22.68 to close at N256.38 per share. Stockbrokers attributed the rebound to the interim dividend of one cent per share (about N1.26) dividend recommended by its directors.</P>


<P>According to the market operators, some investors saw the dividend as a good development, signifying that the directors reacted positively to their complaints. Apart from complaints by some investors and market operators that the price was quite high, others advocated that investors who bought the equity at about N300, should be compensated.</P>


<P>The directors, therefore, recommended an interim dividend of one cent per share apparently to simulate demand for the equity. </P>


<P>According to ETI, for investors to benefit from the dividend, their names must have appeared in the company’s register as at December 29, 2006. The positive response of the market to the dividend lifted the equity price by 9.7 per cent or N22.68 per share from N233.70 per share during the previous week to close at N256.38 per share. </P>


<P>Although the Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Arnold Ekpe, had said that the bank was anxious to enhance its shareholder value, some investors ignored the assurance until the interim dividend was declared.</P>


<P>Ekpe had said that investors in the bank should expect higher returns on investments in the future. </P>
<P>He said, “Apart from considering bonus issues, the bank is also considering the option of a share buy-back and raising capital to finance growth, which will in turn, lead to higher profit and dividends. </P>


’¢â‚¬Å“ETI’s business strategy is to build a world-class Pan-African bank with international presence and to expand aggressively into retail and consumer banking.”</P>


<P>According to him, the financial conglomerate had been recording consistent growth in revenue, profits, assets and shareholders’ funds. </P></DIV>

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