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ETI to raise $2.5b from trans-market offer


From Gbenga Agbana, Accra, Ghana


ECOBANK Transitional Incorporated (ETI) has concluded plans to raise $2.5 billion (N295 billion), through a combination of rights issue and public offer, to further upgrade the profile of its services. The move came after the group\'s completion board meeting, held in Accra, Ghana, on Monday.


The offer, which opens on Monday, August 25, has been described as not just the biggest so far on the continent, and the first cross border offer as it is being undertaken simultaneously in the three stock markets on which ETI is listed. These are the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and on the Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres (BRVM), the regional stock exchange in Abidjan.


Details of the offer indicate that 3,763,759,981 shares are being offered exclusively to ETI shareholders at $0.27 per share in the ratio of five new shares for every nine existing shares held as at August 18th 2008, while 5,116,499,328 shares are being offered to the public at $0.29 per share.


This implies that the Rights Issue and the Public Offer are being undertaken at discounts of 20.0 per cent and 12.5 per cent respectively to the 30-day volume weighted average price of ETI shares on all three stock markets.


Approvals for the registration and listing of the new shares have been obtained from the relevant regulatory authorities in Nigeria, Ghana and the Union Economique et Monetaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA).


Ecobank Nigeria Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc and ICMG Securities Limited are Joint Issuing Houses to the offer in Nigeria, while Ecobank Development Corporation (EDC) and First Africa SA (Pty) Limited are Financial Advisers to the offer in all the three markets.


In his remark at the completion board meeting, the Chairman of ETI, Mr Mande Sidibe, disclosed that proceeds of the offer would be utilised to further strengthen Ecobank Group\'s accelerated growth plan to expand its network of branches in countries where it currently operates, as well as expand to other countries thereby consolidating its position as the leading pan-African banking group.


According to him, the increased capital will also help upgrade and modernise the group\'s technology platform.


Group Chief Executive Officer of ETI, Mr Arnold Ekpe said that he expected good shareholder and investor response to the combined offer across the three stock markets considering ETI\'s strong fundamentals.


He also disclosed that ETI recently completed a non-deal road show in which it held over 70 meetings with institutional investors in 18 cities across North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. The feedback from the investors, he maintained, was very positive.


ETI is the holding company of the Ecobank Group, the leading independent regional banking group in sub-Saharan Africa with a presence in more African countries than any other bank, currently operating in 25 countries. ETI was established as a regional bank holding company in 1985 with its head office in Lome, Togo, and it has grown to a full-service regional banking group with over 500 branches and offices and over 8,000 employees across 25 countries in west, central, east and southern Africa.


ETI\'s expansion plan includes the opening of new subsidiaries and branches in other middle African countries as well as representative offices and international banking facilities in the major financial centres that have substantial trading and transaction links with Africa including London, Paris, Dubai and Beijing. - Guardian

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