Ecobank Group grows asset base to $8.3b



* Lifts Nigeria's operations with N45b


The Ecobank Group has realised $1.2 billion (N176.4 billion) revenue in its operations last year, against $697 million (N102.5 billion) achieved in the previous year, representing a 60 per cent growth.



Profit before tax however fell from $191 million (N28 billion) in 2007 to $162 million (N23.8 billion) in the period under review.



But the groups' asset base grew from $6.6 billion (N970 billion) in 2007 to $8.3 billion (N1.2 trillion) last year.


The pan-African bank's branches and offices also increased to 610 last year, from 430 in he previous year, while its customer base rose from 1,202,271 in 2007 to1,841,934 in 2008.


"These encouraging figures position the Ecobank Group for better results for our investors," says Arnold Ekpe, Group Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the parent company of the Ecobank Group said.


"Despite the backdrop of much turmoil in international financial markets, we are today a stronger bank, poised to make continued returns for our shareholders," he added.


ETI capital base of Ecobank Nigeria Plc had earlier announced plans to boost the N45 billion through an injection of capital from the Togo-based parent company.


"According to Ekpe, the face of current market conditions, we believe it is appropriate to further capitalise our subsidiary in Nigeria ."


At its last yearly general meeting, shareholders of Ecobank Nigeria approved a capital raising exercise to raise up to N120 billion through a combination of equity and equity-related instruments. The N45 billion infusion from ETI is part of this capital raising.


Ecobank Nigeria has continued its growth plan with its recent acquisition of AIB, following earlier acquisitions of Hallmark Bank and Allstates Trust Bank, which together increased its branches and offices in Nigeria to 243.


Ecobank Nigeria is part of the Ecobank Group, which currently operates in 27 countries across Africa . Ecobank Nigeria accounts for approximately 40 percent of the Ecobank Group's business. -guardiannews

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