The Chairman of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) Plc, , Mr. Emmanuel Ikazoboh yesterday assured shareholders that the company would begin dividend payment soon. The Chairman of company gave the assurance at the 30th annual general meeting (AGM) held in Lome, Togo.

ETI, which is the parent company of Ecobank Group, did not pay dividend in 2016 financial year because it recorded a loss of N52.6 billion.

Although the company returned to profitability in 2017 with a profit after tax of N69.992 billion, no dividend was recommended for the shareholders.

Speaking at the AGM, Ikazoboh said the company was working tirelessly to turn around its financial fortunes to enable uninterrupted and growing dividend payments in the future.

“Although we previously signaled that the near-term resumption of cash dividend payments would be challenging, that does little to alleviate the Board’s disappointment and sadness that we cannot reward our shareholders’ loyalty this year. Rest assured that we regard this as a matter of major importance and are working tirelessly to turnaround the group’s financial fortunes to enable uninterrupted and growing future dividend payments,” he said.

According to him, having addressed Ecobank’s largely legacy credit issues, “Our strategic emphasis reverts to maximizing the potential of, and returns from, our Pan-African footprint.”

Also speaking, The Group Chief Executive Officer of ETI, Mr. Ade Ayeyemi said group-wide the company returned to profitability in 2017, which reflects a significant reduction in impairment losses on loans and advances as the company continue to instill discipline in managing its businesses.

“Over the past two years, we have also focused on strengthening Ecobank’s competitiveness and have positioned the group to create shareholder value on a sustainable basis. I am confident that Ecobank’s long-term success is assured,” he said.

Ayeyemi disclosed that that bank’s digital drive was already yielding results with its customers base growing by nearly 40 per cent, bringing its near-term target of 100 million customers within closer reach.
He noted that the need to intensify efforts to enhance shareholder value, saying that the next stage of the bank’s strategy would be galvanising its resources to deliver on its promises it had made to itself and stakeholders.

“We need to fully leverage our inherent strengths as Middle Africa’s leading financial services platform to generate superior equity returns. I am confident that these objectives are eminently achieved in the light of our ongoing rationalisation and asset quality initiatives,” the stated.