By Dipo Olowookere
Shareholders of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) have approved the issue of close to $400 million in convertible bonds proposed by the board of the leading African lender.
This was done last Friday during the 29th Annual General Meeting and Extraordinary General Meeting, of the firm in Lomé, Togo, its headquarters.
Proceeds of the exercise, the company said, would be used to strengthen its capital position and also create a Resolution Vehicle to manage Ecobank’s legacy loan portfolio and to optimise the maturities of the Group’s debt portfolio.
“We are delighted with the strength of the support shown for the issue by our existing shareholders, as it vindicates the vigorous action taken to address our challenged legacy assets, as well as indicating their confidence in Ecobank’s future.
“Nevertheless, it is a matter of great regret that the Board was unable to recommend the payment of a dividend in respect of 2016,” he continued.
“Ecobank’s senior management is united in its firm resolve to work urgently, yet diligently, to reinstate cash dividends as soon as ETI’s financial position permits,” Chairman of Ecobank Group, Mr Emmanuel Ikazaboh, commented on the approval.
It was gathered that the convertible bond issue will have a maturity of 5 years and a coupon of 6.46 percent above 3-month LIBOR, with an option to convert at an exercise price of 6 US cents during the conversion period.
The bonds will be on offer to all Ecobank shareholders on identical terms shortly.
Also commenting on the development, the Group CEO of Ecobank, Mr Ade Ayeyemi, noted that, “Despite continued macroeconomic challenges in some parts of the continent, all of our businesses are making meaningful progress, with an ongoing focus on cost discipline, stringent credit control and the increasing digitisation of our services to enhance the customer experience.
“We are proactively resolving our legacy loan issues, achieving $2 million of recoveries from the Resolution Vehicle in the first quarter of 2017. I am confident that these positive developments will be reflected in an improving performance from Ecobank going forward.”
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