Ecobank, the bank with the greatest geographic reach in Africa, is contemplating going global with a listing on an international exchange, potentially London, says chief executive Arnold Ekpe.
In an exclusive interview with Euromoney, Ekpe says: We are considering an international listing. [...] An international listing would help the share price and the perception of the institution.
He says the Togo-based bank has not yet fixed the location of the listing or whether it would be in the form of a global depository receipt (GDR) or a main board listing.
Ecobank, which is present in 32 African countries, was listed in Nigeria, Ghana and Cote dIvoire in 2006. Today the firm has around 180,000 shareholders. But Ekpe says he has been disappointed with the liquidity of the stock following the global financial crisis.
Meanwhile, Ecobank announced it would acquire Nigerias Oceanic Bank in late July in a deal that could increase the banks assets and branch network by around 50%.
As the Oceanic buyout is via a share swap the question of who will be Ecobanks main shareholder has also arisen. The firms biggest shareholders prior to the Oceanic transaction are Russias Renaissance Capital and the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank group.
Oceanic was one of nine Nigerian banks bailed out by the Nigerian central bank in 2009. The central bank has sought to have the nine banks recapitalised and sold to strategic investors.
Read Euromoneys September issue to hear more about Ecobanks growth from the CEO and senior management