Ecobank calls EGM on reform after criticism by Nigerian watchdog

ACCRA Thu Feb 6, 2014 3:43pm EST

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ACCRA Feb 6 (Reuters) - Ecobank has called an extraordinary general meeting for March 3 to adopt an action plan and reconstitute its board of directors in response to criticism of its governance by Nigeria's securities regulator.

The meeting of one the biggest financial institutions in sub-Saharan Africa will also adopt a resolution on capital raising and amend the company's articles of association, according to a press release.

The bank is under pressure to reform after Nigeria's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) criticised weaknesses in the board's ability to manage its own activities, monitor management, evaluate performance and oversee ethical behaviour.

The SEC report in January said there was an absence of clear vision and strategy at the bank, inadequate transparency in recruitment procedures and conflicts of interest.

"The EGM is to adopt a plan of action to implement the recommendations of the SEC in governance improvement of the company," Ecobank spokesman Mwambu Wanendeya told Reuters.

The meeting, to be closely watched by investors, will be held in Lome where Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, as the bank is officially known, has its headquarters.

The SEC called for the EGM to be held in February. Initially, Ecobank said it was waiting for two governance reports it had commissioned but would try to comply with the timetable.

Those reports had been received and only technical reasons and a desire to give shareholders enough time meant the meeting was pushed to March, Wanendeya said.

Ecobank operates in 33 African countries and is listed in Nigeria and Ghana, two of Africa's foremost frontier markets.

Its pretax profit for the first nine months of 2013 grew 56 percent from a year earlier. Its assets rose to nearly $20 billion in 2013 from $8.3 billion in 2008, according to its website. (Reporting by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Anthony Barker)

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