South Africa’s PIC Buys 20% of Ecobank

Elias Masilela

South Africa’s Public Investment Corp., Africa’s largest pension fund manager, said it invested $250 million in Togolese lender Ecobank Transnational Inc. (ETI), the continent’s most geographically diverse bank.

“The $250 million share purchase will be affected by the issuance of 3,125,000,000 shares in Ecobank, representing 19.58 percent of the total outstanding number of shares,” the Pretoria-based PIC and Ecobank said in a joint statement e- mailed today. “The transaction will bolster Ecobank’s Tier 1 capital and further enhance its ability to grow its business across the African continent.”

Ecobank has operations in 32 African countries, more than any other lender.

Nedbank Group Ltd. (NED), the South African bank controlled by Old Mutual Plc (OML), said in December it had provided the Lome, Togo-based bank with a $285 million loan to finance expansion and may take a 20 percent stake in Ecobank by the end of next year.

The PIC, which manages almost 1 trillion rand ($127 billion), said last month it will invest as much $6.5 billion across the continent this year after reaping returns of more than 18 percent in 2011.

“With this one investment, we will be immediately optimizing our footprint on the rest of the continent, an action that would otherwise require multiple investments and huge effort as well as resource allocation,” Elias Masilela, chief executive officer of the PIC, said in the statement.

Ecobank closed unchanged at 11.43 naira in Lagos trading, and Nedbank fell 0.6 percent to 169.05 rand in Johannesburg.

Mike Brown, CEO of Nedbank, didn’t immediately respond to e-mailed questions.

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