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Ecobank Raising $2 Billion by 2013 for African Expansion

Ecobank Transnational Inc., which operates in more African countries than any other lender, said it may raise $2 billion by June 2013 as it seeks further expansion in the continent.

Having been mandated by shareholders in 2008 to raise as much as $3 billion, Ecobank will this year take on another $100 million in loans from the World Bank’s International Finance Corp, about $50 million from “small companies” and a further $100 million from European funding sources, Kolapo Lawson, chairman of Ecobank, said today in an interview at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. “We’re hoping to enter Angola this year and will move very fast if we get our license,” he said. “We may buy in East Africa.”

Ecobank, which is based in Lome, Togo, is present in more than 30 African countries and wants to dominate the retail banking markets in what it calls “middle Africa” -- the region from Kenya in the east to Guinea-Bissau in the west and from just below the Sahara to just above South Africa. In the past six months it has taken a $285 million loan from its South African alliance partner, Nedbank Group Plc, and sold a 20 percent stake to the Public Investment Corp., Africa’s largest pension fund manager, for $250 million.

Ecobank may also move into South Sudan and Mozambique and remains cautious about growing its Zimbabwean operations, Kolapo said. Having bought Oceanic Bank International Plc in Nigeria earlier this year with the help of Nedbank’s loan, Ecobank hopes to be one of the top three banks in the oil-rich nation, he said.

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