Ecobank Profit Advances as African Lender Continues Cost Cutting

Ecobank Transnational Inc.’s first-half profit climbed 26 percent as Africa’s most geographically diverse lender maintained its efforts to curb expenses.

Net income for the six months through June rose to $244 million from $194 million a year earlier, the Lome, Togo-based bank said in a statement published on the Nigerian Stock Exchange website late Wednesday. Revenue was little changed at $1.07 billion.

“We continued to drive cost efficiencies in our businesses,” Chief Executive Officer Albert Essien said in the statement. Essien steps down in September and will be replaced by Ade Ayeyemi, CEO of Citigroup Inc. in sub-Saharan Africa.

The pan-African lender has shares traded in Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast and operates in 36 countries in the continent. Its cost-to-income ratio improved to 62.5 percent in the first half from 68.1 percent a year earlier. Total assets dropped 0.4 percent to $23.3 billion.

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