Myriam Adotevi, MD Sunu Bank Togo: Our outstanding balance by more than 50% since SUNU Group took over

Thursday, 22 April 2021 17:29
Myriam Adotevi, MD Sunu Bank Togo: Our outstanding balance by more than 50% since SUNU Group took over

(Togo First) - Since it was taken over by Sunu Group in 2018, as it was in an impasse, the BPEC, now Sunu Bank, has been trying as much as possible to get back on its feet. 

Indeed, the losses that the lender accumulated since 2008 - the year in which dividends were last paid to its shareholders - were cleared in the past two years. This small win, according to Myriam Adotevi, MD, Sunu Bank Togo, is the start in the comeback of the bank since it was taken over by Papa Pathé Dione’s Group. A small win, which contrasts a plunge in the value of small shareholders’ investments.

In this interview, Adotevi, former chief of BGFI Benin reviews Sunu Bank’s results in 2020, a good year for the bank and one that offers promising prospects for the resumption of dividend payment.  

Togo First (TF) : Despite the ongoing health crisis, SUNU Bank recently announced a profit of CFA249 million, its first since BPEC was taken over by SUNU Group. What were the main levers that drove this performance? 

Myriam Adotevi (M.A) : This profit was achieved as a result of the strategy deployed when the SUNU Group took over. Activity growth (financing of individuals, liberal professions, SMEs, and large companies) was accompanied by the control of expenses and cost of risk. In the last few years, we focused on investment and upgrading the bank, by, among others, launching digital projects (WhatsApp Banking) to boost efficiency and provide our clients with better services. 

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Togo First (TF): SUNU Bank, which inherited BPEC's liabilities and assets, has one of the smallest loan portfolios in the Togolese banking sector. What are your plans to contribute more to the economy? 

Myriam Adotevi (M.A):  Indeed, while our loan portfolio seems weak, we should not forget that, historically, SUNU Bank inherited a portfolio mostly composed of individual customers; amounts lent to this category of customers do not yield a substantial balance. However, since 2019, we have been financing more SMEs engaged in the agricultural sector, and have more offers tailored for large companies. Our outstanding balance grew more than 50% from 2018 to 2020.

Togo First (TF): In 2020, you carried out an accordion deal, by simultaneously reducing and increasing your capital. What was the point of this operation? How does it impact your new main shareholder, SUNU Participations Holding? What about minority shareholders?  

Myriam Adotevi (M.A): The capital reduction/increase was necessary to comply with banking regulations and OHADA standards related to the level of equity and share capital. It allowed us to absorb a huge part of the loss carryforward accumulated in the past. It is the new shareholder who suffered the biggest loss with the capital reduction and it is also that same shareholder who contributed, solely, to the capital increase that SUNU needed to meet the minimal level of equity imposed. As for minority shareholders, like explained during the general assembly we held in 2020, the deal lowered the value of their shares, but enabled them to expect some dividend in the short term. Also, it should be emphasized that the share values were previously down due to significant losses carried forward.

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Togo First (TF): From - CFA11 billion in 2019, your carried-over losses amounted to - 15 million in 2020, and in that same year you reported a profit of CFA249 million. What does this improvement mean for shareholders? 

Myriam Adotevi (M.A) : The carryforward effectively reduced from -CFA11 billion in 2019 to -265 million in June 2020, due to the capital reduction/increase. And with our profit of CFA250 million in 2020, this carryforward was further reduced to -15 million. 

This is good news for shareholders, in terms of the distribution of dividends. However, it should be noted that small shareholders lost the most because of this situation which lasted for years. Truly, since 2008, no dividend was paid. When the SUNU Group took over the bank’s management, we promised them we would do everything to return to profit and get them their dividends. This is what we, the bank and its whole staff, are now doing. We have recruited new personnel and are leveraging the technical support of SUNU Group.

Togo First (TF): What are the bank’s goals and prospects for 2021? 

Myriam Adotevi (M.A) : We will keep offering products and services of better quality, innovating to meet the needs and expectations of our customers. And we will continue controlling expenses, training our staff, and financing the Togolese economy. 

Interview by Fiacre E. KAKPO

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