File photo: Sia Kambou

Accra - Pan-African lender Ecobank reported a 2013 pre-tax profit of $222 million, down 34 percent on the previous year and said it would not propose a dividend for 2013.

Basic earnings per share from continuing operations stood at $0.60 compared to $1.67 in 2012, the bank said in a statement on Friday. Impairment losses on loans included a $165 million one-off charge to address legacy assets, the bank said.

“Our profitability foEcobank to scrap dividend after fallr 2013 has been impacted by increased impairment provisions. A significant proportion of these relate to certain legacy assets in Nigeria which the company took a conservative decision to fully address,” chief executive Albert Essien said.

Ecobank is one of Africa's largest financial institutions with operations in 35 countries and assets of $22.5 billion, according to the results and the company's website.

The bank saw a months-long leadership crisis that culminated in March when the board removed chief executive Thierry Tanoh and replaced him with Essien, previously the bank's deputy CEO.

Ecobank's profit after tax from continuing operations was $156 million, down 45 percent on 2012, the bank said. Revenue was $2 billion.