Ethiopia: Awash Bank Unveils Plan to Build 12b Br HQs

The Bank is going tall with its new building

Awash Bank, the first private bank in Ethiopia, is planning to build a 50-storey skyscraper, which will spread over a footprint of 8,700Sqm, as its new headquarters with an estimated cost of 12 billion Br.

The new headquarters will be located behind Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation's new main office, which is under construction in Mexico, Kirkos District.

"Currently, we are in negotiations with Addis Abeba City Administration Land Development & Management Bureau, and we are waiting for a letter of confirmation to acquire the land," said Teshaye Shifraw, CEO of Awash Bank, which grossed a profit of 3.3 billion Br in the last fiscal year.

The bank plans to spend close to 173 million Br to gain the land, he added.

An official from the Land Development & Management Bureau confirmed they have processed the bank's land inquiry proposal, and the cabinet has come to a decision.

"Currently, we are in negotiations with Addis Abeba City Administration Land Development & Management Bureau, and we are waiting for a letter of confirmation to acquire the land," said Teshaye Shifraw, CEO of Awash Bank, which grossed a profit of 3.3 billion Br in the last fiscal year.

The official also added that in the next few days they are going to finalise the procedure by signing an agreement.

"The construction of the building depends on the result of the soil test that will be conducted on the spot," said Yohannes Mergu, chief information officer of Awash Bank.

The new headquarters will solve Awash's current issue of its offices working at maximum capacity by housing most employees under one roof.

It is expected to also feature amenities including walking trails that run through the heart of the facility, a massive park, a fitness center, a clinic, a restaurant, meeting halls, ample parking space and training centers.

The project is expected to be completed in three to four years and the bid for consultation will be floated within the next four months.

The existing headquarters will remain an asset of the bank.

At the end of last week, Awash Bank and Awash Insurance Company S.C. celebrated the achievements of major milestones at their 25th anniversary ceremony held at their headquarters.

The ceremony was followed by inaugurating a grand light box fixed at the main gate of the headquarters.

Throughout October and November there will be recurring events to mark the occasion, and the grand ceremony of the anniversary is scheduled to take place on November 23, 2019, at Sheraton Addis, said Tsehaye.

He also spoke about the challenges and accomplishments in the last quarter century. "Today, I hope as we all re-live the path the companies have traveled, we will embrace the past and move forward to the future," Tsehaye said.

Awash Bank was established in 1994 with a paid-up capital of 24.2 million Br. It began its operations in 1995 by opening its first branch on Bole Road (Africa Avenue).

Since then, the Bank has built a network of 412 branches, employing more than 6,100 employees serving more than two million customers across the country.

Through its 25 years, the Bank's paid-up capital rose to 4.4 billion Br with a total of 4,369 shareholders and a gross profit of more than 11 billion Br to date.

"It is obvious that the construction of these buildings will help to attract the workforce and house much of its employees in one place," said banking expert Habib Mohammed.

He suggested that Ethiopian banks are engaging in a rivalry to expand their corporate headquarters. This might backfire if these banks lose their balance on improving their core business service, Habib said.

The balance sheet of these companies is what explains if these banks are investing in real property and providing core service, he added.

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