Home » Bank led by Nigeria’s richest banker, Jim Ovia, posts $370-million half-year profit

Bank led by Nigeria’s richest banker, Jim Ovia, posts $370-million half-year profit

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Jim Ovia

Zenith Bank, a Lagos-based financial services group founded and partly owned by Nigeria’s richest banker Jim Ovia, has delivered a remarkable financial performance in the first half of its 2023 fiscal year, surpassing investor expectations with profits exceeding $370 million.

According to the recently published financial results, Zenith Bank’s profit in the first half of 2023 skyrocketed by 161.85 percent, surging from N111.41 billion ($141.95 million) in the corresponding period of 2022 to N291.73 billion ($371.7 million) in the first half of 2023.

This remarkable triple-digit percentage increase can primarily be attributed to a substantial surge in the group’s interest income, which increased from N241.72 billion ($306.4 million) to N415.42 billion ($526.6 million).

This was largely fueled by higher income generated from loans and advances to customers, which rose from N163.41 billion ($207.14 million) to N253.95 billion ($322 million) during the review period.

Despite incurring an impairment charge of N207.93 billion ($263.6 million) related to its financial and non-financial instruments, Zenith Bank delivered a remarkable profit in H1 2023. This achievement was supported by a substantial foreign currency revaluation gain of more than N355.6 billion ($451 million) for the same period.

The impressive financial performance of Zenith Bank has prompted its board of directors to propose an interim dividend of N0.50 ($0.00063) per share. This represents a 40-percent increase from the interim dividend of N0.30 ($0.00038) per share paid to shareholders in 2022. The proposed dividend is set to be paid from the retained earnings account as of June 30, 2023.

Zenith Bank, a commercial bank licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, is widely recognized as a leading financial services provider in Nigeria and the anglophone West African region. The bank currently holds the distinction of being Nigeria’s most profitable bank and ranks as the largest listed financial services group on the Nigerian Exchange.

Ovia, the founder of Zenith Bank, has played a pivotal role in the evolution and digital transformation of the Nigerian banking sector.

Ovia holds a substantial 16.2-percent stake in the company, equivalent to 5,072,104,311 ordinary shares.

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