Home » Nigeria’s richest banker Jim Ovia’s Zenith Bank stake rebounds above $120 million

Nigeria’s richest banker Jim Ovia’s Zenith Bank stake rebounds above $120 million

Zenith Bank's bullish run elevates Jim Ovia: Nigeria's richest banker secures 16.2-percent gain

by Omokolade Ajayi
Jim Ovia

Jim Ovia, renowned as Nigeria’s wealthiest banker and a key figure in the country’s banking sector, has witnessed a significant resurgence in the market value of his investment portfolio as the value of his stake in Zenith Bank soared above the $120-million threshold amid a recent stock rally.

The surge in Ovia’s stake marks a noteworthy recovery from the impact of the recent devaluation of the Nigerian currency, which saw his stake in Zenith Bank dip below $100 million in February amid the country’s second devaluation in eight months.

The recent naira devaluation is part of a strategic effort to streamline the country’s multiple exchange rate system and attract investment to support its struggling economy. Aligned with market-friendly reforms introduced by Nigerian President Bola Tinubu in June 2023, this move aims to discard the longstanding peg that artificially maintained the currency’s high value.

Zenith Bank’s bullish run elevates Jim Ovia: Nigeria’s richest banker secures 16.2% gain

Thanks to a recent 14.56-percent surge in Zenith Bank shares from N34 ($0.021) on March 6 to N38.95 ($0.0241) currently, Ovia’s 16.2-percent stake in the bank, consisting of 5,072,104,311 ordinary shares, has seen its value rise from N172.45 billion ($106.72 million) to N197.56 billion ($122.26 million). 

Notably, the additional N25.11 billion ($15.54 million) increase in his Zenith Bank stake within the past week solidifies Ovia’s status as Nigeria’s richest banker, maintaining a prominent position among the country’s richest individuals and leading investors on the Nigerian Exchange.

Zenith Bank’s stock rises amid growing anticipation for 2023 financial results

The recent surge in Zenith Bank’s shares, which pushed the market value of Ovia’s stake above $120 million, comes amid anticipation for the release of the group’s 2023 financial results, expected to be accompanied by a robust dividend payment.

Zenith Bank, a leading lender, reported a substantial profit surge in the first nine months of its 2023 fiscal year, with profits soaring from N174.33 billion ($107.9 million) in the corresponding period of 2022 to N434.17 billion ($268.71 million) in 2023, showcasing the bank’s resilience in a dynamic economic environment.

In a bid to expand its global footprint, Zenith Bank is eyeing a significant move into France, signaling its commitment to diversify beyond the African continent. Managing Director Ebenezer Onyeagwu disclosed this ambition during the Chartered Institute of Bankers annual dinner on Friday, November 24, 2023.

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