Home » Nigeria’s richest banker Jim Ovia’s stake in Zenith Bank grows by $20.4 million

Nigeria’s richest banker Jim Ovia’s stake in Zenith Bank grows by $20.4 million

The surge in Ovia's stake reflects growing confidence in Zenith's strategic direction within the financial services industry

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Jim Ovia

Nigeria’s richest banker Jim Ovia has added another $20 million to his fortune in recent months, building on the impressive gains he saw in mid-March when his stake in Zenith Bank Plc rebounded above $120 million marking a significant recovery from the impact of the recent devaluation of the Nigerian currency.

According to data gathered by Billionaire.Africa, the market value of Ovia’s Zenith Bank stake has climbed by N28 billion ($20.4 million) over the past 19 days. This surge is linked to heightened investor interest in the financial services group, fueled by the recent wave of annual reports released by banks on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX).

The surge in Ovia’s stake reflects growing confidence in Zenith’s strategic direction within the financial services industry. This follows a financial resurgence that saw the value of his stake surpass the $120 million mark amid a 14.56 percent surge in Zenith Bank shares. The share price rose from N34 ($0.021) to N38.95 ($0.0241) between March 6 and 13.

Zenith Bank extends its stock rally

Zenith Bank Plc, a Nigerian lender licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, is not only a leading financial services provider in Nigeria and anglophone West Africa but also holds the title of Nigeria’s most profitable bank. It ranks as one of the biggest listed financial services groups on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX).

Zenith Bank’s shares have risen 14.1 percent since March 13, climbing to N44.50 from N39 (equivalent to $0.0325 and $0.02844, respectively). The recent surge lifts the bank’s market cap back above $1 billion as investors eye the release of 2023 financials and a potential hefty dividend.

Jim Ovia’s stake swells by $20.4 million

Jim Ovia, founder of Zenith Bank, holds a 16.29-percent stake in the lender, totaling 5,072,104,311 ordinary shares. Market data from the NGX shows the value of Ovia’s stake has risen by N28 billion ($20.4 million) over the past 19 days, climbing from N197.8 billion ($144.2 million) on March 13 to N225.7 billion ($164.6 million) as of today’s close. 

This recent gain strengthens Ovia’s position as Nigeria’s wealthiest banker, underscoring his success in the financial services industry. While his leadership has demonstrably enhanced Zenith Bank’s financial performance, solidifying its position as one of Africa’s largest banks, a new era of growth, innovation, and social responsibility beckons as incoming CEO and general managing director Adaora Umeoji prepares to take the reins on June 1, 2024.

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