Home » Nigeria’s richest banker Jim Ovia’s Zenith Bank posts profit exceeding $500 million

Nigeria’s richest banker Jim Ovia’s Zenith Bank posts profit exceeding $500 million

Zenith Bank raises dividend payout on strong performance

by Omokolade Ajayi
Jim Ovia

Zenith Bank, led by Nigerian banking magnate Jim Ovia, achieved a remarkable financial feat at the close of its 2023 fiscal year, surpassing the half-a-billion dollar profit mark and solidifying its position as Nigeria’s most profitable lender.

According to the recently released annual report, Zenith Bank’s profit soared by an impressive 202.3 percent, reaching N676.91 billion ($522.03 million) by the end of the 2023 fiscal year. This significant increase was driven by a combination of surging interest income and substantial gains from foreign exchange portfolio revaluations.

Interest income increased by 111.9 percent, climbing from N540.17 billion ($416.6 million) in 2022 to N1.144 trillion ($887 million) in 2023, positioning Zenith Bank as the country’s leading lender in terms of interest income. Additionally, trading income from foreign exchange revaluations experienced a significant boost, rising from N212.7 billion ($164.05 million) to N566.97 billion ($437.3 million) during the same period.

Zenith Bank’s remarkable growth

Zenith Bank, a leading Nigerian financial services provider licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, boasts a significant footprint across Nigeria and Anglophone West Africa. Founded in 1990 by Jim Ovia, the bank has played a pivotal role in the evolution and digitalization of the Nigerian banking sector. Ovia retains a 16.2 percent stake in the group, representing 5,072,104,311 ordinary shares.

The bank’s robust financial performance translated into a surge in total comprehensive income, which rose from N196.65 billion ($152.65 million) to N1.05 trillion ($815.06 million). Furthermore, total assets swelled from N12.28 trillion ($9.55 billion) as of December 31, 2022, to N20.37 trillion ($15.84 billion) by December 31, 2023. 

Retained earnings also witnessed a substantial increase, climbing from N625 billion ($486.2 million) to N1.18 trillion ($918 million), solidifying Zenith Bank’s position as the only Nigerian lender with over N1 trillion in retained earnings as of December 31, 2023.

Zenith Bank raises dividend payout on strong performance

In light of this significant achievement and the institution’s dedication to rewarding shareholders, Zenith Bank’s board of directors proposed a final dividend of N3.5 ($0.00271) per share. Coupled with the interim dividend of N0.5 ($0.000386) per share, the total dividend per share amounts to N4 ($0.00309) per share.

This marks an increase from the total dividend per share of N3.2 ($0.00247) paid in 2022, which comprised an interim dividend of N0.3 ($0.0002319) per share and a final dividend of N2.9 ($0.00224) sourced from retained earnings.

The robust financial performance and increased dividend payout underscore Zenith Bank’s resilience and commitment to delivering value to its shareholders amidst a dynamic economic landscape.

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