Home » Nigeria’s richest banker Jim Ovia gains $24.7 million from Zenith Bank stake

Nigeria’s richest banker Jim Ovia gains $24.7 million from Zenith Bank stake

Jim Ovia's stake in Zenith Bank jumps $24.7 million in 46 days. This rise reflects investor confidence in the bank's strategic direction.

by Timilehin Adejumobi
Jim Ovia

Key Point


  • Ovia’s stake in Zenith Bank jumps $24.7 million in 46 days. This rise reflects investor confidence in the bank’s direction. 
  • Zenith Bank’s share price surges 25%, pushing its market cap above $750 million. Strong Q1 earnings fueled the growth. 
  • Naira devaluation remains a hurdle for foreign investors, despite positive local performance.

Nigeria’s richest banker, Jim Ovia, founder of Zenith Bank Plc, has seen the market value of his stake in the leading lender rise significantly. This surge reflects growing investor optimism about Zenith Bank’s strategic direction within the Nigerian financial services landscape.

Ovia’s stake has climbed by N38.04 billion ($24.67 million) over the past 46 days, fueled by a recent surge in Zenith Bank’s share price on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX). This follows an earlier decline of $13.3 million between April 25 and May 2, when his stake dropped from N184.62 billion ($132.30 million) to N166.11 billion ($119.03 million).

Zenith Bank shares rebound on strong earnings

Zenith Bank, licensed as a commercial bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria, is a leading financial services provider in Nigeria and anglophone West Africa. The bank is Nigeria’s most profitable and one of the largest listed financial services groups on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX).

In recent times, Zenith Bank’s share price on the NGX has rebounded by 25 percent, climbing from N30 ($0.019) on May 24 to N37.5 ($0.024) as of July 10, 2024. This surge has pushed its market capitalization above $750 million.

The positive performance follows strong financial results in Q1 2024. Zenith Bank’s profit surged by 202.3 percent to N676.91 billion ($522.03 million), fueled by robust growth in gross earnings. 

Zenith Bank founder Jim Ovia’s stake rises

Jim Ovia, founder of Zenith Bank, remains the wealthiest banker in Nigeria thanks to his 16.2 percent stake in the bank (5,072,104,311 shares).

The market value of Ovia’s holding has surged by N38.04 billion ($24.67 million) over the past 46 days, rising from N152.16 billion ($98.70 million) on May 24 to N190.20 billion ($123.37 million) as of July 10, 2024.

Your Money and Your Life

Zenith Bank’s share price has enjoyed a positive trend in local currency terms year-to-date (YTD), up 2.98 percent. However, this masks a significant challenge for dollar-denominated investors due to the recent devaluation of the naira. 

Accounting for the currency depreciation, Zenith Bank shares have declined by 44.51 percent YTD. This translates to a tangible loss for foreign investors. For instance, a $100,000 investment at the year’s beginning would now be worth $55,490, representing a $44,510 loss.

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