Jim Ovia Earns $16.8 Million From Zenith Bank Shares

Jim Ovia, Nigeria’s richest banker and a pivotal figure in the country’s banking industry, has seen a significant increase in the market value of his Zenith Bank shareholding, demonstrating rising confidence in the bank’s strategic direction in the financial sector.

Over the last 19 days, Ovia, one of Africa’s wealthiest persons, has seen his share in the biggest lender increase by N25.36 billion ($16.77 million). This jump is the result of rising investor interest in the group’s shares.

The increase follows a $13.3 million decrease in his stake in Zenith Bank between April 25 and May 2, from N184.62 billion ($132.30 million) to N166.11 billion ($119.03 million).

Zenith Bank, regulated as a commercial bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria, is a well-known financial services provider in Nigeria and Anglophone West Africa. It is Nigeria’s most profitable bank and one of the major publicly traded financial services organizations on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Jim Ovia, who created Zenith Bank in 1990, owns a 16.2 percent stake in the financial services business, which includes 5,072,104,311 ordinary shares. He is still Nigeria’s wealthiest banker.

Zenith Bank’s first-quarter 2024 profit increased by 202.3 percent to N676.91 billion ($522.03 million). This growth was fueled by strong gross earnings, which included interest income, fees, and commissions.

Zenith Bank’s share price increased by 16.67% on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX), from N30 ($0.01981) on May 24 to N35 ($0.023085) due to strong financial performance. This gain has increased the bank’s market valuation to more than $725 million, benefiting shareholders such as Ovia, who owns a 16.2% interest in the bank.

Jim Ovia, who created Zenith Bank in 1990, played a major role in the evolution and digital transformation of Nigeria’s banking system. With a 16.2 percent ownership in Zenith Bank, or 5,072,104,311 shares, he is Nigeria’s wealthiest banker.

The market value of his stock has risen by N25.36 billion ($16.77 million) in the last 19 days, from N152.16 billion ($100.59 million) on May 24 to N177.52 billion ($117.36 million) at the time of this report.

Despite a recent comeback in Zenith Bank’s shares, investments face hurdles as the Nigerian naira devalues against the US dollar, resulting in a year-to-date (YTD) fall of 47.69 percent after accounting for devaluation. Zenith Bank’s local currency shares are down 10.26 percent year to date.

The huge currency decline causes tangible losses for investors. For example, a $100,000 investment in Zenith Bank at the start of the year is now worth $52,310, resulting in a $47,690 loss.

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