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Zenith Bank first-quarter profit rises 26% on loans

Zenith Bank Nigeria’s third-largest lender by market value reported a 26 percent gain in first-quarter profit on increased lending.

Net income climbed to N23.3 billion ($146.7 million) from N18.5 billion a year earlier, the Lagos-based firm said Tuesday in an e-mailed statement.

Revenue rose 20 percent to N87 billion, while loans and advances increased 21 percent to N1.1 trillion.

Zenith expects costs to rise this year due to an increase in a funding levy by the state-owned Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), which was set up in 2010 to buy lenders’ bad debts, Godwin Emefiele, chief executive officer said April 8.

Read also: Zenith Bank is Nigeria’s largest lender by total asset as valuations remain attractive

Zenith’s first-quarter operating expenses gained 14 percent to N33.9 billion.

The bank, which listed $850 million of global depository receipts on the London Stock Exchange on March 21, expects loan growth of 15 percent to 20 percent this year with opportunities to lend to the manufacturing, power, agriculture, telecommunications and oil industries, according to Emefiele.

Zenith’s shares have climbed 1.1 percent this year to N19.7, compared with the 14 percent rise of the Nigerian SE Banking Index (NGSEB10), which tracks the 10 largest lenders of Africa’s biggest oil producer.