Guaranty Trust Nigeria Heads for Highest in 1 Month: Lagos Mover

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GUARANTY), Nigeria’s largest lender by market value, rallied a second day and headed for the highest in a month after saying it may pay an interim dividend for the half year through June.

The stock gained 1.4 percent to 26.20 naira by 1:55 p.m. in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, the highest on a closing basis since June 12. Almost 14 million shares, or 81 percent of the three-month daily average volume, were traded.

The bank’s directors will meet on July 17 to consider results for the first half and the payment of an interim dividend, the Lagos-based lender said in a statement published on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday.

“Investors are excited by the dividend,” Tunde Ladipo, chief executive officer of Lagos-based Valuechain Investment Ltd., said by phone. There’s also “the expectation that the dividend for 2013 will surpass that of the previous year as income rises from expansion,” he said.

Guaranty Trust’s net income for the first quarter rose to 22.3 billion naira ($138 million) from 18.7 billion naira a year earlier, it said in April. Investment and other operating income jumped 53 percent to 18 billion naira.

The lender plans to almost double loan growth to 20 percent this year from about 11 percent in 2012, Chief Executive Officer Segun Agbaje said on April 8. Guaranty Trust, which operates in six countries outside Nigeria, is seeking to open units in East Africa to tap regional growth, he said.

The bank’s shares have gained 14 percent this year, compared with the 23 percent advance in the 10-member Nigerian Stock Exchange Banking Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emele Onu in Lagos at eonu1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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