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First Bank Nigeria Heads to 3-Week High on Earnings: Lagos Mover

April 18 (Bloomberg) -- First Bank of Nigeria Plc, the West African nation’s third-largest lender by market value, headed for its strongest close in three weeks on full-year earnings growth and higher-than-average dividend yield.

The stock jumped 4.9 percent to 10.2 naira, on course for its highest level at the end of trading since March 27, as of 11:53 a.m. in Lagos, the commercial capital.

Full-year profit attributable to shareholders rose 47 percent after deposits grew and bad loans declined, First Bank reported yesterday. Revenue soared 28 percent to 296.32 billion naira ($1.9 billion).

“We like the performance, which affirms our view on the prospects of First Bank in the years ahead,” Abiola Rasaq, an analyst at Vetiva Capital Management Ltd. in Lagos, wrote in a note to clients today. The proposed dividend of 80 kobo per share “translates to 8.2 percent yield and it is competitive to peer average of 7.5 percent,” Rasaq said.

First Bank’s shares have jumped 15 percent this year, compared with a 8 percent rise in the Bloomberg NSE Banking Index, which tracks the performance of Nigeria’s 10 largest banks by market capitalization.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Kay in Abuja at ckay5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net

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