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Zenith Bank Gains on Renaissance Recommendation: Lagos Mover

Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria’s second-biggest lender by market value, rose the most in a month after Renaissance Capital recommended buying the stock.

The shares climbed 2.8 percent to 21.08 naira at the close in Lagos, the commercial capital, the biggest gain since Jan. 25, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company has rallied 8.2 percent this year, compared with a 21 percent advance for the Bloomberg NSE 30 Index for Nigerian stocks.

Renaissance recommended clients buy Zenith Bank shares as part of a sub-saharan share portfolio which includes African lenders including Access Bank Plc, analysts led by Herman Van Papendorp wrote in a note today. “Nigerian banks have cheaper valuations.”

Nigeria implemented banking reforms after bank loans to stock market speculators triggered a debt crisis in 2008 and 2009. The central bank fired eight chief executives of the country’s 24 banks and set up a company to buy lenders’ bad debts and stabilize the industry.

Zenith Bank, valued at about 661.8 billion naira ($4.2 billion), reported a more than 50 percent rise in net income to 64.6 billion naira in the third quarter through September, the company said on Oct 22. Sales rose 25 percent to 229.1 billion naira.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at dmbachu@bloomberg.net

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