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Wema Bank Climbs to Five-Week High on Forecast: Lagos Mover

March 22 (Bloomberg) -- Wema Bank Plc, a Nigerian lender, rose for the third day, climbing the highest level in five weeks after forecasting a return to profit this year.

The shares advanced 9.7 percent to close at 1.47 naira, in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, the highest price since Feb. 15. About 21.5 million securities traded, more than twice the three-month daily average volume, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Wema Bank expects profit of 1.2 billion naira ($7.6 million) for the last three months of this year, it said in a statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday. The lender posted a loss of 1.8 billion naira for the nine months through September last year, according to a Jan. 4 statement to the Lagos bourse.

“Investors are attracted by the forecast, which is a departure from the bank’s recent performance,” David Adonri, chief executive officer of Lagos-based Lambeth Trust and Investment Co., said by phone today. “Its plan to transit to a national bank also points to a good year.”

Wema Bank is raising 35 billion naira through a private placement to fund expansion to a national bank from a regional lender, it said on March 15.

The stock has more than doubled this year, compared with a 19 percent rise in the Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index.

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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