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Zenith Jumps Most in Two Weeks as Profit Rallies: Lagos Mover

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April 23 (Bloomberg) -- Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria’s third-largest lender by market value, gained the most in almost two weeks after saying first-quarter profit advanced 26 percent.

The lender rose 2.8 percent, the most since April 11, to close at 20.25 naira in Lagos, the commercial capital, up for a second day. Zenith has added 3.9 percent this year, compared with a 15 percent increase for the Bloomberg NSE Banking Index, which tracks the country’s 10 largest banks by market value.

Net income climbed to 23.3 billion naira ($147 million) from 18.5 billion naira a year earlier, the Lagos-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. Revenue rose 20 percent to 87 billion naira, while loans and advances increased 21 percent to 1.1 trillion naira.

“We were encouraged to see that net loans grew strongly,” FBN Capital analysts led by Olubunmi Asaolu in Lagos wrote in an e-mailed note today. They raised the recommendation on the stock to outperform from neutral, and lifted the price target to 22.50 naira from 22 naira.

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

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

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