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Zenith Emerges Most Capitalized Bank

Determined to partake in the management of the nation’s external reserve put at over $34 billion and in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s shareholders’ fund requirement of $1 billion, or N130 billion, Zenith Bank issued a Public Offer of three billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N16.90 per share early in the year. On full subscription, the offer was expected to rake in a whopping sum of about N50.7 billion for the bank.

With strong investors’ confidence in the bank, stock market operators and shareholders waited eagerly for the result of the mega offer – the biggest ever in the history of the Nigerian stock market. Expectedly, the offer which ran from 6 February to 20 March 2006 recorded a N53.63 billion subscription. Hence, the offer was oversubscribed. The proceed of the offer as contained in the prospectus is expected to be utilized for branch expansion, improve information and communication technology, ICT infrastructure and to beef up the working capital of the bank.

With a shareholders’ fund of N38.7 billion by 30 June 2005, the successful result of the offer has now taken the bank’s shareholders’ fund to a new high of N92.1 billion. With this figure, Zenith Bank leads in the industry in terms of capital base. The bank has grown rapidly to occupy the fourth place in banking in terms of balance sheet and third on profitability. To justify this impressive growth pattern and performance, Zenith Bank has over the years earned excellent ratings from local and international agencies. For instance, Fitch Ratings has in the last five years rated it AA (long term) and FH (short-term). These ratings reflect its strong domestic franchise, good asset quality and sound earnings record.

On the local scene, Agusto and Company, a leading indigenous rating agency, has for the sixth consecutive year rated Zenith Bank AGG. This suggests that the bank is a financial institution of impeccable condition and overwhelming capacity to meet its obligations as they fall due. Zenith Bank is expected to improve on these ratings according to analysts who noted that the performance of the bank in this financial year has been wonderful. The recent excellent performance award by the Financial Times of London given to the bank is a clear attestation.

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