Zenith Bank’s chairman, Jim Ovia, earned a total of N16.224 billion from the dividends payout of the bank for the 2022 financial year.
With a total of 5,070,127,770 units of shares in his kitty, the founder of Zenith Bank holds substantial share interest far above any other bank group chairman.
To reward shareholders for the 2022 financial year, the Bank’s Board of Directors proposed a N3.20 dividend payout per 50kobo share, the highest dividend payout declared so far in the banking industry. The bank’s total dividend payout amounts to N100.468 billion.
Ovia’s stock holdings is comprised of 3,546,199,395 units of direct shares and 1,523,928,375 units of indirect shares, the highest shareholder accounting for 16.14 per cent of Zenith Bank’s total 31, 396, 493, 787 shares capital, as disclosed in the bank’s Financial Statement for the period ended December 31.
His indirect shares holding declined from 1,525,904,916 in 2021 to 1,523,928,375 units in 2022, implying that he probably sold a total of 1,976,541 units to take some profit from capital appreciation.
Even if he sold at the average price of N20.0 per unit, he may have realized about N40 million in capital appreciation alone. When his earnings are added up together, the business mogul raked in a minimum of N16.3 billion in proceeds from his Zenith Bank equities investment.
The Group Managing Director, Ebenezer Onyeagwu earned N262.963 million from his 82,176,078 units of shares, an improvement over 65,062,844 units in 2021 while his deputy, Adaora Umeoji, holds 68,873,169 units in direct stake and 1,710,123 units in indirect stake. Her shares composition totaling 70,583,292 units remained the same in 2022 as in 2021, and these earned her a total of N225.866 million.
When compared to the earnings of other banks’ Group Chairmen, none comes close to Ovia’s earnings. The Chairman of GTCO, Segun Agbaje, for instance, earned only N99.654 million from dividends in direct shareholding of 32,146,651 units, and N29.39 million from his dividends in indirect shares totaling 9,481,350.
His unit of shares totaling 41,628,001 both direct and indirect remained the same in 2022 as in 2021, implying that no director’s dealing was recorded in his shareholding during the period under review.
The second largest shareholder in GTCO is A. I. Adeniyi who holds a total of 337, 712 consisting of 263,312 units of direct shares and 74,400 indirect shares. His shareholding remained the same in 2022 as in 2021. He earned a total of N1.046 million from the dividends payout.
Tony Elumelu, the Group Chairman of UBA, earned N2.618 billion from his shares held directly and indirectly (N2,618,664,112.90) totaling 2,380,603,739 units. The UBA boss was reported as holding 194,669,555 million shares directly and 2,185,934,184 shares indirectly as of the end of the financial year, December 31, 2022. And his shareholding remained the same in 2022 as in 2021, implying that there was no director dealing with his stake.
The Bank proposed to pay a total dividend of N1.10 per 50 kobo shares (90 kobo final dividend and 20 kobo interim dividend) for the year ending December 31, 2022.
It has to be noted that Zenith Bank reported a series of directors’ dealings on the shares of the bank between December 19, 2022, and April 2023. InsideBusinessNG noted about 12 disclosure filings on directors’ dealings on the shares of the bank within four months.
To guard against insider manipulation of share prices, the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) has a set of disclosure rules on Directors’ Dealing, NGX Rule 17.15 which captures “Disclosure of Dealings in Issuers’ Shares Securities Trading Policy” specifically states that “In the event of directors’ dealing in their shares in the company, or engage in any purchase of shares of the company, the Issuer shall file the following information in that regard via The Exchange’s Issuers’ Portal: (i) Details of all transactions in the Issuer’s securities whether directly or indirectly; (ii) the name of the director and/or any related entities, as well as the counterparties; (iii) the date on which the transaction was effected.”
It further dictates that “All directors, persons discharging managerial responsibility and persons closely connected to them as well as all insiders of the Issuer shall immediately notify the Issuer in writing through the Company Secretary of the occurrence of all transactions conducted on their account in the shares of the Issuer on the day on which the transaction occurred and the Issuer shall maintain a record of such transactions which shall be provided to The Exchange within two (2) business days of The Exchange requesting in that regard.”