Nigeria's Zenith Bank sees return to loan growth this year
(Adds details, quote)
By Chijioke Ohuocha
LAGOS, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Nigeria's Zenith Bank
expects to grow its loan book by 2.5 percent this year as a
recovering economy and a drive to win business with
manufacturers helps to offset a decline in credit in the first
half, it said on Tuesday.
Loans fell 6.3 percent in the six months to the end of June
following a 4.6 percent decline last year, Zenith said on a call
The bank said weak economic growth affected lending last
year. However, as the economy improves it expects loans to grow,
especially as the central bank introduces liquidity to the
banking sector targeting credit to manufacturers.
"For the manufacturing sector, we still see some opportunity
there. We believe that there would be an incentive for the
manufacturers ... and the engagement has started," it said.
Zenith added its retail banking business was also growing.
It posted half-year pretax profit of 107.36 billion naira
($352 million), up from 92.18 billion naira in the same period
Its shares dropped 0.84 percent to 23.75 naira, tracking a
fall in the wider stock market, which was down 0.4 percent.
($1 = 305.0000 naira)
(Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by David Evans and Mark
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