• Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Dangote, Rabiu lose $3.8bn as Otedola returns to Forbes’ billionaires list

Nigerian business mogul Femi Otedola back to Forbes billionaire list

The combined wealth of Aliko Dangote and Abdulsamad Rabiu declined by $3.8 billion in one year, according to Forbes World’s Billionaires List 2024.

Forbes’ wealth-tracking platform provides ongoing updates on the net worth and ranking of each individual confirmed to be a billionaire. The value of individuals’ public holdings are updated every five minutes when respective stock markets are open.

Read also: Femi Otedola returns to Forbes billionaire list worth $1.7B in Q1 2024

Africa’s biggest economy has four billionaires on the annual list, while South Africa has six and Egypt five.

Dangote and Rabiu saw their wealth drop by 16.9 percent to $18.6 billion on the 2024 world’s billionaire list from $22.4 billion in the previous year.

A breakdown of the data shows that Dangote’s fortune fell by $0.8 billion to $13.4 billion and Rabiu’s wealth declined by $3.0 billion to $5.2 billion. But Mike Adenuga’s wealth rose by $0.6 billion to $6.7 billion.

Forbes reported last June that Dangote had fallen from his perch as Africa’s richest person for the first time in 12 years. It said Johann Rupert of South Africa, who built a fortune in luxury goods and more, overtook the Nigerian industrialist.

“The decline of Dangote’s fortune comes in the wake of the CBN’s decision to float its currency, the naira, on June 14, abandoning the fixed exchange rate with the U.S. dollar,” it added.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last June merged all segments of the FX market into the Investors and Exporters window, and reintroduced the willing buyer, willing seller model.

The official exchange rate fell from N463.38/$ to N1,278.58/$ as of April 2. At the parallel market, the naira depreciated to 1,260/$ from 762/$.

“The devaluation of the naira would have affected their wealth because the currency has lost its value against the dollar,” Abiodun Keripe, managing director at Afrinvest Consulting Limited, said.

He added that the billionaires have most of their businesses in Nigeria and that when they convert the value of their businesses from naira to dollar, they would record losses.

In January, Dangote reclaimed his position as the richest person in Africa as he overtook Rupert.

Read also: First Bank Holdings appoints Femi Otedola as chairman

The Forbes list also revealed that Otedola, chairman of Geregu Power, returned with a net worth of $1.4 billion.

“All of that gain can be attributed to the return of Otedola, who last appeared on the Forbes Africa list in 2017 when he held a controlling stake in fuel distributor Forte Oil,” Forbes said.

In its latest billionaire index, the American business magazine said there are now more billionaires than ever with 2,781 in all, 141 more than last year and 26 more than the record set in 2021.

“They’re richer than ever, worth $14.2 trillion in aggregate, up by $2 trillion from 2023 and $1.1 trillion above the previous record, also set in 2021. Two-thirds of the list’s members are worth more than a year ago; only one-fourth are poorer,” it said.

It added that much of the gains come from the top 20, who added a combined $700 billion in wealth since 2023, and from the US, which now boasts a record 813 billionaires worth a combined $5.7 trillion.

“China remains second, with 473 (including Hong Kong) worth $1.7 trillion, despite weak consumer spending and a real estate bust that helped wipe out some $300 billion in wealth. India, which has 200 billionaires (also a record), ranks third.”

Here are further details on the Nigerian billionaires:

Dangote

Dangote, founder and chairman/CEO of Dangote Group, maintained his top position as the richest man in Africa. His fortune rose to $13.4 billion — earning him the 144th position.

“He owns 85 percent of publicly-traded Dangote Cement through a holding company. Dangote Cement has a production capacity of 48.6 million metric tonnes annually and has operations in ten countries across Africa,” Forbes said.

Read also: The great transfer:10 billionaires ushering the era of inherited wealth

It added that after many years in development, Dangote’s fertiliser plant in Nigeria began operations in March 2022. Dangote also has an oil refinery, which was inaugurated in May 2023.

Adenuga

According to Forbes, Adenuga, chairman/CEO at Globacom Limited has a $6.7 billion net worth, and was ranked at 409th spot.

“Adenuga built his fortune in telecom and oil production. His mobile phone network, Globacom, is the third largest operator in Nigeria, with 55 million subscribers,” it said.

It added that his oil exploration outfit, Conoil Producing, operates six oil blocks in the Niger Delta.

“Adenuga got an MBA at Pace University in New York, supporting himself as a student by working as a taxi driver. He made his first million at age 26 selling lace and distributing soft drinks.”

Rabiu

Rabiu is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate active in cement production, sugar refining and real estate. His net worth, which is estimated at $5.2 billion, was placed at the 581st position.

In early January 2020, he merged his privately-owned Obu Cement Company with the listed firm Cement Company of Northern Nigeria, which he controlled.

“The combined firm, called BUA Cement plc, trades on the Nigerian stock exchange; Rabiu owns 98.2 percent of it. He set up his own business in 1988 importing iron, steel and chemicals,” Forbes said.

Read also: Meet the South African billionaire joining bid for MultiChoice

Otedola

Otedola made his first fortune in commodities before selling his shares in Forte Oil to invest in the energy business. With $1.4 billion, he ranks 2,152nd on the list.

Otedola is chairman of Geregu Power, a power generation business, and owns more than 70 percent of the shares, according to Forbes.

During 2022 and 2023, Otedola sold down a Geregu stake that was once more than 95 percent to bring on institutional investors, according to Forbes.

“Investors in Geregu include the Nigerian government, the Afrexim Fund for Export Development in Africa and the State Grid Corporation of China. He also owns properties in Lagos, Dubai, London and Monaco, and holds shares in Zenith Bank and FBN Holdings.”