• Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Three Nigerian billionaires lost $9.3bn in 2023

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The combined wealth of Aliko Dangote, Abdulsamad Rabiu and Mike Adenuga declined by $9.3 billion in 2023, according to Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires ranking.

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.

Dangote, Rabiu and Adenuga saw their wealth drop by 33.9 percent to $18.1 billion as at 3pm on December 29, 2023 from $27.4 billion on January 30.

A breakdown of the data shows that Dangote’s fortune fell by $4.1 billion to $9.4 billion; Rabiu’s wealth declined by $1.9 billion to $5.7 billion; and Adenuga’s dropped by $3.3 billion to $3 billion.

“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 have lost value.

A Lagos-based analyst who asked to be identified as Demola said the decline in the Nigerian billionaires’ fortunes is largely on the back of the weakening of the naira against major global currencies.

The liberalisation of the foreign exchange regime in June as part of measures to revive the economy led to a large devaluation of the naira.

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

The naira has continued to depreciate against the dollar and other major foreign currencies since then.

The official exchange rate fell from N463.38/$ to N1,043.09/$ as of December 28. At the parallel market, the naira depreciated to 1,210/$ from 762/$.

Forbes reported in 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.

BusinessDay reported three weeks ago that the billionaires in Nigeria increased the country’s wealth by 19.7 percent in one year, according to the latest 2023 Billionaires Ambitious report.

The report by UBS, a multinational investment bank and financial services company, showed that their total wealth rose to $28.5 billion in April 2023 from $23.8 billion in the same period of last year.

“An obvious reason for the uptick in wealth would be the benefit of the stronger oil price, given that Nigeria is usually Africa’s biggest oil producer,” analysts at UBS said.

A recent Henley Private Wealth Migration report projected that Africa’s most populous country would see the exit of 300 dollar millionaires in 2023, up from 200 in 2022.

This will make the country the second-biggest loser of millionaires on the continent after South Africa, which is expected to see a net outflow of 500 millionaires.

Here are further details on the Nigerian billionaires

Dangote

Dangote, founder and chairman/CEO of Dangote Group, ranks second in Africa but first in Nigeria with a net worth of $9.4 billion as of December 29, 2023.

“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.

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. When in full operation, it is expected to have the capacity to process about 650,000 barrels per day of crude oil, making it the largest single-train refinery in the world.

Rabiu

Rabiu is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate active in cement production, sugar refining and real estate. With a net worth of $5.7 billion as of December 29, he ranks second in Nigeria.

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.

Adenuga

According to Forbes, Adenuga, chairman/CEO at Globacom Limited ranks third in Nigeria with a net worth of $3 billion as of December 29.

“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.”