The President/Chief Executive of the pan-African conglomerate, the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has become the first African entrepreneur to lay claim to a $20bn fortune, thus becoming one of the 25 richest men in the world.
Added to this are his controlling stakes in other publicly-listed companies like Dangote Sugar and National Salt Company of Nigeria, and his significant shareholdings in other blue-chip companies like Zenith Bank Plc, UBA Group and Dangote Flour; his extensive real estate portfolio, jets, yachts and current cash position, which includes more than $300m in recently-awarded Dangote Cement.
Forbes reported that the Nigerian billionaire was now richer than Russia’s richest man, Alisher Usmanov; India’s Lakshmi Mittal; and running neck and neck with India’s Mukesh Ambani.
According to the magazine, he is catching up to such Americans as Google’s billionaire founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
It will be recalled that Dangote Cement had recorded an unprecedented surge in its share price largely due to market response to the company’s impressive results in the first quarter of this year.
Forbes in its report reasoned that other companies might eventually achieve this, but it was going to take a bit of time.
Dangote Cement currently accounts for more than a quarter of the total market capitalisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The second largest company on the NSE is currently Nigerian Breweries Plc, West Africa’s largest manufacturer of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, which has a market capitalisation of $8.5bn.
Dangote made a debut on the Forbes billionaires list in 2008 with a fortune pegged at $3.3bn. His fortune dropped to $2.5bn in 2009 and plunged further to $2.1bn in 2010.
His fortune surged 557 per cent in 2011 to $13.8bn after he took Dangote Cement public. Dangote dropped to $11.2bn in last year’s rankings, but rebounded at $16.1bn this year. Since March, his fortune has jumped another 30 per cent.
Dangote started building his fortune over three decades ago after taking a loan from Sanusi Dantata and started trading in commodities like flour, sugar and cement.