Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the President/Chief Executive of the Dangote Group, has been named one of the 25 richest men in the world by the Forbes magazine.
In its most recent ranking of the world’s richest, the magazine said Dangote in moving to the top 25 in the world, Dangote became the first African entrepreneur to lay claim to a $20bn fortune.
Forbes said 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 and is not too far from Americans like Google’s billionaire founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
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.
According to Forbes, Dangote’s increasing wealth has been boosted by the stock value of his largest holding, Dangote Cement, where his 93 per cent stake is now worth $19.5bn. The company becomes the first Nigerian company to achieve a market capitalisation of over $20bn.
Dangote, acclaimed as the richest Nigerian also has controlling stakes in other quoted companies like Dangote Sugar and National Salt Company of Nigeria.
The Head of Investor Relations in the United Kingdom, Dangote Cement, Mr. Carl Franklin, explained in an email response to Forbes that the company’s share boost in the first quarter of 2013 was because it had a huge increase in demand across Nigeria, considerable improved gas supply and ramped up capacity.
Franklin said, “So, Q1 was the first sign of just how profitable we can be in Nigeria. The amazing thing is that 66 per cent of our gas-fired production in Q1 was done at 84 per cent gas. Imagine what would happen to margins if we did the same amount at 95 per cent. This has given investors a good sense of what we can really do when everything goes in the right direction.