The collective wealth of Aliko Dangote, Abdulsamad Rabiu, and Mike Adenuga has surged by $15.5 billion in the current year, according to Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires ranking.
Forbes’ wealth-tracking platform continuously updates the net worth and ranking of confirmed billionaires, with the values of their public holdings refreshed every five minutes during active stock market hours.
Dangote, Rabiu and Adenuga saw their wealth almost double to $33.6 billion as of 3 pm on Thursday from $18.1 billion on December 29.
A breakdown of the data shows that Dangote’s fortune rose by $9.1 billion to $ 18.5 billion; Rabiu’s wealth increased by $2.4 billion to $8.1 billion; and Adenuga’s grew by $4 billion to $7 billion.
“Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote claimed the ranking’s No. 1 spot for the 13th year in a row, despite the political uncertainty following the February presidential election and a devaluation of the naira in 2023 that offset the rising share price of Dangote Cement,” Forbes said in its latest 2024 Africa’s richest list.
Ayorinde Akinloye, a Lagos-based investor relations analyst, said the billionaires’ wealth is in the value of the listed companies that they own.
“If the share price of their companies is going up, their value will also be going up. The return on the stock exchange is outweighing the loss of the dollar,” he added.
According to reports, last month the total wealth of Dangote, Rabiu, and Adenuga declined to $18.1 billion as of 3 pm on December 29, 2023, from $27.4 billion on January 30 as a result of the liberalisation of the foreign exchange regime in June.
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 Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to float its currency, the naira, on June 14, abandoning the fixed exchange rate with the U.S. dollar,” it said.
Gbolahan Ologunro, portfolio manager at FBNQuest, said: “The increase in their wealth is related to what is happening in the stock market. The share price of Dangote Cement has more than doubled, which has offset the value of the devaluation, making it positive for his wealth in dollar terms.”
He said if the price of naira-based assets of the billionaires doubles, it will potentially or partly offset the value of the devaluation.
“Over the past few months, their wealth has been impacted by devaluation. So, one way of boosting their wealth is to double the price of their naira-based assets so that it can have a certain impact on their USD assets,” he added.
The Nigerian Exchange Limited All-Share Index, which tracks the general market movement of all listed equities, rose to 101,571.1 basis points (bps) on Wednesday from 75,999.9bps on January 2, 2024.
The market finished last year with a return of 45.90 percent, more than double that of 2022 and the highest in three years, data compiled by BusinessDay show.
The last time Nigerian stocks rallied in an election year was 2007 when the main index surged 74.77 percent to 57,990.22bps. “Last year, the market did 45 percent and inflation was around 24.5 percent. So, you have a stock market that gave you positive returns compared to what is obtainable on government instruments, treasury bills and bonds,” Ologunro of FBNQuest said.
He said the market could sustain the positive returns this year since inflation has shown no signs of abating.
Analysts at Lagos-based Cordros Securities Limited had said in their markets review and outlook report that Nigerian equities would exhibit resilience in 2024, though at a modest pace.
“We project that we do not expect any of our identified determining factors – an improvement in the FX space, prospects of improved macroeconomic conditions, and monetary policy direction and impact on fixed income yields – to have an outsized impact on eventual market performance,” they said.
The Forbes report also revealed that the 20 billionaires on Africa’s richest list are worth a combined $82.4 billion, up from last year’s $81.5 billion.
It said billionaire businessman Femi Otedola was ranked 20th on the list for the first time since 2017.
“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. His 73 percent stake in Geregu is worth more than $850 million, about three-quarters of his $1.1 billion fortune, which puts him at No. 20 on the list.”
The country with the highest number of billionaires is South Africa, which claims six spots on the ranking, followed by Egypt with five and Nigeria with four.
“Algeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe each have one billionaire on the list, while Morocco has two.”
Here are further details on the Nigerian billionaires:
Dangote, founder and chairman/CEO of Dangote Group, ranks second in Africa but first in Nigeria with a net worth of $18.5 billion as of January 25, 2024.
“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 is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate active in cement production, sugar refining and real estate. With a net worth of $8.1 billion as of January 25, 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.
According to Forbes, Adenuga, chairman/CEO at Globacom Limited ranks third in Nigeria with a net worth of $7 billion as of January 25.
“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.”