Dangote Now Richer Than Russia’s Richest Man

The President, Chief Executive of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has become the first African entrepreneur to lay claim to a $20 billion fortune, thus becoming one of the 25 richest men in the world.

Dangote Cement becomes the first Nigerian company to achieve a market capitalisation of over $20 billion. Dangote’s 93 percent stake in the cement company is now worth $19.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

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 $300 million 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 (NSE). 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 $8.5 billion.

Dangote made a debut on the Forbes billionaires list in 2008 with a fortune pegged at $3.3 billion. His fortune dropped to $2.5 billion in 2009 and plunged further to $2.1 billion in 2010.

His fortune surged 557 percent in 2011 to $13.8 billion after he took Dangote Cement public. Dangote dropped to $11.2 billion in last year’s rankings, but rebounded at $16.1 billion this year. Since March, his fortune has jumped another 30 percent.

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.

Russian government dash out cars to Olympic medalists

Besides fame and glory, this year’s Russian Olympic medalists are getting a handsome cash prize and a new luxury car.

The Russian Olympians Foundation, financed by 15 of the nation’s wealthiest businesspeople, presented the Audi sedans to the medalists on Wednesday.

After a closed ceremony in the Kremlin hosted by President Vladimir Putin, the athletes ventured onto the Red Square where 129 black Audis, accompanied by 129 hired drivers were waiting on the cobblestone slope behind St. Basil’s Cathedral.

The Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko mingled with the athletes and their trainers.

Then the cordon was opened and the athletes percolated through the lot, each claiming a car.
Gold medal winners received Audi A8s, which sells for $120,000. Silver medalists got A7s ($75,000), and bronze medalists got A6s ($50,000).

The foundation’s executive director, Alexander Katushev, said the cars were acquired at a ”Significant discount”
He added that elite athletes deserve elite cars.

“A fine athlete in a crappy car is like a beautiful girl who cusses. The exterior doesn’t match the interior, and this won’t do,” he added.

In addition to the cars, the fund is giving cash prizes to the medalists: 4 million rubles ($125,000) for gold, 2.5 million rubles for silver, and 1.7 million rubles for bronze.

According to some of the athletes, getting cars and cash prizes didn’t motivate them to win.

Volleyball player Alexei Obmochayev rifled through his car’s glove compartment. He took out the manual to look up the car’s horsepower.

His teammate, Alexander Volkov, carefully folded his towering, 210-centimeter frame into the back seat of one car. “Plenty of room here,” he said, hunching forward awkwardly.

One by one, the athletes were driven away by the hired drivers, with the exception of several wrestlers, who insisted on getting behind the wheel.

Gymnast Alina Makarenko, 17, will only be sitting shotgun for the foreseeable future — she doesn’t have a driver’s license. Makarenko said her mother would drive the A8 until she received one.

“I think if they had been Russian cars, nobody would have shown up,” said pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, who won bronze after taking home gold in the last two Olympics.

The Russian Olympians Foundation includes Russia’s richest man, Alisher Usmanov, as well as tycoons Roman Abramovich, Viktor Vekselberg and Oleg Deripaska.

The nation finished fourth in the total medals count, with 82, including 24 golds, 26 silvers and 32 bronzes.