Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote is now one of the world’s top 25 richest people according to Forbes. This puts the 56 year old billionaire in league with the likes of Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
Earlier this year, Forbes released its list of global billionaires. At the time, Mr. Dangote ranked number 46 but his wealth has since soared from $16.1 billion to over $20 billion thanks to a leap in the stock value of his largest holding, Dangote Cement in which he owns a 93% stake.
As one of the top 25 richest people in the world, his wealth currently exceeds that of India’s Lakshmi Mittal, CEO of Arcelor Mittal, the world’s largest steelmaking company and billionaire investor, Carl Icahn.
The new valuation makes Dangote Cement the first Nigerian company to achieve a market capitalization of over $20 billion and the company currently accounts for more than a quarter of the total market capitalization of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. In a recent statement to Forbes on the surge in Dangote Cement’s market capitalization, Carl Franklin, Dangote Cement’s Head of Investor Relations in the U.K said:
“So Q1 was the first sign of just how profitable we can be in Nigeria. The amazing thing is that 66% of our gas-fired production in Q1 was done at 84% gas. Imagine what would happen to margins if we did the same amount at 95%.
This has given investors a good sense of what we can really do when everything goes in the right direction. It’s certainly a landmark for a Nigerian company and we’re proud to be the first to achieve it. Obviously we are focusing on building long-term and sustainable value for shareholders through our investments in Nigeria and Africa. Nigeria is a very entrepreneurial country and I can assure you that other companies will follow us in achieving this.”
Mr. Dangote notably told Forbes’ Wealth Editor Luisa Kroll in 2011 that he expects his firm to have a market cap of $60 billion within five years. At present day wealth estimates, such a market cap will skyrocket him to the league of the world’s top three richest – a league that currently includes Carlos Slim of Mexico, Bill Gates of the United States and Amancio Ortega of Spain.