Dangote, The Man That Used Cement To Build His Fortune

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We woke up to a report that ‘Our’ (because sucess has many friends) Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group has leaped 39 points to become the 64th richest person in the world with an estimated $16.6 billion, as against his previous ranking of 103rd in the world. Aliko Dangote, gained $5.8bn within 24 hours as his total net worth rose to $16.6bn on Tuesday.
Aliko Dangote’s journey to fortune is not a rags to riches story but simply one of enterprise, hardwork and opportunities. At the age of 21, Aliko Dangote borrowed $3,000 from his uncle to import and sell agricultural commodities in Nigeria. The funds from the loan allowed him to import soft commodities at wholesale prices from international suppliers.
Two of his main imports were rice from Thailand and sugar from Brazil. He then sold those items in small quantities to consumers in his village at a lucrative markup. The venture quickly became successful and turned into a cash cow. Dangote claims on some of his best days, he was realizing a daily net profit of $10,000. That allowed him to repay his uncle in only three months.
In 1997, Dangote realized that acting as a middleman was a very costly endeavor, so he built a plant to produce what he had been importing and selling for the previous 20 years: pasta, sugar, salt and flour. Around the same time, Dangote was awarded a state-owned cement company. Dangote significantly expanded the operations of the company in 2005 by constructing a multimillion-dollar manufacturing plant. The construction was financed with $319 million of Dangote’s own money in addition to a $479 million loan from the International Finance Corporation, a sister organization of the World Bank.
Each of his manufacturing divisions has since been separated into publicly traded companies: Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC., National Salt Company of Nigeria PLC., Dangote Flour Mills PLC., and Dangote Cements PLC.
Dangote has always reinvested the majority of his profits back into his businesses, which is one reason the company has grown so much since inception. During an interview with Al Jazeera News, he explained,‘‘We [Dangote Group] are not doing like other Africans who keep most of their money in the bank. We do not keep money in bank. We fully invest whatever we have and we keep on investing.’’
Dangote’s business interests encompass many industries, including oil and gas, consumer goods and manufacturing. About 80% of his conglomerate’s revenue comes from Dangote Cement. According to Forbes magazine, the subsidiary produces 44 million metric tons of cement every year and plans to increase output by 33% by 2020. Dangote also owns the world’s third-largest sugar refinery, and together all of his publicly traded companies make up a quarter of the market capitalization of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
In an effort to put some of his cash reserves to work, Dangote purchased an oil refinery in Lagos in 2007. He hopes the refinery, which is scheduled to be at full capacity by 2020, will significantly reduce Nigeria’s reliance on international suppliers for oil and gas. The plant is expected to produce 650,000 barrels of oil a day.
Over the years, Dangote has expanded into new business segments, including telecommunications, real estate and steel manufacturing. Today his holding company, Dangote Group, is the largest conglomerate in West Africa.
A rousing ovation to our very own Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa and the 64th richest man in the world, we are very proud.

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