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How Femi Otedola Became One of Africa’s Richest Men




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Femi Otedola is a Nigerian Business man and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd.

Femi Otedola was born on November 4, 1962 in Oyo State, Ibadan, Nigeria.

Femi Otedola is also the former chairman of Forte Oil PLC, a company which imports fuel products. The Entrepreneur also owns a number of businesses and is also a real estate investor.

The Rise of Zenon Petroleum and Gas

In 2003, Femi Otedola started the Zenon Petroleum Gas Company having identified the need for marketing and distribution in the Oil and Gas sector. Femi Otedola invested precisely #15 Billion (An Equivalent of about $35 Million) into starting the Company.

This money was mainly invested in downstream infrastructure development and also acquired storage depots at Ibafon, Apapa as well as four cargo vessels, amounting to a combined total storage capacity of 147,000 metric tonnes.

It only took Zenon Petroleum and Gas two(2) years to begin their domination in the Oil and Gas supply sector, already serving as fuel supplier to most of the major manufacturers in the country including Dangote Group, CadburyCoca-Cola, Nigerian BreweriessMTNUnileverNestle and Guinness

In March 2007, it was announced that ten banks had approved a syndicated loan of US$1.5 billion (N193.5 billion) to Zenon as working capital to build the largest premium motor spirit storage facility in Africa. Later that year Zenon acquired a 28.7 per cent stake in African Petroleum, one of Nigeria’s largest fuel marketers. Zenon also invested across the financial sector, becoming the largest shareholder in a number of Nigerian banks including Zenith Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA). As well as diesel, Zenon also became an important player in the kerosene market.

Femi Otedola appointed African Petroleum Chairman

In 2007, Femi Otedola was appointed chairman and chief executive of African Petroleum after acquiring a controlling stake in the business. In December of the same year he acquired another 29.3 per cent of the company for a whopping N40 billion. A merger of this personal holding with Zenon’s brought Otedola’s total stake to 55.3 per cent.

Following Otedola’s entry into the company, African Petroleum’s share price rose exponentially. In only six(6)i months the market capitalisation rose from N36 billion to a staggering N217. In 2008, in response to public concerns over the availability and pricing of kerosene, African Petroleum launched an initiative to saturate the market and sell fuel at N50 per litre from more than 500 service stations across Nigeria.

A year later (March 2009), Otedola became made his entry into the Forbes billoniares list with a net worth of $1.2 Billion, becoming only the second African, after Aliko Dangote to make an entry into the list. In October 2009, Otedola announced a move to upgrade African Petroleum’s liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage terminals in Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt. Difficult economic conditions caused by the slump in world oil prices and credit squeeze of 2008–09 led African Petroleum to record a loss in 2009.

African Petroleum would go on to be rebranded in 2010, Changing it’s name to Forte Oilwith a higher focus on high-tech infrastructures and a more corporate governance having been running on a loss.

This rebrand and restructure proved very effective as the company returned to profits in 2012.

Zenon Accused of Fuel Subsidy Scam

In 2012, Femi Otedola’s Zenon was among a number of companies named in a report into an alleged fuel subsidy scam. According to the report Zenon owed the government $1.4 million.

It was further reported that Farouk Lawan, the Nigerian legislator who compiled the report, had apparently been filmed collecting $500,000 of a supposed total sum of $3 million from Femi Otedola to remove Zenon from the list.

It subsequently emerged that Otedola had previously reported Lawan’s harassment and demands for bribes to the State Security Services, who had orchestrated a sting operation. Lawan was charged with corruption in February 2013.

The Forte Oil Diversification and Growth

Forte’s improved financial position and diversification into power generation resulted in a 1,321 per cent rise in its share price during 2013.

The first half of 2014 saw the company’s pre-tax profit more than double year-on-year to 4.19 billion naira ($25.7 million). Revenue growth for the whole year was 33 per cent.

In November 2014, Otedola returned to the Forbes rich list having dropped off it following the fall in share price during 2009.

In September 2015 Forte Oil sold 17 per cent of its equity to Swiss commodity trader Mercuria Energy Group, giving Forte access to global commodity markets. The deal was thought to have given Otedola an estimated $200 million.

 In 2019, Femi Otedola sold Forte Oil Plc and announced plans to change focus from oil to power with his company, Geregu Power Plc.

Current Wealth Status and Net Worth

Currently in the year 2021, Femi Otedola is not part of the Forbes Billoniares list, having again fallen out of his.

Femi Otedola currently has a net worth of around $900 Million.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Femi Otedola’s Source of Wealth?

Femi Otedola made and makes majority of his wealth through his exploits in the Oil and Gas sector and currently in the Power supply industry via his company, Gerugu Powe PLC.

Who is Femi Otedola’s Wife?

Femi Otedola is currently married to Nana Otedola whom he Married in the year 1992.

How Many Children Does Femi Otedola have?

Femi Otedola has four(4) Children, One(1) boy and Three(3) girls which includes popular Nigerian disc jockey, Florence Otedola, popularly known as DJ Cuppy

Which School Did Femi Otedola Attend

Femi Otedola is a graduate of The Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.

The Conclusion

Ultimately, Femi Otedola’s rise to prominence was not exactly an easy one, it was one which took a lot on time and resources.

The Billoniares rise was not a typical “grass to grace” story as he was well to do from the onset and had the required resources to start and raise his business. Due credit must be given though in that availability in resources does is never a guarantee of success.

Femi Otedola however maximized the resources available to him at the time and made his way to the top. Today, the business man is one of Nigeria’s Richest Men and indeed one of the richest in all of Africa.

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