What else can be told or written about the man of the moment, ALHAJI ALIKO DANGOTE, a quintessential businessman who has seen it all in virtually all spheres of business. The Kano-born businessman is not stopping anywhere to expand his business empire and frontiers going by how he still ventures into other areas of business. Alhaji Aliko Dangote, over years, has become one to reckon with in the industrial, manufacturing and production sectors. Name any sector of business, Alhaji Aliko Dangote is there and he plays very big in any of these sectors he finds himself. That he bagged the Grand Commander of the order of Niger, GCON, should not come to many as a surprise, because he deserves it meaningfully well too. For all of these accolades, mercurial and very industrious Alhaji Aliko Dangote is meritoriously bagging News of the People’s MAN OF THE YEAR award and we present to you his unassailable records as a Grand Commander of Business. You will surely enjoy the profile of a man who became a giant in business from little beginnings.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s profile is a confirmation of the fact that one’s upbringing as a child goes a long way to determine what one will become as an adult. Although he hails from a rather unpopular background in Kano State, his life as a young boy who grew up like every typical boy without a silver spoon has seen him rising astronomically to become Nigeria’s biggest and most influential man in Nigerian business with many industries in his empire. Today, Dangote has many things going for him, the right family pedigrees, hard work, foresight and the resources to be a volume player. Born to Mohammed Dangote, a business associate of Alhassan Dantata and Hajiya Mariya Sanusi Dantata, Alhassan’s granddaughter, the rich business background provided the launching pad for Dangote to set up himself. He started out understudying his uncle, Sanusi Dantata before setting up his own business in the late 70s, specifically 1977 with a loan from his uncle. Alhaji Aliko’s achievements definitely did not come as a surprise to those who knew him from his young age because right from then, he showed the personality and qualities of one who would be successful and blessed. His exceptional level of intelligence, diligence and commitment to excellence always shone like a million stars any where he went and everything he touched simply turned to gold, a case of the man with the midas touch. He has over the past thirty years contributed his quota positively to the development of his country and made a positive statement on the African continent. If as a boy Alhaji Aliko Dangote had a dream to be great, today he has no doubt overridden those dreams, as he is unarguably one of the richest men in the world today. The Dangote Group, originally a small trading firm is now a multi-trillion naira conglomerate with branches all over the African continent and in firmly rooted in Europe and Asia. Within his over thirty years of trading and manufacturing, Dangote as a personality and as a business name has grown to be an icon of his time, steadfastly sowing and paying his dues, staying focused, constantly cultivating, patiently plowing the fields of opportunity and moving diligently from one remarkable achievement to the next. Today, The Dangote Group is the biggest indigenous employer of labour in Nigeria, with its conglomerates sprawling around all parts of the country and even beyond.
Prior to the recent award of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) Alhaji Aliko Dangote had received a truck load of awards while his many companies have doubled that amount. However, the recent and most significant achievement is most heart-warming. As a recipient of the second highest award of the country of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger GCON, he became the first private sector citizen to bag the award. The honour did not come to many as a surprise; rather it complements his status as a true business mogul of our time. The award is the country’s second highest national honor, after the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR), an award which is exclusively reserved for Nigerian Presidents and Heads of state. Alhaji Dangote has in this wise become the first individual outside government to receive the nation’s second highest national honor. In the past, the GCON had only been awarded to Vice-Presidents, Chief Justices of the country and Senate Presidents. Dangote’s GCON award, according to information, is in recognition of the immense contributions he has made and is still making to the economic development of Nigeria. Barely two years ago, Dangote Cement Plc, one of the four listed subsidiaries of the Group, made history when it became the largest quoted company in the country, following its historic merger with sister company Benue Cement Company Plc (BCC) and the eventual listing of the emergent company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The Dangote Group was rated among Top 40 African Challengers in 2010 by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and was also adjudged the Investor of the Year 2010 by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC).
Other awards include Dangote Sugar Refinery (DSR) PLC was awarded the Best African Initial Public Offer for 2007 by Africa Investors’ Index series, in November 2007, DSR PLC won the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s President Merit Award for the best quoted company in the Food and Beverage sector, The Standards Organization of Nigeria awarded the company the NIS ISO 9001:2000 International Quality Management Award, 2007 Global Excellence Magazine, Company of the Year Award, 2008 Nigerian Stock Exchange’s President’s Merit Award for Best Quoted Company of the Year in the Food and Beverages Sector, 2009 International Quality Award in the Gold Category, by renowned Business Initiative Directions- Madrid Spain, and the awards basket continues to overflow.
To show the height of the success of the man Alhaji Aliko Dangote, his successes are not limited to his country, but extend far and wide to other African and European countries. Expectedly, the success of Dangote’s companies has translated to wealth for the unassuming business mogul, as it is on record that Aliko is the first Nigerian to enter the Forbes list of billionaires and was also adjudged the richest man in Africa long before ever any business magnate in Nigeria even had the premonition of ever making that list. The success of Dangote Group can be traced to commodity trading, especially sugar importation into Nigeria, which he admits he controls over 60 per cent today. Given the heavy demand by Nigeria’s breweries and confectionery industries for sugar, he made a kill by doing massive volume business and gaining advantages to undercut competitions. Dispelling rumours of his cornering the market with the connivance of government support, he says, it is an open market, but because of his enormous investment in the business and his transport haulage business, he can distribute his sugar faster, cheaper and at a uniform price nationwide which the competition cannot match. Dangote is reputed to have good investments, even in foreign-based sugar refineries that supply him. His business conglomerates sprawl into other neighboring African countries amongst which are Ghana, Togo, Benin and Zambia. That one time small trading company is now poised to become Nigeria’s largest industrial group, including Dangote Sugar Refinery (the most capitalized company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Given the heavy demand by Nigeria’s soft drink industry, breweries and confectionery industries for sugar, he makes a kill by doing volume business and gaining advantages through his good investments in foreign-based sugar refineries that supply him. Dangote currently has a joint venture with Pakistanis to set up a refinery in Nigeria to locally make sugar to cap his years of sugar business. Dangote Cement plans to raise capacity more than fivefold by 2015 to 46.2 million tons through investment in other African countries and Nigeria as the continent’s nation, build roads, houses, bridges and railways, creating demand for the building material. The company boosted its African expansion by taking up 64 per cent in a South African cement company. To further his international investment, a 2.2mtpa cement plant was built at Aganang near Lichtenburg and his 36 percent partner became JSE-listed empowerment company Sephaku Holdings. That way Dangote becomes Chairman. At present Dangote’s network of cement companies in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and others produce 20mtpa, more than the total South African market. Before flying out to the Lagos listing from South Africa some time ago, he told South African analysts that Dangote, had, invested another R779 million to bring the total investment in South Africa then to R1.149 billion.
According to him, “I have been told it was the largest investment by any African company in South Africa”. His interest does not only lie in manufacturing, as some time ago he was rumoured to be poised to buy into Arsenal Football club. It was speculated then that Dangote had showed interest in buying Lady Nina Bracewell Smith’s 16 per cent stake in the club put at £160m worth. He hopes to add the world’s biggest sugar refinery, a 300,000 barrels a day oil refinery and a massive 5,000 megawatt power project to his list of collection. Life has surely been good for Alhaji Dangote as he is confident about the future.
The Dangote Group is not limited to trading and manufacturing, as its business interests span the export. Dangote exports Cashew nuts, Cotton, Cocoa, Millet and several textile materials. His extensive network enables him to source these commodities not only in Nigeria, but the entire West Coast of Africa where he is now a visible player. He also exports fish. Interestingly, he started out importing fish, but when the local market proved difficult and less profitable, he diverted his supplies to the export market. His other business interest includes the selling of Rice, Vegetable oil, and Cement. He employs similar strategies in the distribution of these commodities as in the sugar business. In December 1996, Dangote said, in response to a mandate from government, he imported and sold so much rice that the local market which crashed by almost 80 per cent.
In the 80s, Dangote decided to move from being just a successful commodity dealer to a more rounded entrepreneur with solid investments in finance and manufacturing. His style was mainly acquisition and buying into existing companies. He started out with Dangote General Textile Products, which he acquired from its former owners, thereby establishing control over the source of his trade. In 1993, he acquired controlling shares in the Lagos-based Nigerian Textile Mills. He invested enormous resources in re-capitalising, refurbishing its machinery and restructuring its management. And within a few years, he turned it around from a loss maker back to its days of good profits. Looking beyond just making and exporting textile materials, the Dangote Group is exploring opportunities to manufacture jeans materials for the export market. Even in sugar, Dangote currently has a joint venture with a Pakistani firm to set up a refinery in Nigeria to locally make sugar to cap his years of sugar business. Dangote bought controlling shares of the Nigerian Salt Company to broaden his investment portfolio. With this, National Salt has become a dominant player in Nigeria’s salt market.
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, CSR
The list of corporate social responsibility of the Dangote Group and its leader seems endless and amongst them included the donation of N200million to Katsina State University in 2011, the donation of Haemodialysis machine valued at N21 million to General Hospital, Lagos in conjunction with Rotary Club of Victoria Island in 2010,
donation of N117, 500,000 for construction of squash complex at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) main campus 2009,
Construction of Lawn Tennis Gate, Golf Section Gate, Main Gate/70th Anniversary Monument and the renovation of the Gate House of the Ikoyi Club 1938 at a cost of N10, 743, 129. 60 in 2009. Others include the donation of N30 million to Kwara Football Academy in 2009, the donation of N25 million to Crescent University Mosque in 2007, Support for Humanitarian Crises, Humanitarian support for victims of Jos and Bauchi crises with donation of items and products valued at N33, 248,910 in2010,
donation of N100 million to victims of flood disaster in Sokoto State 2010, donation of N50 million to flood victims in Jigawa State in 2010, the donation of products worth N120 million to victims of famine in Niger Republic in 2010, donation of $2 million (N300 million) to victims of flood disaster in Pakistan 2010, Annual Product Gifts for Sallah in 2009/2010.
The following organisations benefitted from the yearly products donation courtesy of Dangote Industries Limited (DIL),
amongst a host of others. In 2010, Dangote Industries Limited also made a donation of N250, 000 cheque each to the following organisations in Lagos:
Modupe Cole Memorial School, Akoka, Heritage Homes, Anthony Village, Little Saints Orphanage, Palm Groove, Holy Family Home for the Elderly, Mushin Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted Children, Surulere _SOS Children’s Village, Isolo
Kaduna borehole. The Dangote Group has resolved to touch the lives of Nigerians and is committed to complementing the Government’s initiatives in making the economy private sector-driven. Nigeria is a land of abundant opportunities and Dangote Group is today a testimony of successful and rewarding private entrepreneurship.
The Dangote Group has under its umbrella 13 subsidiaries spread all over Nigeria. The subsidiaries include cement, sugar, salt, flour, pasta, noodles, poly products, logistics, real estate, telecommunications, steel, oil and gas and beverages. The Group conveniently and favourably operates in 14 other African countries including Senegal, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Congo (Brazzaville), Ethiopia, Cameroun, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia and Ghana, among others. The Group, whose core business focus is to provide local, value-added products and services that meet the ‘basic needs’ of the Nigerian population, recorded a turnover in excess of $3 billion (N450 billion) in 2010.
The Dangote Group has risen from its humble beginnings to win several awards, both locally and internationally. Dangote played a prominent role in the funding of Obasanjo’s re-election campaign in 2003, to which he contributed over N200 million (US$2M). He gave N50 million (US$0.5M) to the National Mosque under the aegis of “Friends of Obasanjo and Atiku”, and contributed N200 million to the Presidential Library.
The Nigerian businessman’s fortune of Dangote surged 557% in the past year, making him the world’s biggest gainer in percentage terms and Africa’s richest individual for the first time. The catalyst was listing Dangote Cement, which integrated his investments across Africa with his previously public Benue Cement; it now accounts for a quarter of the Nigeria Stock Exchange’s total market cap. Dangote Cement Plc, Africa’s biggest producer of the building material, today listed its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, making it the biggest company on the country’s bourse. Dangote listed 15.5 billion ordinary shares at 135 naira each. That gave the company a market capitalization of 2.09 trillion naira ($13.8 billion), making it the biggest on Nigeria’s bourse, overtaking from Nigerian Breweries Plc.
In all, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has conquered all areas viz: business, sports, charity and philanthropy in general and from every indication he can not be a minnow in all these areas because he has proved himself to be a champion of champions. He eminently qualifies to be our MAN OF THE YEAR.