Femi Otedola’s net worth is estimated at 1.85 billion US dollars, thus making him one of the top 10 richest Nigerian men. The 59 years old billionaire is a businessman, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He made his wealth from trading crude oil, importation of other petroleum products, and activities in other sectors such as electricity and finance. His business endeavors and accumulated wealth allowed him to become the second Nigerian ever to be listed on Forbes, after Aliko Dangote.
What is Femi Otedola’s Net Worth?
Femi Otedola is a billionaire with a net worth of $1.8 billion. His journey into the world of the billionaires didn’t just start in a day. It took days of hard work, commitment, and dedication for the business mogul to achieve what he presently has today. While studying at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, he served as the Head of Marketing for his father’s family printing press. It was here that he gained the relevant experience and exposure he needed to start his own business.
As an experienced marketer, Otedola discovered a huge opportunity in the fuel retail market and decided to venture out into the oil sector. In 2003, he secured the finance to set up his own company, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, a company that majorly deals in the marketing of crude products like gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and LPG.
Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited experienced steady profit after its establishment and so to further enhance its development in several ways, Otedola invested the sum of 15 billion Naira to buy four cargo vessels and build a 147,000 metric tonnes capacity storage depot in Lagos. He then purchased 100 units of DAF fuel tankers for product distribution across the country.
The Oil Business Looked Good For Otedola So He Went All In and Also Diversified
Before the sun could rise for other potential competitors in the oil sector, Femi Otedola had already started playing the tape of his master plan to take total control of the oil sector in the country and other business opportunities outside Nigeria. Prior to the fall of 2005, the business mogul’s Zenon company had taken huge control of the Nigerian diesel market with the supply of the product to the country’s major oil consumers.
Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited continued to grow exponentially, yielding unimaginable profit. As such, he took the route to expand his business empire but this time, he chose to explore other sectors with a 1.5 billion dollar loan from 10 Nigerian banks that he used to get a 28 percent equity in African Petroleum (AP), formerly British Petroleum (BP).
With him being the largest shareholder, Femi Otedola was made the Chairman and CEO of AP. His business expertise at AP saw both the share price and market capital of the company soar higher, bringing in so many returns for the shareholders of the company. Though faced with challenges, Otedola was able to lead the company and return it to profitable ways. In the years that followed, he changed its name from AP to Forte Oil Plc.
An apex investor with profits yielded from his oil business, the son of a one-time governor of Lagos State (late Sir Michael Otedola), went ahead and constructed the largest storage facility for petroleum products in Africa. He then added about 29 percent more AP shares to his portfolio which made him the largest shareholder with over 57 percent equity stake. A smart businessman always doesn’t put all his eggs in one basket, so the Forbes billionaire also invested money in acquiring stakes in United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank.
After Huge Profits Came Huge Loses
Amid the growth and steady returns, tragedy struck as Femi Otedola’s wealth was faced with some woes. For him, it was a moment that would test his capacity of how much he could take when he was faced with a series of storms that hit his business and left him in a pool of debt worth 1.2 billion dollars.
In 2008, the Chairman of Forte Oil purchased a shipment of one million tons of diesel. As of that moment, Forte Oil had grown bigger with over 500 gas stations and had also diversified into power generation across Nigeria. The growth of his oil business had been speedy and profits were at an all-time high when disaster struck.
Before Otedola’s shipment could get to the shores of Nigeria, there was a sudden huge drop in oil prices globally from $146 to $34. With over one million tons of diesel on the high seas, Otedola thought he was facing the test of his business. The drop in the prices of oil left Otedola with a loss of about $480 million. While he was still nurturing his losses, the Federal Government of Nigeria devalued the nation’s currency and so he lost another $258 million. Another $320 million debt was accumulated in the form of interest on loans.
The losses further hit on him when his largest company Zenon saw its stock brought down to $160 million. By the end of the day, Otedola was left in the coils of debt that cumulated to 1.2 billion dollars.
Otedola was Able to Recover and Enjoy Success Again
Although Femi Otedola may have faced one of his biggest challenges yet in his business career, he would write his name among the most resilient businessmen Nigeria has ever seen. One of the major steps he took in making his comeback was pulling the strings to have some banks he took loans from waver about $400 million.
Secondly, he stayed off the deal that the Nigerian government handed him through the Asset Management Company (AMCON), a company created to efficiently resolve the non-performing loan assets of banks in the Nigerian economy. However, Otedola decided his only chance of pulling through was to repay his loans and start again. At the time, he used the service of other companies, sold his properties and shares in banks.
To the business magnate, what he had faced was a life-changing experience, and rather than sulking at his losses, he would apply the lesson he has learned from his misfortune into rebuilding his business again, this time around, more intelligently. Femi Otedola started to rebuild by putting in place a proper structure to prevent a recurrence of loss in his company. And after selling off what he had to clear his debt, what was left of his assets was a 34 percent equity in African Petroleum and his office space, which he used in rebuilding his business.
Does Femi Otedola Own First Bank?
After finding his feet from his 2008 losses, Femi Otedola was able to quietly rebuild his business again and returned his name to the place it belonged, Nigeria’s richest men. However, the lessons he had picked from his past losses gave him a new orientation on how the Nigerian economy and its players operate.
In his rise to fortune, the Yoruba native had nurtured an interest in the banking sector. Hence, he took his chances by obtaining a stake of up to 5.07% – worth about 30 billion Naira, in First Bank Nigeria Holdings (FBNH). His aim was reportedly to have control of a majority stake in the bank which turned out to work. It would also lead to him becoming the largest shareholder of the bank and at his disposal, the power to influence major decisions of the institution.
Like wildfire, this move took the banking sector by surprise and made the board of FBNH disclose in a statement that Mr. Hassan-Odukale had about 5.36 percent cumulative equity stake in the firm through direct and indirect shareholding. Having known his competitors, Otedola made another move that would make it hard for any investor to displace him easily; he acquired an additional 2.5 percent stake in the bank, raising his total control to 7.57 percent. This was also confirmed by FBN Holdings in a disclosure filed to the Nigerian Exchange Limited. Even though his plan was not to pursue any board chairmanship position, his control of the largest shares gives him voting power.
Other Businesses That Contributed to Femi Otedola’s Net Worth
A very intelligently focused and sharp business-minded individual, Femi Otedola made a series of investments and business-based decisions that would eventually take him back to his place as one of Nigeria’s top billionaires after falling off the ranking due to his losses. This was reflected in a 2014 report by Forbes Africa which noted that he had reclaimed a spot on the list of billionaires again.
Also, in a bid to expand, he added to his financial investments by purchasing another stake with Zenith Bank. At the time at which he made the investment, he became the second-largest shareholder of Zenith. He also had the largest single shares at United Bank Africa (UBA).
The power sector also caught his fancy and Otedola acquired the 414 Mega Watt strong Geregu Power Plant for 132 million dollars by financing 57 percent of Amperion Limited, a subsidiary of Forte Oil, his company. When he decided to sell his remaining 75 percent stake in Forte oil in 2019, many analysts wondered what his next move would be. But with his invasion into the financial sector again, it became clear that the billionaire businessman already has a master plan and is just getting started.
Where Is Femi Otedola’s House Located?
Just like he has a list of investments and businesses to his name, Femi Otedola has several real estate investments and houses in and outside Nigeria to his name as well. In 2007, he reportedly acquired Stallion House in Victoria Island Lagos from Nigeria’s Federal Government believed to be worth 2.3 billion Naira. Otedola has many private houses in Nigeria and outside the shores of the country. His houses are expensive and mansion-like and are mostly situated where he conducts his businesses to ease comfort.
Femi Otedola’s net worth landed him an expensive and frequently used mansion in Ikoyi believed to be worth several millions of Naira. The mansion is said to have three floors, an outdoor swimming pool, a garage for his cars, and several guest rooms. Overall, the mansion has pretty much everything one could imagine a billionaire’s house having.
The Ikoyi mansion is not the only piece of real estate investment the oil billionaire owns in Nigeria. He is confirmed to have a house in Abuja, Ibadan, Portharcourt, and Banana Island in Lagos. Forbes magazine has also reported that he has properties in the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Dubai, where he usually goes for vacation with his family.
Does Femi Otedola Have a Private Jet?
One common feature with most billionaires is that they do things privately and are highly security-conscious; keeping a low profile while living comfortably. Hence, it won’t be a surprise to the public what billionaires spend their billions on to provide themselves with features such as traveling in a private jet, owning a yacht, fleets of cars, and mansion-like houses with well-organized security around them.
Business mogul Femi Otedola, like many billionaires, has been spotted traveling in a private jet, however, it is not clear if he outrightly owns it. Femi Otedola is also a lover of exotic cars and he owns a few. Among his fleet of cars are two Rolls Royce custom-designed cars which cost about one billion US dollars each, a Range Rover, a BMW 6 Series, a Mercedes Benz AMG 63, and a recently acquired Mercedes Benz Mclaren SLR valued at 250 million naira. His cars provide comfort and security to him as they are mostly bulletproof. Otedola also owns a yacht he usually cruises with his family in.
All The Controversies He Has Been Embroiled In Related to his Wealth
In 2013, Femi Otedola was a principal character in a bribery case that alleged he gave bribes to Farouk Lawan who was then, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Fuel Subsidy. According to reports, the bribe was so his company Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited would be taken off the list of companies that were allocated foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria to import petroleum products but could not meet up and cost the country’s government about $6.8 million.
This bribery allegation would later lead Lawan to be charged with corruption that pointed to his purported receiving of $500,000 as part of the $3 million he had asked from Otedola. In a twist, Lawan agreed to have accepted the money but only to expose Mr. Otedola to the committee and EFCC.
After 9 years of trial, a Federal Judge of the High Court in Abuja, Justice Angela Ataluka, found Farouk Lawan guilty and sentenced him to 7 years in prison for taking bribes while in public office. Based on reports, the Justice relied on a more explanatory testimony of Otedola who admitted that the 500,000 dollars bribe that came through him to Lawan was intentional so evidence could be gotten for the corruption of the politician.