- Published on Friday, 21 September 2012 12:36
- Written by Stefan Wagstyl
Africa’s not big enough for Aliko Dangote, Nigeria’s richest man. Dangote is planning to take Dangote Cement, his flagship company, into the rest of the world – starting with Iraq and Myanmar, where plant construction could begin next year. After that, Indonesia, Brazil and Chile are all on the list, with Dangote planning to reach 60m
tonnes of annual production outside Africa, on top of 40m within the continent – and so achieve a target of 100m tonnes of annual output “in the next five years”. If that sounds ambitious, it’s no more remarkable than what the Nigerian billionaire has already done.
With interests including mining, construction and agriculture, he is the dominant force in the country’s business community. And in cement he has already established himself as the biggest investor in sub-Saharan Africa, with plants under construction in 13 countries.
Dangote Cement, which was listed in Lagos last year, is planning a London listing next year, with Dangote Industries, Dangote’s unlisted holding company, selling a stake of around 20 per cent, reducing its interest to 75 per cent. At today’s market cap of around $13bn, the share sale could be worth $2.6bn.
But Dangote said the money would not be going in to cash-rich Dangote Cement but into other investments. So, it seems that the expansion out of Africa will, at least for a while, be financed without recourse to the equity markets.
Asked why he is investing outside Africa, when there is so much to be done within the continent, he says that some opportunities – such as entering Myanmar as it opens up – may later disappear.
Dangote wants to make Dangote Cement a global company. “We want to globalise,” he told beyondbrics in an interview in London, “because the markets in sub-Saharan Africa are limited in terms of cement production, though not in terms of other sectors.”
He says the company needs to diversify, not just to grow bigger, but to spread risk. Referring to Africa’s sometimes volatile economic and political course, he says: “In Africa, we have issues. Elsewhere there are different issues. We need to be global.”