Femi Otedola is one of the richest and popular business moguls in Nigeria, and his $1.8 billion net worth (2016 estimates) buttresses this fact. The gentleman who started from humble beginnings as a businessman has now grown into an astute investor and entrepreneur whose businesses span across several sectors of the Nigerian economy. He has his hands firmly grounded in petroleum products marketing, power generation, shipping, insurance, banking and finance, real estate development, and several other ventures, to mention a few. But, it wasn’t always a rosy path for him.
Femi Otedola Worked Under His Father Back In The Days
It is on record that he actually began his career life by working in the marketing department of his father’s printing business until the early 1990s. Otedola later ventured out on his own and established Center Force Limited around 1994, with the company specializing in finance, investments, and trading. His father, late Sir Michael Otedola, was the Governor of Lagos State from 1992 to 1993, but apparently, Otedola did not follow his footsteps to politics.
He opted for a career as a businessman, and his big breakthrough came in 2003 when he secured a loan (from undisclosed sources) to set up a petroleum products marketing and distribution company called Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited.
Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd Redefined His Financial Status
Over the years, business was so good that he could purchase 100 units of DAF fuel tankers for product distribution and invested about ₦15 billion to buy 4 cargo vessels and build a 147,000 metric tonnes capacity storage depot in Lagos. By 2005, his company had become the largest supplier of diesel to most manufacturing companies in Nigeria, with a 93% control of the supply of this essential product to manufacturing companies all over Nigeria.
2007 was a very profitable year for Otedola and Zenon as he was able to secure a $1.5 billion syndicated loan from about 10 banks in Nigeria to be used as his working capital. He put the money to great use by acquiring 28% equity in African Petroleum (AP) – which was one of the leading petroleum products marketers in Nigeria at the time; he also built the largest petrol storage facility in Africa and invested money to acquire a major shareholding stake in some banks such as United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Zenith Bank. By the year’s end, he had personally acquired about 29% more stake in AP and had become the largest shareholder with about 58% equity stake.
The Birth of Forte Oil Plc
Following his major shareholding acquisition, he was made the Chairman and CEO of AP, and both the share price and market capital of the company soared through the roof, bringing in so many returns for the shareholders of the company. Through its stormy times, he led the company and returned it to profitable ways in the coming years, changing the name from AP to Forte Oil Plc in 2010.
In 2013, Amperion Limited (a Forte Oil subsidiary) acquired a 57% stake in Geregu Power Plant – a 414 MWs gas-fired power plant for about $132 million, and as a result of this acquisition and drastic improvements in the company’s finances, shareholders were able to smile to the bank with several billions of Naira in their accounts.
His excellent leadership and management skills saw his companies all returning great profits, which propelled him to the Forbes List of Billionaires in 2016. In December 2018, news emerged that Otedola was selling his shares in Forte Oil to Prudent Energy. Though details of the transaction were kept away from the media, tidbits of information revealed that Otedola received $250 million for the shares.
The Day Femi Otedola Lost it All
Otedola himself once recounted during an interview on the day he “lost most of his wealth and fortune.” It began in 2008 while he was the dominant supplier of diesel and other petroleum products in Nigeria. He had just placed orders for about 1 million metric tonnes of diesel to serve Nigeria’s teeming market. While his vessels were still on the high seas and steaming towards the country, crude oil price suddenly fell from about $146 per barrel to $34.
While he was still trying to process this loss which was put at about $480 million, the Federal Government of Nigeria devalued the nation’s currency which saw him lose another $258 million, while another $320 million debt was incurred in the form of interests on loans; to further compound matters, his company’s stock price crashed to the tune of $160 million, and by the end of it all, he was indebted to the tune of $1.2 billion dollars. Within a short space of time, his entire fortune was crumbling down before his very eyes.
What he Did to Recover From His Monumental Loss
As Otedola himself stated, by the time the reality of his $1.2 billion debt hit him, he was left with only two choices – to commit suicide or weather the storm; he chose the latter.
The banks that had borrowed him money agreed to strike-off about $400 million from his debt. After he declined a restructuring deal offered to him by AMCON, he decided to repay all his loans and start all over again. To pay off his remaining debts, he got a very reputable company to value his assets, and he began selling them off; these included 184 flats, his majority shares in banks, shares in African Finance Corporation, Mobil Oil Nigeria, Visafone, Chevron Texaco, and a few others.
Having learned a life-changing lesson through this process of loss, he was able to rebuild his fortune more intelligently by putting in place proper structures to prevent a recurrence of loss in his company. By the time he had sold off some of his assets, he only had 2 left – a 34% equity in African Petroleum and his office space, which he used in rebuilding his business.
Other Businesses He’s Into
Asides from the businesses listed earlier – Zenon and African Petroleum (which later became Forte Oil Plc), Femi Otedola is also involved in other companies and sectors such as Swift Insurance, Geregu Power Plc, FO Properties Limited, Sea Force Shipping Company Limited, etc. Since he sold off his shares in Forte Oil, the power sector now has his full attention.
His business savviness is one that is worthy of applause, and he has leveraged it to build a very robust brand that will be hard to crumble.
How Many Houses Does Otedola Have in Nigeria?
A man of Otedola’s caliber must have invested in several landed properties. His main house in Lagos’ choice part is believed to be worth several hundreds of millions of Naira (if not billions). The masterpiece is a 3-floor white mansion with an interior outlay fit for kings. He is reported to also have palatial homes in Abuja, Ibadan, and Port Harcourt.
Outside the shores of the country, he also has homes in New York City, London, France, and Dubai. There are some reports that he also has properties in some other undisclosed locations both in Nigeria and abroad.
Cars Owned By Femi Otedola
He is reported to be an automobile enthusiast, as he loves both princely and pricey cars. Some of the cars in his garage include a custom made and bulletproof Mercedes Benz G Wagon worth about $400,000, Mercedes Benz McClaren SLR worth about $500,000, a custom-built Range Rover, and he also owns a few Rolls Royce cars – one of which is a Phantom worth well over $600,000.
He also owns a custom-made yacht reportedly worth about $12 million, on which he and his family conduct business and host very groovy parties. Femi Otedola’s net worth has really been put to good use to make life pleasurable for him and his family. The daddy goals he served in 2020 are just proof of this.
He Bought Three Ferrari Portofinos For His Daughters
It would be recalled that he recently gave each of his 3 daughters the gift of a Ferrari Portofinos worth a combined sum of $1.5 million. His daughters, Temi, Tolani, and DJ Cuppy, got the same car in different colors that best define their personalities. Of course, DJ Cuppy’s came in her signature pink color. The girls took to social media to share pictures and videos of the fancy wheels, confessing how awesome their father has been.