Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man and founder and chairman of Dangote Group has over the last three decades built an empire beyond cement, with the construction of a fertilizer plant and oil refinery underway in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.  The Nigerian industrialist which is now the 64th richest person in the world, with an estimated worth of $16.6 billion, has interests in agriculture, real estate, banking, transport, textiles, among others. His sugar refinery in Nigeria, producing 800,000 tonnes of sugar annually, is the largest in Africa and third largest in the world.

Dangote Cement grew its profit by 91 percent in 2018. The company, which is Africa’s largest cement producer reported a profit after tax of N390.3 billion ($1 billion) for the year ended December 31, 2018 from a profit of N204.2 billion a year earlier, having earned up to N89.5 billion ($248 million) in tax credits during the year. The company, whose major revenue comes from Nigeria enjoys investment incentives aimed at stimulating the private sector in the country.

The cement Group posted a revenue of N901.21 billion, 68.6 percent of which came from its Nigerian operations.

“This is a record financial performance by Dangote Cement, driven by a strong increase in our home market, Nigeria, despite heavy rains and uncertainties about the election,” said Joe Makoju, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Cement.

“Although Pan-African volumes were unchanged in 2018, I am confident that we will see an increase in 2019, driven by higher volumes in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Congo, and Sierra Leone,” Makoju added.

“Now that we have gas turbines operating in Tanzania we will also see increased profitability in the Pan-Africa region and this will help to improve overall Group margins,” he noted.

Dangote oil refinery in Nigeria, which the billionaire claims will be completed next year despite analysts saying completion before 2022 is not feasible, has the capacity to process 650,000 barrels of per day (bpd). Aliko Dangote’s diversified interests in Nigeria has got Tanzania warming up to him.

“It is really worth investing in Tanzania because it will expose you to a large market,” Muhidini Ally Mboweto, a Commissioner in the High Commission of the United Republic of Tanzania said this when he visited the Dangote Refinery and Fertiliser plants in Lagos last week.

Although, Dangote’s 3.0Mta plant in Mtwara, Tanzania is the largest cement factory in the country, Mboweto said the country wants to see more of Dangote investments in the country, across different sectors.

“We want him (Dangote) to expand his investment in other areas of the economy. We have varieties of minerals, diamond, gold, and other areas. You can invest in wildlife. We also have a lot of tourist attractions,” a statement by Dangote Group quoted the diplomat to have said.

But before he increase his investments elsewhere, Dangote is currently focused on his $5 billion fertilizer plant and the $12 billion oil refinery next to it. The projects are going to create huge impact in the country where its four state-owned refineries are inefficient and has left the country relying on fuel imports. The billionaire plans to export about 35 percent of the refinery’s products, while the rest will serve the local market. His company Dangote Industries had last year said the plan is to produce about 50 million litres of petrol per day and 15 million litres of diesel, but output can be changed according to demand.

Dangote says his refinery could end Nigeria’s dependency on fuel imports. He told Bloomberg that it will change Nigeria’s economy. While work continues on his latest massive project, Dangote’s cement company continues its impressive performance.

With earnings per share rising to N22.83 at the year ended December 31, 2018 from N11.65 in 2017, the company directors are proposing a dividend of N16 per share. This is subject to ratification by the company’s shareholders.

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