Femi Otedola is a Nigerian based billionaire, business man and the Chairman of Forte Oil Plc and Zenon Petroluem gas, as well as an array of other businesses that cut across shipping, real estate and finance. He comes second place among dollar-rated billionaires, after Aliko Dangote according to Forbes list.
Otedola was born on the 4th of November, 1962 in Oyo state, Ibadan western Nigeria, to the family of the late Sir Micheal Otedola, the past Governor of Lagos State who was in service to the nation between 1992 and 1993.
In his early life, he was in charge of marketing for his family printing press business. This gave him the requisite business skills that got him ready for the challenges ahead.
In 200 3, he ventured into fuel retail business after discovering the huge profitable potential of this sector. That same year he started Zenon Petroleum and Gas. In 2004, he invested N15 billion naira in the capital expansion of the company. This included the acquisition of storage depots, cargo vessels, which amount to a total storage capacity of 147,000 metric tonnes.
By 2005 Zenon Pretroleum became a major supplier to top companies in Nigeria which include Dangote Group, Cadbury, Coca Cola, Nigeria Breweries, MTN, Unilever, Nestle and Guiness.
In 2007 Femi Otedola had a large controlling stake in African Petroluem and was appointed chairman and chief executive. The share prices rose exponential since his entry, market capitalisation peaked from N36 billion to N217 billion in six months. In December 2010 African Petroleum rebranded its name to Forte Oil Plc. Otedola restructed the business, in areas of technology and improved corporate governance.
Femi Otedola as at 2015 is worth $1.8 billion. He is married to Nana Otedola and he is blessed with four children.
Background and Family
Femi Otedola was born into the family of Sir Micheal Otedola and Lady Doja on the 4th of November 1962 in Ibandan, Nigeria. His father served as governor of Lagos State from 1992 to 1993. He studied at Obafemi Awolowo university from 1980 to 1985. Femi Otedola is married to Nana Otedola and together they have three daughters; Olawunmi Christy Otedola, Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola, Elizabeth Temi Otedola, and a son- Temi Otedola.
Femi Otedola’s children are also very well on their way to being celebrities in their own right outside their fathers wealth and fame- His daughter Florence is a popular DJ (Disc jockey) who goes by the name DJ Cuppy, she is also a music producer and a tourism ambassador for Nigeria. She was even the official disc jockey for the inauguration of President Muhhamadu Buhari into office in May, 2015. His third daughter Elizabeth Temi is an established style blogger and is also working towards becoming a designer herself.
Otedola has fancies real estate and is also fortunately rich enough to afford it, he owns houses in Lagos, Abuja, Dubai, London and in New York City.
Otedola has also proven himself to be one who has zero tolerance for nonsense particularly when it involves his family. This he proved by sending the Canadian Matharoo sisters- Jyoti and Kiran back to their country when they allegedly tried to extort money from him through black mail. They reportedly claimed they had evidence of Otedola cheating on his wife Nana and threatened to post said evidence on the infamous sex-scandal website Naijagistlive.com.
Rise to Prominence
Femi started off in the late 1980’s with running marketing for his family’s printing press before he delved into the oil business.
And then in 2003 delved into oil with establishing Zenon Petroluem and Gas Ltd, the company focused on marketing and distributing petroleum products.
He invested a whooping sum of N15 billion into the company which was used for downstream infrastructure development, to acquire storage depots and for four cargo vessels. That very same year he purchased a fleet of 100 DAF fuel tanker trucks at the cost of N1.4 billion.
The company grew quite fast and by 2005 it was already controlling a major share of the Nigerian diesel market, it supplied fuel to a majority of the country’s major manufacturers including the likes of Dangote Group, Cadbury, Coca-cola, Nigerian Breweries, MTN, Unilever, Nestle and Guinness.
Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd continued to grow and broaden its capacity; by March, 2007 the company applied for a syndicate loan of US$1.5 (Naira equivalent-N193.5 billion) billion from ten banks which it used as working capital to build the largest motor spirit storage facility in Africa. Later the same year the company went on to obtain a 28.7 percent share in African Petroleum which is one of Nigeria’s largest fuel marketers.
Zenon went on to delve into even the financial sector. It bought substantial shares in Zenith Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA). Zenon also entered the kerosene market and secured a significant reputation for itself.
Apart from Zenon Petroleum & Gas Ltd Otedola has also headed other companies, in 2007 he was made chairman and CEO of Africa Petroleum by virtue of the domineering stake he owned in the business. By December that same year he obtained 29.3% of the company for N40 billion for himself. His personal stake in addition with Zenon’s stake in the business gave him a total stake of 55.3 percent.
By 2010 under his tutelage African Petroleum changed its name to Forte Oil Plc. Otedola’s aim was to change and improve the company’s technology and corporate governance.
Forte Oil stretched into the power sector in 2013 when he acquired a power plant for $132 million. The company’s financial influence and extension into the power sector effected a 1,321 percent rise in the company’s share price in 2013. By 2014 the company’s revenue growth for the whole year was up to 33 percent.
By September, 2015 the company gained access to global community markets by selling off 17 percent of its equity to Mercuria Energy Group- a Swiss commodity trader. Otedola reportedly gained an sketchy sum of $200 million.
Femi Otedola has proven himself to be one man that is never confined to a single line of trade or business. He has shown himself to be a jack of a lot of trades and master of all. He established CentreForce Ltd which specialises in finance, investments and trading, he also owns Swift Insurance.
He heads SeaForce Shipping Company Ltd which was once Nigeria’s largest ship owner.
He was made a non-executive director of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc in 2006 and held the position till 2011. Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc is a multi-sectoral conglomerate which was founded by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2014 to attend to market opportunities that requires huge capital investments in Nigera and also across sub-Saharan Africa.
Femi Otedola has also invested in real estate. One of such investments was the acquisition of Stallion House in Victoria Island in Lagos by Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd in February, 2007 from the federal government.
In March, 2017 he was made chairman of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in ABuja and charged with expanding the hotel and making it a seven star facility. He also owns FO Properties Ltd. Femi Otedola is also known to be a significant sponsor of the People’s Democratic Party. He reportedly donated N100 million to sponsor President Olusegun Obasanjo’s re-election in 2003.
Aside expanding and growing in influence and wealth Zenon has also been in the news for negative reasons- in 2012 Zenon was on the list of companies involved in an alleged fuel subsidy scam. The report stated that Zenon owed the government $1.4million. In the same year Otedola was in the news for bribing Boniface Emenalo and Farouq Lawan to remove Zenon’s name from the list of companies indicted by Farouq Lawan’s committee for abusing the fuel subsidy regime in 2012. Evidence of a video of Femi Otedola giving the bribe was even produced in court.
Femi Otedola’s Net Worth.
In November, 2016 Femi Otedola lost more than half of his net worth when it drastically dropped from %1.8 billion to $550 million making him a millionaire rather than the billionaire he formerly was. This drop in his net worth was an effect of the heavy decline in the stock price of Forte Oil.
Aside from the drop in Forte Oil’s stock price, his wealth also received a blow from the devaluation of the Naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Otedola is now worth $550 million.