Home » Nigeria’s second-richest man Abdul Samad Rabiu lost $1.8 billion in 2023

Nigeria’s second-richest man Abdul Samad Rabiu lost $1.8 billion in 2023

Rabiu faced this setback primarily due to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) free float policy

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Abdul Samad Rabiu

Nigerian billionaire Abdul Samad Rabiu encountered a significant setback in 2023, as his net worth declined by $1.8 billion, culminating in a year-end valuation of $5.7 billion. Although maintaining his position as Nigeria’s second-richest individual on Forbes’ list, Rabiu faced this setback primarily due to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) free float policy.

Starting 2023 with a net worth of $7.5 billion, Rabiu faced a $1.8-billion wealth decline due to the Central Bank’s implementation of a free float policy. This policy impacted Rabiu’s fortune, leading his net worth to drop to $5.7 billion.

Despite retaining his position as the second-richest person in Nigeria behind billionaire businessman and industrialist Aliko Dangote, Rabiu exited the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, reflecting the impact of the naira devaluation policy by the current administration.

Naira devaluation and market dynamics

In 2023, the Nigerian naira witnessed a substantial fall against the U.S. dollar, marking one of its worst depreciation since the country’s return to democracy in 1999. The CBN merged all segments of the foreign exchange market into the Investors and Exporters window, adopting the willing buyer, willing seller model. Bloomberg projects a further decline in naira’s value in 2024.

Bloomberg’s data indicated a 55-percent depreciation of the naira in 2023, reaching its lowest point on the official NAFEM market at N1,099.05/$ on Dec. 8, 2023. The currency closed the year at N907.11/$, as the worst-performing currency in Africa.

Rabiu faced a loss amounting to one-third of his wealth three months into the naira devaluation policy in June 2023. However, thanks to the surge in the share price of his unified food business, BUA Foods, he managed to pare his wealth loss during the year down to $1.8 billion.

BUA Foods’ remarkable performance

The positive performance of Rabiu’s stake in BUA Foods played a crucial role in mitigating the impact of the currency devaluation. The share price of BUA Foods on the Nigerian Exchange surged by 197.54 percent, closing at N193.4 per share in 2023 compared to N65 at the end of 2022. BUA Foods’ market cap also experienced a remarkable increase, rising from N1.1 trillion in 2022 to N3.4 trillion at the end of 2023.

Rabiu’s wealth is largely tied to his shares in BUA Cement, where he owns approximately 98 percent of the company’s shares directly and through affiliated companies. Despite a slight drop in market capitalization to N3.28 trillion compared to N3.31 trillion in 2022, BUA Cement remains a major contributor to Rabiu’s fortune.

In the face of the challenging economic landscape marked by currency devaluation, Rabiu’s strategic investments in BUA Foods have proven instrumental in safeguarding his wealth, showcasing resilience in turbulent financial times.

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