Home » Court rejects $2.7-billion claim by Ethiopia’s richest man Mohammed Al-Amoudi

Court rejects $2.7-billion claim by Ethiopia’s richest man Mohammed Al-Amoudi

Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed Al-Amoudi faces setback in $2.7-billion SAMIR dispute

by Omokolade Ajayi
Mohammed Al-Amoudi

Key Point

  • Ethiopia’s richest man, Mohammed Al-Amoudi, faces a $2.7-billion claim rejection in the SAMIR oil refinery dispute.
  • SAMIR’s $4-billion debt includes 40% owed to Morocco’s State; liquidation process extended by Casablanca’s Commercial Court.
  • Al-Amoudi’s fortune rises by $578 million in 2024, nearing $10 billion, driven by robust holdings in Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden.

Ethiopia’s richest man Mohammed Al-Amoudi has encountered a significant setback in Morocco. A $2.7-billion compensation demand by the leading billionaire representing, Swedish Corral Group, has been rejected in the ongoing dispute over SAMIR, Morocco’s sole oil refinery, currently under judicial liquidation.

The demand was dismissed during the latest arbitration sessions held by the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington, D.C. The rejection could trigger further legal actions between the two parties, especially after Morocco accused Al-Amoudi of blackmail and illegal maneuvers to impede SAMIR’s liquidation process.

SAMIR halted operations in 2016 following its bankruptcy in 2015 due to severe financial issues. The company has a debt of approximately MAD40 billion ($4 billion), with 40 percent owed to the State and the remainder to Moroccan and international banks. Banque Populaire holds a claim of MAD2 billion ($200 million).

SAMIR collapse: Court blames ex-management, liquidation extended

Casablanca’s Commercial Court pinned the financial collapse of SAMIR refinery on its former management, including Mohammed Al-Amoudi.

The court extended the judicial liquidation process. On Jan. 26, 2023, Mustapha Baitas, Morocco’s government spokesperson, acknowledged the international legal implications, stating a resolution can’t proceed without their outcome.

SAMIR employees’ situation remains critical. Energy Minister Leila Benali stressed any settlement must prioritize their rights and interests. Despite legal hurdles, they hold onto hope for a solution.

Al-Amoudi’s wealth rises amid legal woes

Mohammed Al-Amoudi, who was detained in Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption drive in November 2017, has seen his fortune increase by over half a billion dollars in 2024.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, his net worth has increased by $578 million this year — from $9.05 billion on Jan. 1 to $9.63 billion — bringing him close to the $10-billion milestone he last achieved seven years ago.

This financial gain stems from his robust industrial holdings across Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden. A major contributor is his stake in Preem, Sweden’s leading energy company. It has increased by $570 million year-to-date, rising from $3.74 billion to $4.31 billion. Al-Amoudi also maintains substantial interests in Midroc Gold, Okote Gold, and Svenska Petroleum.

Mohammed Al-Amoudi targets business growth

Al-Amoudi is actively seeking opportunities to expand his business interests and recalibrate his portfolio. In February, reports emerged of his Swedish oil and gas company, Svenska Petroleum, engaging in discussions with Houston-based Vaalco Energy regarding a potential acquisition of a 27.39-percent stake in Block CI-40, located offshore Côte d’Ivoire.

On the other hand, Al-Amoudi’s holding company, Corral Petroleum Holdings AB (CPH), is exploring the sale of its subsidiary, Preem Holding AB. Preem, valued at nearly $5 billion, is a major player in Scandinavia’s advanced renewable fuels market.

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