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Meet the five wealthiest businessmen in Morocco

Morocco is part of an elite group of five countries that account for half of Africa’s total private wealth.

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Moroccan businessman Othman Benjelloun.

Africa’s fourth-largest economy in terms of GDP, Morocco is home to three billionaires, 200 multimillionaires and 4,500 high net-worth individuals, according to AfrAsia Bank’s 2021 Africa Wealth Report.

In terms of the living standards and economic wealth of individuals in the country, Morocco ranks twelfth in Africa with a GDP per capita of $7,296, five spots ahead of Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria.

The North African country forms part of an elite group of five African countries, which account for 50 percent of the continent’s total private wealth held by individuals.

Private wealth in Morocco is valued at $111 billion.

According to Forbes estimates, this figure is 45-percent lower than the wealth of the world’s wealthiest person, Elon Musk, who has a $203.4-billion net worth.

According to data compiled by Billionaires.Africa, here is a list of Morocco’s wealthiest people.

1. King Mohammed VI

Net worth: $2 billion

Source: Inheritance

Africa’s wealthiest monarch, King Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, is one of the wealthiest individuals in the North African country. He has a $2-billion net worth, according to information retrieved from Wikipedia.

In 2015, he had a net worth of $5.7 billion, according to Forbes. 

King Mohammed derives the majority of his wealth from key stakes in the companies that he inherited from his late father, King Hassan.

He inherited a 35-percent stake in Societe Nationale d’Investissement, a leading holding company that has stakes in several publicly traded companies, including the country’s largest bank, Attijariwafa, the mining company, Managem Group, the sugar producer, Cosumar and the dairy firm, Centrale Danone.

2. Aziz Akhannouch

Net worth: $2 billion

Source: Telecommunications, Tourism and Real Estate.

According to Forbes, Aziz Akhannouch, the leader of the National Rally of Moroccan Independents, who was recently appointed as the head of government by King Mohammed VI of Morocco, is one of Morocco’s wealthiest men.

The African billionaire, who was worth more than $2 billion at the time of the drafting of this report, derives most of his wealth from Akwa Group, a multibillion-dollar conglomerate founded by his father and partner, Ahmed Wakrim, in 1932.

The Morocco-based group has interests in petroleum, gas and chemicals through the publicly-traded Afriquia Gaz and Maghreb Oxygene.

3. Othman Benjelloun

Net worth: $1.3 billion

Source: Banking

Othman Benjelloun is worth $1.3 billion, according to Forbes. 

The Moroccan business leader is known for co-founding BMCE Bank of Africa, where he serves as the chairman and CEO.

Benjelloun’s father was a significant shareholder in RMA, a Moroccan insurance company that Othman took over in 1988.

After purchasing the insurance company, he expanded the business venture into the banking industry. The banking aspect of Benjelloun’s business career is worth $4 billion based solely on its market capitalization profits.

His banking enterprise, BMCE Bank, has a presence in at least 12 countries in Africa after it purchased the Mali-based Bank of Africa.

4. Anas Sefrioui

Net worth: $1.1 billion

Source: Real Estate

Anas Sefrioui, a Moroccan businessman who dropped out of secondary school to work with his father, Haj Abdeslam Sefrioui, on a project to create skincare products, made a fortune building residential and commercial real estate throughout Morocco.

Sefrioui derives a substantial part of his net worth from operations and contracts from the publicly-traded real estate developer, Groupe Addoha.

The market value of his stake in the company was valued at $326.94 million (MAD2.91 billion) on June 22. His net worth, according to Forbes, was $1.1 billion at the time of writing.

5. Alami Lazraq

Net worth: $450 million

Source: Real Estate

Mohamed Alami Lazraq is the majority shareholder in Alliances Developpement Immobiliere (ADI), Morocco’s largest home and hotel builder.

Lazraq founded ADI in 1994 to provide construction and real estate services and develop middle- and low-income homes for household families in Morocco.

According to Forbes, Lazraq had a $450-million net worth as of 2013.

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Namibian tycoon Quinton van Rooyen’s Trustco wins round in court against JSE

Shares in the group rose 35.56 percent as a result.

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Quinton van Rooyen.

Trustco Group, an investment holding majority owned by Namibian businessman Quinton van Rooyen and his family, has won a round in court against the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

The Pretoria High Court ruled that the company may not be suspended from the JSE until the hearing of its review application in September.

The presiding judge, Nicoline Janse van Nieuwenhuizen, pre-dismissed every argument made against Trustco. The judge issued a decision, in which she ordered the JSE to be interdicted and restrained from suspending Trustco shares from trading on the local bourse.

“The grounds of review are all deserving of a proper hearing in due course, and I am satisfied that Trustco has asserted a prima facie right to fair and just administrative action,” she said in her decision.

In response to the news, shares in the group rose 35.56 percent to R0.61 ($0.0367), from a price of R0.45 ($0.0271) at the start of trading this morning.

The increase in Trustco’s share price pushed its market capitalization above R985 million ($60 million) and the value of van Rooyen’s 63.94-percent stake above R630 million ($38 million).

The court also prohibited the JSE from implementing or attempting to implement the decision that Trustco restate its annual financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, as well as the interim results for the six months ending Sept. 30, 2019.

The legal battle between Trustco and the JSE began on Nov. 11, 2020, when the exchange’s authorities claimed that the company had not met the listing requirements for its 2019 annual financial statements and 2020 interim results.

As part of the allegations, the JSE accused Trustco of violating international accounting standards by misrepresenting features of two loans and reclassifying land that it owns.

Trustco questioned the JSE’s authority to order corporations to amend their financial statements. It claimed that only boards have that authority and stated that all transactions had been “exactly accounted for, reported, and disclosed.”

Amid the legal battle between Trustco and the JSE, wary local bourse investors sold their stakes in the company, fearing a potential delisting of its shares, which caused the share price to crash to an all-time low in July before rebounding recently by double digits.

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Ugandan tycoon Charles Mbire to pocket $1.15-million interim dividend from MTN Uganda

Mbire owns a significant 3.98-percent stake in the Ugandan telecom outfit.

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Charles Mbire.

Ugandan multimillionaire businessman Charles Mbire is on track to receive an interim dividend of Ush4.48 billion ($1.155 million) from his stake in MTN Uganda after the telecom group reported a double-digit percent increase in earnings in the first half of 2022.

MTN Uganda is Uganda’s leading telecom service operator.

Mbire, the chairman of MTN Uganda and one of Uganda’s wealthiest businessmen, owns a significant 3.98-percent stake in the Ugandan telecom outfit, which operates as the fourth operating subsidiary of the South African multinational mobile telecom company, MTN Group.

The interim dividend will be paid electronically into his bank account at a later date from the group’s retained earnings of Ush902 billion ($232.4 million) at the end of its 2022 fiscal year. It is his first dividend from the telecom company since its shares were listed more than eight months ago.

The dividend payment follows a significant rise in the group’s earnings in the first half of 2022 despite a 4.9-percent decline in voice revenue, as it looks set to replicate its stellar performance in 2021.

As a result of the company’s strong financial performance, the board of directors approved the payment of an interim dividend of Ush5 ($0.00128) per share for the six months ending June 30, totaling Ush11.95 billion ($28.9 million), which is subject to withholding taxes.

According to data retrieved from the company’s earnings report for the first six months of 2022, its profit increased by 48.1 percent to Ush193.6 billion ($50.2 million) in the first half of 2022, compared to Ush130.7 billion ($33.7 million) in the first half of 2021.

The double-digit increase in profit can be attributed to a 10-percent surge in the company’s service revenue, which was driven by a significant increase in data and fintech revenue, which were more than sufficient to offset the 4.9-percent decline in voice revenue.

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Billionaire Robert Smith’s Vista to acquire Avalara business software for $8.4 billion

Smith directs Vista’s investment strategy.

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Robert Smith.

Avalara Inc., a leading tax compliance automation provider for businesses, has agreed to be bought by Vista Equity Partners for $8.4 billion.

Vista Equity Partners is a leading global investment firm led by America’s richest Black person, Robert Smith.

The transaction received unanimous approval from the Avalara board of directors and is expected to close in the second half of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions such as shareholder and regulatory approval.

Under the terms of the deal, Vista will acquire all outstanding shares of Avalara common stock for $93.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $8.4 billion, including Avalara’s net debt.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Vista has secured a total of $2.5 billion in loans from private lenders as part of the move to bring in institutional investors as co-investors.

The purchase price represents a 27-percent premium over the company’s closing share price on July 6, the last trading day prior to the announcement of the deal.

“For nearly two decades, Avalara has ambitiously pursued its vision of automating global compliance, making tax less taxing for businesses and governments around the world,” Avalara Co-Founder and CEO Scott McFarlane said.

“As a category leader, we believe that continuing to invest in innovation and experience is exciting for our customers, partners, and employees,” he said. “We are excited to work with Vista and will benefit from their enterprise software expertise as we build and improve our cloud compliance platform.”

After the conclusion of the deal, Avalara shares will no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Avalara will become a private company managed by Vista.

Smith has an $8-billion stake in Vista and directs its investment strategy.

He also serves on its executive committee, the company’s governing and decision-making body for all matters affecting overall management and strategic direction. He has supervised more than 570 completed transactions, with a total transaction value of more than $265 billion.

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