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Nigerian gaming tycoon Kunle Soname ventures into aviation

Soname is a Nigerian gaming tycoon and chairman of Bet9ja.

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Nigerian gaming tycoon Kunle Soname

Kunle Soname, a Nigerian gaming tycoon and chairman of Bet9ja, a Lagos-based betting platform, has taken delivery of the first two aircraft purchased under his recently launched airline company, ValueJet, as part of a move to begin regional flights after all necessary processes are completed.

On May 20, the airline’s fleet, which includes recently purchased aircraft (CRJ-900s with the registration, 5N-BXS and 5N-BXT), arrived at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

ValueJet is preparing the fleet for demo flights as part of the regulatory requirements set by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which is a mandatory regulatory exercise toward receiving an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from the NCAA.

The decision by Soname to enter the aviation industry is consistent with concerted efforts to make flight tickets more affordable for Nigerians and to create value for investors in an industry plagued by operational difficulties and a persistent rise in operating expenses.

According to available statistics, only about five percent of Nigeria’s population can presently afford a flight ticket, which ValueJet hopes to significantly increase through innovative fare pricing.

Soname emphasized Nigeria’s role as an African country in driving global trade. “Despite all of the industry’s current challenges,” he said, “Nigeria and Africa are well poised to drive economic growth with an effective aviation sector.”

“ValueJet is a visionary airline that is gradually positioning itself to efficiently facilitate growth opportunities across geographies,” he added.

According to ValueJet Managing Director Omololu Majekodunmi, the company’s recent move is the first of many in the industry. He went on to say that the firm’s recently purchased aircraft were chosen based on performance, safety, and comfort.

“ValueJet will deploy these aircraft for regional flight services once we have completed all mandatory processes and secured AOC approvals,” he said.

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Egypt’s richest man Nassef Sawiris loses $600 million in June after gaining $1.25 billion in May

His fortune is derived from a 38.8-percent stake in Netherlands-based OCI N.V. and a six-percent stake in German sportswear behemoth Adidas.

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Egypt's richest man Nassef Sawiris.

After reporting a whopping $1.25-billion increase in his net worth in May, Egypt’s richest man Nassef Sawiris saw his fortune plummet by $600 million in June as the market value of his investment portfolio fell by double digits, mirroring the drop in EU stocks over the month.

Sawiris, a leading Egyptian businessman and one of Africa’s richest billionaires, serves on the boards of Adidas, a leading sportswear manufacturer, and OCI N.V., a global manufacturer and distributor of nitrogen products.

The majority of his fortune is derived from a 38.8-percent stake in Netherlands-based OCI N.V. and a six-percent stake in German sportswear behemoth Adidas, which is valued at $2.11 billion at the time of writing this report.

According to data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Sawiris had a net worth of $7.45 billion at the start of business on June 1, but his net worth dropped to $6.85 billion at the end of business on June 30 due to a decline in the share prices of OCI N.V. and Adidas.

The $600-million decline in his net worth in June follows a drop in EU equities as global markets face immense pressure, with aggressive monetary tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve and other major central banks fueling fears of an impending economic downturn.

Despite the recent loss, the year-to-date change in Sawiris’ net worth remains positive, with the businessman’s fortune rising by more than $350 million this year, from $6.5 billion at the start of business in January to $6.85 billion at the time of writing.

The increase in his net worth year-to-date can be linked to his stake in OCI N.V., which enjoyed an increase in its valuation after the group reported a 246-percent increase in net income in the first quarter of 2022, from $102 million in the first quarter of 2021 to $354 million, driven by a 108-percent rise in revenue above $2.3 billion due to higher volumes and selling prices.

The group revealed that its outlook remains positive until at least 2024, providing strong support for nitrogen prices to remain above historical averages.

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Ghanaian tycoon Daniel McKorley’s McDan Group to donate land to students for soya bean cultivation

McKorley is a well-known businessman and the founder and CEO of the McDan Group.

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Ghanaian tycoon Daniel McKorley.

Ghanaian tycoon Daniel McKorley has announced plans to donate three to five acres of land to students for soya bean cultivation as part of the efforts to increase food sufficiency in Ghana, as food prices continue to rise due to supply constraints exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

According to GhanaWeb, the leading business mogul announced the decision at the third edition of the McDanYouthConnect series of events, explaining that the move is part of a concerted effort to improve agriculture and promote food sufficiency in the country. He added that students will be given the opportunity to cultivate one or two products and create value for the nation.

His decision, which was applauded by all dignitaries and persons who attended the event, resulted in the release of 100 acres of land for the block farming project.

McKorley went on to advise students to continue engaging with the “right” people to increase their knowledge base, to network, and to ask for help when trying out something new, as such an attitude in life will allow them to unlock their future potential and grow.

McKorley is a well-known businessman and the founder and CEO of the McDan Group of Companies, an Accra-based transportation and logistics group with three divisions: McDan Shipping, McDan Aviation, and McDan Logistics.

Aside from its core operations in Ghana, the group maintains active operations and an extensive presence in West African countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Equatorial Guinea through its broad interests in shipping, logistics, and aviation.

McDan Group, led by McKorley, opened its first private jet terminal at an international airport in Accra, Ghana’s capital city, earlier this year, with three planes and one helicopter operating under the McDan Aviation brand.

The jet terminal will serve high-end clients seeking to maximize luxury clients and corporate executives seeking a quick and efficient commute for business purposes.

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Johannesburg-based entrepreneur Tasoulla Hadjigeorgiou’s LottoStar secures investment from UK bookmaker

LottoStar was founded in 2014 as a family-led business.

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Johannesburg-based entrepreneur Tasoulla Hadjigeorgiou.

LottoStar, a South African online betting platform led by Johannesburg-based businesswoman Tasoulla Hadjigeorgiou, has received a significant investment from UK bookmaker Betfred as part of a move to expand operations in the local market and throughout the region.

The investment is part of a strategic partnership in which Betfred will acquire a majority stake in the Johannesburg-based online betting company for an undisclosed sum.

It comes nearly a year after the UK bookmaker made its first investment in the region with the acquisition of Sepels Sports Bet and the Betting World, both owned by Phumelela Leisure.

With the recent agreement, Betfred, which operates 1,500 high street betting shops in the UK and over 50 shops in South Africa, will now be able to deliver value across LottoStar’s 70 locations in South Africa.

The strategic partnership, which has been dubbed “transformative” for the South African sports betting market, will expand LottoStar’s online betting offering and position the company as a dominant player in the region.

Hadjigeorgiou, LottoStar founder and CEO, stated that the partnership with Betfred will not only expand its offerings and reach, but will also provide quality services to its customers.

“We are confident that this partnership will expand our offering and provide our customers with the highest quality services. Our partnership also paves the way for greater collaboration and expansion,” she said.

LottoStar was founded in 2014 by Hadjigeorgiou and her business partner – her husband – as a family-led business with an innovative model to offer an online fixed-money betting platform in South Africa.

It has grown into South Africa’s leading brand for fixed-odds numbers betting and Live Games since its inception more than eight years ago, thanks to high-profile marketing campaigns and ongoing efforts to better its communities through key corporate social responsibility initiatives across the country.

LottoStar took in a total of €1.7 billion ($2.06 billion) in bets in 2020, as it provided users with a variety of services such as lucrative payouts on games that ran multiple times a day and paid out winners almost instantly, as well as bets on the live outcomes of traditional casino games such as blackjack, poker, and roulette.

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