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Nigussie Hailu forfeits bottling company shares after court ruling

Ethiopian businessman Nigussie Hailu has lost his shares in the East African Bottling Share Company.

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Illustration: Bottling plant. ©Billionaires.Africa

Ethiopian businessman Nigussie Hailu has lost his shares in the East African Bottling Share Company (EABSC) following a ruling by Ethiopia’s Federal High Court. 

The EABSC is Coca-Cola’s bottlers in Ethiopia. Hailu, who has been the only indigenous stakeholder since 2017, owned roughly 32,624 shares.

The court froze his stake years ago and aimed to sell it off at a floor price of 58.2 million Birr ($1.4 million). The price was computed on the basis of a single share price of 1,784 Birr ($42.98), according to The Reporter Ethiopia.

Background 

Nigussie Hailu is one of several Ethiopian partners who bought the state-owned EABSC in 1995 from the former Ethiopian Privatization Agency. The others included Abinet Gebremesqel, Munir Duri, Dereje Yesuworq, Shadia Nadim and Hussein Abedella.

The five partners teamed up with the South African Bottling Company (SABCO) to buy the enterprise and then formed a private limited company, which was later transformed into a joint venture in 1999 under the name EABSC. 

However, Gebremesqel, Duri and Yesuworq became embroiled in a dispute with the company’s major shareholder over issues such as dividend payouts and their exclusion from the board. They further accused SABCO of mismanaging roughly 600 million Br ($14.46 million at current value).

The case, which was filed with Ethiopia’s high and supreme courts, ruled in favor of SABCO. However, the parties decided to negotiate out of court and agreed to a share buyout.

In 2018, SABCO bought the shares belonging to Gebremesqel, Duri and Yesuworq for 1 billion Birr ($37 million). The former shareholders remitted $200 million Br ($4.82 million) to the government for taxes. Gebremesqel took home $400 million Br ($9.64 million), while Duri and Yesuworq split the remaining funds.

In a statement, Gebremesqel said they decided to sell their shares due to the dispute, Food Business Africa reported. “We sold our shares after negotiating with the company, preserving our benefits and advantages,” Gebremesqel noted.

Hailu remained the only Ethiopian shareholder with a stake in EABSC since 2017. He has been fighting court battles for more than two decades on corruption charges involving then-Prime Minister Tamrat Layne.

The Supreme Court convicted Nigussie, Shadia, and Hussein of squandering and sharing $16 million borrowed from Mohammed Ali Al-Amoudi (Sheikh)*, illegally exporting 1,000 tons of coffee on Tamrat’s orders through a company owned by Shadia and manipulating the state to make purchases in a manner that went against the public interest.

The parties were imprisoned in 2000 for criminal liability and ordered to pay $4.2 million to the government to recover the coffee losses and $16 million to Al-Amoudi.

*Mohammed Ali Al-Amoudi (Sheikh) is an Ethiopian billionaire and Saudi citizen. He was Ethiopia’s richest person with a net worth a $8.1 billion in 2017, based on Forbes estimates. He was regarded as the second wealthiest Saudi Arabian in the world and the second richest person of African descent. In 2017, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia ordered his arrest on allegations of corruption, Gulf News reported. He was arrested alongside a group of princes and ministers and released after 14 months.

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Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote gains $100 million in June

The $100-million increase in his net worth in June follows a $300-million decline in May.

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Aliko Dangote.

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote saw his net worth rise by $100 million in June despite the mixed performance of his publicly traded companies, as investors reduced their positions in shares that had delivered impressive year-to-date growth due to profit and valuation concerns.

According to data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Dangote’s net worth increased by $100 million between the start of business on June 1 and the end of business on June 30, rising from $20.3 billion to $20.4 billion.

The $100-million increase in his net worth in June follows a $300-million decline in May, when investors sold down shares in his flagship company Dangote Cement as part of a move to preserve wealth after the cement maker’s stock price surged to an all-time high of N300 ($0.72) per share on May 19.

The increase in his net worth brings his year-to-date wealth gains to $1.32 billion, making him one of the few billionaires in the world who have been able to record impressive gains in their fortunes despite recent stock market declines.

Apart from the multimillion-dollar increase in his net worth in June, the Nigerian billionaire, who recently launched the continent’s largest granulated urea fertilizer complex, received a total dividend of $725.2 million this year from his publicly traded businesses, which is significantly more than the $639.5 million he received last year.

Through his manufacturing conglomerate Dangote Industries Limited, Dangote opened an application nearly four days ago to raise up to N300 billion ($723 million) in medium-term debt funding from Nigerian investors to fund the completion of his $19-billion integrated refinery and petrochemical complex, Dangote Oil Refinery.

The refinery’s pipeline infrastructure, when completed in the first half of 2023, will process 540,000 barrels of Nigerian crude per day in the first phase of operation, increasing to 650,000 barrels per day later.

The refinery will also produce 65 million liters of premium motor spirits (petrol), 15 million liters of diesel, and 3 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day.

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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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Cameroonian tycoon Samuel Foyou prepares to launch brewing company

Foyou’s Brasaf will officially launch its first beer containing 75 percent malt and 25 percent corn on June 30.

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Samuel Foyou.

Samuel Foyou, a Cameroonian businessman and leading industrialist, is set to launch his brewing company as part of an effort to break into the fiercely competitive alcoholic beverage industry.

On June 30, the brewery unit, Societe Brasseries Samuel Foyou (Brasaf), will officially launch its first beer, as well as a line of soft drinks marketed as low in sugar and gas under the brand, “Krystal Drink.”

“Brasaf will officially launch its first beer containing 75 percent malt and 25 percent corn on June 30. This alcoholic drink wants to be different from the others in terms of its quality and its packaging on the market,” the company stated in a press release.

The Foyou-led company revealed that it intends to defy competition codes by limiting the constraints typically observed in points of sale, as its product will be marketed in PET (plastic) bottles of 0.65cl and 0.33cl, with a 5.1-percent alcohol volume.

In the wake of Brasaf’s official launch, the number of active players in the Cameroonian brewing sector now stands at four, as the new brewer joins players such as Societe Anonyme des Brasseries du Cameroun (SABC), a subsidiary of the French group Castel, and Union des Brasseries du Cameroun (UCB), owned by Cameroonian billionaire Kadji de Fosso, in a fierce battle for market share.

The Castel-owned SABC controls 80 percent of the Cameroonian brewing sector, with Guinness Cameroon SA and UCB accounting for the remaining 20 percent.

Brasaf’s entry into the industry comes nearly eight years after it was founded by Foyou in the city of Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital, through deeds of creation filed on July 10, 2014.

Foyou, the majority shareholder in Societe Camerounaise de Fermentation (FERMENCAM), a distillery he purchased from Victor Fotso in 2006 for CFA12 billion ($19.2 million), derived the majority of his wealth from his investments and businesses in the hotel, food, and printing industries.

Toward the end of 2021, the Cameroonian businessman will open Krystal Palace, a CFA16-billion ($27.5 million) five-star hospitality establishment in Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital.

The hotel, an extension of his Krystal Palace & Resorts Group, is Douala’s first five-star hotel and Cameroon’s second after the Hilton Hotel in Yaounde. There are 237 rooms and 10 suites.

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