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Naspers boss among Africa's 40 richest

Nov 21 2012 14:59
Koos Bekker

Koos Bekker (AFP)

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Cape Town - Two South African tycoons have made it onto Forbes’ second annual list of Africa’s 40 richest.

They are Naspers [JSE:NPN] CEO Koos Bekker and mining mogul Desmond Sacco, who is also the richest newcomer, with a net worth of $1.4bn. The two have claimed the number 15 and 36 spots, taking the number of South Africans on the top 40 Africa rich list to 12.

According to Forbes, rising stock prices helped to shake up the ranks of the Africa rich list, with a quarter of the list members this year being newcomers.

For the first time two women - Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria and Isabel dos Santos of Angola - are also included in the newcomer list.

Bekker, known as the Rupert Murdoch of South Africa, has turned Naspers into a global media powerhouse, with investments in China’s instant messaging giant Tencent Holdings and Russia’s internet player Mail.ru.

As the CEO, Bekker has overseen a rise in the market capitalisation of Naspers from about $600m in 1997 to a recent $25bn – all the while drawing no salary, bonus or benefits.

His $450m net worth lies mostly in the value of vested options in Naspers.

Sacco chairs JSE-traded mining firm Assore [JSE:ASR], whose shares have soared more than 60% over the past year despite the recent labour strife in the mining sector.

According to Forbes, Alakija started as a secretary at an investment bank in the 1970s, launched a fashion label for upscale clientele in the 1980s and was awarded an oil prospecting licence for her Famfa Oil company in 1993. Alakija’s fortune is estimated at $600m.

Dos Santos, with a net worth estimated at $500m, is an entrepreneur, investor and daughter of Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Her first business venture was an eatery in Luanda called Miami Beach Club. Current assets include investments in Portuguese banks and Portuguese TV and internet company Zon Multimedia.

Making up the top 10 are:
  • Property baron Sudhir Ruparelia of Uganda with a net worth estimated at $900m;
  • Salim Bakhresa, the first African from Tanzania to make the Forbes list with an estimated net worth of $520m;
  • Morocco's Moulay Hafid Elalamy with a net worth of $500m;
  • Oil magnate OB Lulu-Briggs of Nigeria, with a net worth of $500m;
  • Sani Bello of Nigeria, who owns a slice of MTN Nigeria, with a fortune estimated at $425m; and
  • Naushad Merali, the only Kenyan on this year’s list, with an estimated net worth of $410m.
Other South Africans making up more than a quarter of Africa's 40 richest are:

2. Nicky Oppenheimer & family ($6.4bn);
3. Johann Rupert & family ($5.7bn);
6. Christoffel Wiese ($3.7bn);
8. Patrice Motsepe ($2.65bn);
17. Stephen Saad ($975m);
21. Cyril Ramaphosa ($675m);
23. Lauritz (Laurie) Dippenaar ($625m);
27. Raymond Ackerman ($550m);
35. Gerrit Thomas (GT) Ferreira ($480m); and
38. Jannie Mouton ($415m).

According to Forbes, Africa seems to be getting too small for the continent’s richest man. Nigerian Aliko Dangote, with an estimated net worth of $12bn, is planning to expand his cement operations to Myanmar and Iraq.

His flagship company, Dangote Cement, is Africa's largest cement manufacturer with operations in 14 African countries. Last month he sold his controlling stake in Dangote Flour Mills to consumer goods firm Tiger Brands [JSE:TBS] for $190m.

*Fin24 is a Naspers publication.

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