How Mike Adenuga Makes His Billions

Nigeria records several billionaires on the Forbes list– including Aliko Dangote, Abdulsamad Rabiu, and Mike Adenuga.

Mike Adenuga comes behind Aliko Dangote as the second-richest man in Nigeria and fifth-richest man in Africa. According to the list, he has approximately $7.3 billion to his name. As of this writing, he is ranked number 324 worldwide.

Adenuga’s father was a schoolteacher and his mother a businesswoman. He attended Ibadan Grammar School and Comprehensive High School.

He then went on to study Business Administration at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, and Pace University. Adenuga also worked as a taxi driver during his studies to sustain himself.

After returning from his studies, he helped his mother run the sawmill business, before eventually taking over. An opportunity presented itself when an Austrian lace manufacturer  advised him to invest in laces, where he began importing lace materials. The tycoon earned his first million from these businesses–from distributing soft drinks and selling lace, at age 26.

Mike Adenuga: The Man, His Role in Africa's Telecommunications Industry

The 69-year-old, born Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuga, then went to make his fortune from diverse industries, including oil exploration and production, banking, and telecom. He owns Nigeria’s native mobile telecom company, Globacom, which is also the third-largest operator in the country.

Industries Contributing to Adenuga’s Wealth

Adenuga has built his wealth around oil production and mobile telecom. Here are the details:

Oil Production

Mike Adenuga owns Conoil Producing Company, one of the largest indigenous oil exploration and production companies. It was among the pioneering Nigerian companies licensed to carry out oil exploration activities. Conoil was incorporated in early 1984, after he was awarded the drilling license. 

Conoil Producing Company, formerly Consolidated Oil Company, operates six oil blocks in the Niger Delta, including OMLs 103, 136 and OPLs 290 and 257. Conoil Producing paid for the oil blocks after acquiring them in competitive bidding rounds held by the state government.

The company’s primary activities include crude oil exploration, production, and sale. It has accumulated over 400 million barrels of oil reserve and around 1.8 trillion cubic feet of gas. Its current total potential oil resources records about 820 million barrels.

Conoil Producing gross profit soared by 76.6% to N3.79 billion in 2021 from the previous year’s N2.15 billion. It recorded a revenue rise to N126.69 billion from N117.47 billion in 2020. Owler estimates Conoil’s annual revenue to be $307.1 million. 

In the first half of 2022, the oil stalwart made over $4.35 million in profit from $2.55 million in 2021, according to company reports. Mike Adenuga has controlling shares in the company with a 74.4% stake through Conpetro Limited. His earnings per share dividend amounted to $3.1 million (N1.29 billion), contributing to his massive wealth.

Mobile Telecoms

The self-made billionaire is also the founder and sole owner of Globacom, a Nigerian indigenous GSM mobile phone network. The telephone network company claims over 55 million subscribers from the populated country and neighboring countries, like Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Benin. 

The company already has three subsidiaries– Glo Benin, Glo Mobile (operating in Nigeria), and Glo Ghana. It also heavily invests in entertainment and social interventions in the African space. For example, Globacom Group is the biggest investor of Nollywood, helping the industry extend to the global entertainment scene. 

In addition, the firm has invested in sports, sponsoring annual events like the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards. As of 2019, the company had over 3,500 employees globally. 

Globacom recently made a multimillion dollar deal with Ceragon Networks to improve its service quality and compete with MTN, which claims the largest market share in Africa’s economy. 

The partnership will help Globacom create the most robust, innovative telecommunication networks, while minimizing overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and increasing the company’s revenue. 

Real Estate

Cobblestone Properties, his property company, has hundreds of prime commercial and residential properties in the country. It specializes in Real Estate, Property Management, Project Management, and Project Design. The firm serves real estate professionals, sundry investors, home buyers, and high net worth individuals.

As a major player in the real estate market in Nigeria, the company earns hefty revenue from selling plots of land and renting out residential properties. The most expensive houses cost nearly N1,000,000,000, whereas the cheapest goes for N500,000. 

As of this writing, the company has 199,584 properties on sale in Nigeria alone. The properties include houses, shops, lands, flats, commercial spaces, and shops for let. The houses for sale cost an average of N54,999,602. One of its latest developments, launched in late 2019, is Sisi Paris, a 10-story luxury apartments developed for visitors accustomed to luxurious lifestyles. 

Other Businesses and Properties

Adenuga ventured into banking business in 1990, incorporating the Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB), popularly known as Equitorial Bank, as a completely indigenous bank. In 2006, ETB formed a merger with Devcon bank to provide consolidation services. 

By 2011, the bank had expanded with 100 subsidiaries all over Nigeria. The Federal Government of Nigeria holds a significant portion of the bank.

ETB was among the 26 banks licensed by Nigeria’s banking regulator, Central Bank of Nigeria, in 2011, just before Sterling Bank acquired it in a merger.

Sterling Bank made a N7.5 billion gross profit in 2021 from its overall operations, which makes a 108% rise from N3.6 billion in financial year 2011.

Finally, the business mogul owns an expansive, multi-million estate containing nine duplexes on Lagos’ Banana Island. The Mike Adenuga Towers in Victoria Island is also under his business outfit.

Zooming Out

The success story of Mike Adenuga is of focus, dedication, and ambition. His business ventures and philanthropic acts have won him several accolades, including African Entrepreneur of the year (2007), Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON)–the second-highest honor for a non-government official, Pillar of Football in Africa, etc.

Mike Adenuga’s investments have had a great impact on the African economy. Do you think the African economy has opportunities for anyone to build from the ground up? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.