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Nigerian Billionaires Lose Billions Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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The year 2020 began with lots of predictions and promises, but the volatility in the stock market (which was occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic) was not top on the list.

On February 27, Nigeria recorded the index case of the Coronavirus pandemic, an Italian who visited the country for business reasons. A month later, the federal government was preparing to announce a lockdown of the economy as part of measures to curb the seemingly unpredictable increase in the spread of the Coronavirus.

The lockdown which commenced 2 days after the announcement brought a lot of uncertainty into the financial markets, and this definitely comes with huge consequences for individual and corporate investors.

For many investors around the world, the first four months of the year was a bad one. There were fluctuations and sudden declines in stock prices. And for top Nigerian billionaires, it was definitely more of the losses than the gains. This article examines how they performed in the last two months, from February 29 after the index case was Q1 2020.

Alhaji Aliko Dangote

Being the richest man in Nigeria is no mean feat, yet Dangote has been able to maintain this title for years without breaking a sweat. However, the Coronavirus pandemic has taken a bite out of the billionaire’s billions.

By the end of February 2020, Dangote’s 14,500,315,501 direct shares in Dangote Cement Plc worth N2,465,053,635,170 at the share price of N170 per unit, while the 27,642,637 shares which he controls through Dangote Industries Limited were worth N4,699,248,290 at the same share price.

By implication, the total worth of his shareholding in Dangote Cement Plc as at February 29, 2020, was N 2,469,752,883,460‬—over N2.4 trillion.

The value slid downwards hitting N129.70 at the end of March, before rising slightly to N130 at April 30.

At this time, Dangote’s indirect shares were worth N3,593,542,810 while his direct shares were worth N1,885,041,015,130 summing up to N1,888,634,557,940 (over N1.8 trillion).

By comparing N 2,469,752,883,460‬, the value as at February 29, with N1,888,634,557,940 as at April 30, we can see that the billionaire’s assets in Dangote Cement Plc crashed by N 581,118,325,520 (N581 billion).

By any standards, this was no small loss.

Stock prices at Dangote sugar also suffered a similar fate. Starting at N14.00 per unit on January 1, the stock experienced fluctuations before closing the quarter at N10.00 per unit. Dangote’s 8,775,541,295 direct and indirect shares were valued to be worth N122,857,578,130.00 (N122.85 billion) at a share price of N14.00 on January 1.

Twelve weeks later, with the stock price down to N10.00 per unit, the worth of the same shares had dropped to N87,755,412,950.00 (N87.75 billion), a heartbreaking loss of N35,102,165,180.00 (N35.1 billion).

Stock prices at Dangote sugar, however, took a different trend for this period, starting at N12.1 on February 29 and appreciating almost 3% to 12.45 at the end of April.

Tony Elumelu

Entrepreneur billionaire and Chairman of United Bank for Africa Plc, Tony Elumelu also had some losses during the two months in review.

TOE, as he is called, directly owns a total of 190,100,234 units of shares in the bank, and 2,114,110,884 units of indirect shareholding in the company. This brings his total shareholding to 2,304,211,118 units of shares. By the close of trading on February 29, UBA’s shares were worth N6.7, meaning Elumelu’s total stocks in the bank was worth N15,438,214,490.6 (N15.43 billion).

There was not much movement in the share values for UBA plc as it started N6.7 on February 29 and ended April at N6.05. This means that by April 30, Elumelu shares (multiplied by the share price of N6.05 per unit) were worth N13,940,477,263.9 (N13.94 billion), showing a loss of N1,497,737,226.7 (N1.49 billion). This loss was a 9.7% depreciation of his share value, but N1.49 billion was no small loss for TOE.

Jim Ovia

The founder of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia is one of Nigeria’s top billionaires. He directly owns 3,546,199,395 units and indirectly owns 1,513,137,010 units of shares. With over 5 billion units of direct and indirect shareholding in the bank, he is the biggest shareholder. Zenith Bank’s shares closed at N18.5 on February 29, danced a little way up and a little way down, before sliding continuously to close at N14.3 as at April 30.

As at February ending, Ovia’s total 5,059,336,405 units of shares were worth N93.59 billion (N93,597,723,492 at the share price of N18.5 per unit. By April 30, following the crash in prices, the worth of the same shares had dropped to N72,348,510,591.5 (N72.35 billion). Subtracting the latter value from the first, one can see that the worth of Jim Ovia’s stocks dropped by a whopping N21.2 billion (N21,249,212,901).

Among all the billionaires, Jim Ovia suffered the greatest percentage loss in the worth of his assets, 22.7%.

A heart-rending drop for him!

Herbert Wigwe

Access Bank’s Group CEO, Herbert Wigwe had a total shareholding of 1,441,522,910 units as at December 2019, before selling off a total of 55,611,001 indirect shares in four transactions, all in January 2020.

The depletion of his indirect holding through Trust and Capital Limited left him with 1,385,902,910 total shares made up of 1,184,680,195.5 units indirect holding and 201 million (201,231,713) direct shares. ‬

Share prices of Access bank closed at N8,2 on February 29 and dropped to N6.6 on April 30. His 1.39 billion shares were worth N 11,364,477,653.80 on February 29, and crashed by 19% to become N 9,147,018,599.40 on April 30.

Wigwe is N2.22 billion poorer because of the COVID-19 induced stock crisis.

Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu

According to the Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc (CCNN) 2018 financials, Abdulsamad Rabiu had 12,752,801,231 units of shares. However, CCNN has since then been merged with the Obu Cement to give birth to BUA Cement. Since the merger, the new entity BUA cement has not released any financial statement so there was no way to confirm what Rabiu’s stakes are in the company presently.

However, BUA cement had its stock close at N37.15 at the end of February 29, 2020. This value dropped by 12.25% over the weeks to hit N32.6 by 30 April.

By implication, whatever the number of shares the billionaire had with the company, the value has dropped by over 12% in the COVID-19 dominated weeks.

Note that the stocks started the year at N18.10, meaning that the billionaire has lost even much more than we have captured.

Austin Avuru

Having dispensed of a few shares in 2019, co-founder of Seplat Austin Avuru ended the year with 58,970,463 indirect shares in the oil and gas company.

Avuru’s shares, when multiplied by the share price of N605 gives a naira value of N 35,677,130,115 as of February 29.

Taking it two months forward, a stock price of N494.4 as at April 30 shows that the value had depleted to N29,154,996,907.20

Avuru lost about N6.5 billion (N 6,522,133,207.80) to the stock price decline.

Mike Adenuga

Mike Adenuga is the Chairman of Conoil Nigeria Plc, and directly owns 516,298,603 units of shares. He also has 103,259,720 units of indirect shares through Conpetro Limited, making for about 74.4% of Conoil’s issued share capital.

Conoil’s stock prices started at N18 per unit and only dropped a little to close at N17.4 on April 30.

Multiplying Adenuga’s 103,259,720 indirect shares by the stock price of N18 gives us a naira value of N1.86 billion (N 1,858,674,960) as at February ending, but the slight decline in stock value reduced the worth of these shares to N1.79 billion (N1,796,719,128).

Adenuga lost N61.9 million (N61,955,832) in his indirect shares to the COVID-19 crisis.

The 516,298,603 direct shares fell from N9.29 billion (N9,293,374,854) to N8.9 billion (N8,983,595,692.2) by end of April—a difference of N309 million.

From these figures, we can see that Adenuga’s had a loss of N371 million (N371,734,993) within the period under review.

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2021 memorable moments

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2021 like its predecessor (2020) was an eventful year through and through, from the advent of the streaming platform, Spotify, to the breath-taking world tours of two of Africa’s finest, Burna Boy and Wizkid, thanks to limiting the hardcore COVID-19 restrictions worldwide, to “Essence” and “Love Nwantiti” takeover and many more. This is a recap of some notable moments of 2021 in the Nigerian music industry. 

Spotify in Nigeria:

 Spotify, one of the most used digital streaming platforms (DSPs) since its invention in 2006 in Sweden, finally made its grand entry into the Nigerian space on 23 February 2021 but streaming commenced in early March. Apart from its appealing UI/UX design, it edges over its competitors like Apple Music and Audiomack in all or some of the below stated reasons: 
Spotify provides real-time information on the number of streams of songs and the average monthly listeners of the artists.
The built-in podcast feature also gives it an edge over its various competitions. Apart from the available podcasts which can be found on other podcast streaming platforms, Spotify also provides exclusives, available only in the app, financially supporting the hosts of these exclusively owned podcasts. 
The Spotify annual Wrappedgives a more detailed insight into what each listener has been up to year-round, not only his/her most listened songs, albums, artistes and hours spent listening to music, it goes further to dive into genre breakdown of each listener and provides a listener-to-the-world-listenership, a primetime comparison in percentage as to where the listener stands in streaming their favourite artiste(s) and song(s), etc.
In less than 3 months, Spotify was able to amass thousands of streams and subscribers in the country, even having those who used other services switching to theirs in the blink of an eye. What a nice investment, a profitable one at that.

Essence Global Acceptance:

Wizkid and Temshad a surreal year in 2021. Not that Wizkid’s stance on the music scene was not acclaimed pre-2021 but thanks to the commercial success of track 11 off of 2020 released “Made In Lagos” album, it helped elevate his status and introduced the already blooming talent, Tems, to the world’s music stage.
Yes, the foresight of Wizkid to have tweeted that he and Tems created magic months before the song’s release should have given fans a clue into what he had planned for the mid-tempo pop song but no one could have predicted it magically transforming into the wonderful track that it is today; fast forward to June 2021, Essence became the world’s favourite song, even being tipped as the ‘Song of the Summer’. 
Not only is the “You don’t need no other body” chorus well-known and publicly hollered at festivals, shows, concerts, parties, clubs, and so forth but we need no other body to tell us how grand the track is, breaking records almost every other day. The remix with Pop superstar, Justin Bieber, assisted it to become the first song by an African act to debut on the Billboard Hot 200 top 10, peaking at No. 9.
The certifications of Essence is mind-blowing: Gold in Canada and New Zealand, Silver in the United Kingdom, and Platinum in the USA (to name a few), in essence, becoming the Nigerian song African originated song to go Platinum in the States, selling 1 million copies; Essence nomination for the newly carved “Best Global Music Performance”for the 2022 Grammy Awards is a nice icing to the delectable hotcake the song is.

Fireboy DML’s Peru Record-breaking Year: 

When R&B star, Fireboy DML, said on the Afro-fusion track—Peru: “Wo ni won wa mi”, translated to “I’m being sought after” or “They are looking for me” in English, he was not lying. Immediately Peru dropped, it almost immediately became a fan favourite due to its easy-to-learn lyrics and enigmatic third verse which drew a lot of comparison to Wande Coal’s vocal texture.
Peru provided Fireboy DML with his first-ever No. 1 on the 
Nigerian Apple Music Top 100 and iTunes, it peaked at No. 1 on the UK Afrobeats Chart, eventually breaking the record as the song to have spent the most weeks at the summit of the chart, 4 weeks in total; the remix with global music icon, Ed Sheeran was released on Christmas Eve and immediately rose to the peak position on the UK Apple Music Top 100, becoming the first-ever Nigerian song to achieve such feat.
To think of the fact that Peru would have remained in the hard drive, never to be released until Fireboy’s label honcho, Olamide, took matters into his hands and leaked the song is still mind-boggling to date. A record-breaking year for Peru and Fireboy DML at large!

Love Nwantiti Resurgence: 

2021 was undoubtedly one of the best years for Nigerian music traversing to an international audience. The mysterious humming buzzing “Ahh, ah-ah-ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah” sound by CKay proves that distinctly. Allow me to explain.
Never in the history of the African music industry, probably the world’s, have a song released 2 years prior (2019), and its remix a year after (2020) trended as Love Nwantiti did, having the whole world at a chokehold. Thanks to TikTokand human’s inquisitive nature which transcended to the song being looked on Shazam, Love Nwantitiresurgence became a global phenom in the global music mainstream.
The streaming numbers are ridiculous! On Spotify alone, Love Nwantiti is the most streamed Afrobeat song, occupying the Top 2 spots via its original and DJ Yo! &AX’EL (remix) versions. The certifications CKayaccumulate because of Love Nwantiti’sgrandeur is too many to count but to state a few: 2X Platinum in Canada, Platinum in Portugal, Gold in the UK, Austria, Australia, and Spain. Not forgetting that each official music video shoot for the original and its many remixes crossed the 50M views mark on YouTube. 
What a comeback Love Nwantitihad in 2021, a beautiful sight to behold. A win for the “Afrobeat to the world” mantra and African music as a collective. 

Burna Boy’s World Tour

Arrogant, proud, egotistical, boastful, and many more qualifiers are available to describe the personality of Ogulu Damini—popularly known as Burna Boy. But one can’t deny that he makes great music. And in 2021, the African Giant went as far as expressing himself, his art, and his music on International stages. 
Burna Boy came packed. Each show came with its tale, its own definition. From stepping out of a spaceship to his irresistible performances on stage, his flow with the melodies and harmonies of the live band, to the transitioning from one hit song to another, Burna Boy brought it all. From the sold-out show in the O2 Arena in London to selling out a 20,000 capacity in Bercy, France, having the people of Stockholm sing word for word his song, Burna Boy made sure the world heard him, see him and know him. 

Amaarae x Moliy

Known for her otherworldly voice and her calm likewise soothing type of songs she makes, Amaarae has fast become one of the most promising female acts on the African continent. In 2021, The Ghanaian act went as far as breaking into the Billboard Hot 100 alongside countrywoman Moliy and Kali Uchis with the remix of her amazing song ‘Sad Gurlz Luv Money’. The song peaked at no.80 on the Billboard Hot 100, making her the first female Afrobeats act to debut a solo single on the chart. 

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Optimistic Luminous is creating a genre

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Wizkid is Africa’s Apple Music Artist of the Year award recipient for 2021

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Wizkid (sobriquet Big Wiz or StarBoy) receives the honour as Apple Music Artist of the Year (Africa) for 2021. The annual award held by the premier streaming platform praises individual artites for having a stellar year on its music platform both through streams and culturally.

On Wizkid winning, an excerpt from Apple Music reads: ” In October 2020, he released “Made in Lagos,” his critically acclaimed and most commercially successful album, which included his hit song “Essence,” a track that gained 125 million plays on Apple Music and over 2.8 million Shazams. This past year, he’s been the most streamed African artist on the continent on Apple Music and ranked on the Daily Top 100 charts in 60 countries, in addition to his monthly plays on Apple Music growing by more than 250 percent outside of Africa.”

“Thank you to Apple Music for this award”, Wizkid said, continuing, “It’s a blessing to get to do what I do, and I’m proud to be representing for Africa.”, Ayodeji “Wizkid” Balogun says in thank you speech. The Apple Music Award, the third annual series will air on Apple Music and Apple TV starting Tuesday, December 7, 2021.

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