Femi Otedola (born 1962) is a Nigerian businessman, entrepreneur philanthropist, and chairman of Forte Oil Plc, an importer of fuel products. He is also the founder of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, and the owner of a number of other businesses across shipping, real estate and finance.
He is the second Nigerian after Aliko Dangote to be included on the Forbes list of dollar-denominated billionaires. He has recently invested in power generation as part of the liberalisation of the sector in Nigeria.
Otedola was born in 1962 in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, western Nigeria, into the family of the late Sir Michael Otedola, a former Governor of Lagos State who served between 1992 and 1993.
In the late 1980s he ran the marketing for his family’s printing press before going on to trade petroleum products.
Zenon Petroleum and Gas
In 2003, having identified an opportunity in the fuel retail market, Otedola secured the finance to set up Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, a petroleum products marketing and distribution company.
As owner and chairman of Zenon, in 2004 he invested N15 billion in downstream infrastructure development and acquired storage depots at Ibafon, Apapa as well as four cargo vessels, amounting to a combined total storage capacity of 147,000 metric tonnes.The same year he acquired a fleet of 100 DAF fuel-tanker trucks for N1.4 billion.
By 2005 Zenon controlled a major share of the Nigerian diesel market, supplying fuel to most of the major manufacturers in the country including Dangote Group, Cadbury, Coca Cola, Nigerian Breweries, MTN, Unilever, Nestle and Guinness.
In March 2007 it was announced that ten banks had approved a syndicated loan of US$1.5 billion (N193.5 billion) to Zenon as working capital to build the largest premium motor spirit storage facility in Africa. Later that year Zenon acquired a 28.7 per cent stake in African Petroleum, one of Nigeria’s largest fuel marketers. Zenon also invested across the financial sector, becoming the largest shareholder in a number of Nigerian banks including Zenith Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA).As well as diesel, Zenon also became an important player in the kerosene market.
In 2012 Zenon was among a number of companies named in a report into an alleged fuel subsidy scam. According to the report Zenon owed the government $1.4m. It was further reported that Farouk Lawan, the Nigerian legislator who compiled the report, had apparently been filmed collecting $500,000 of a supposed total sum of $3m from Femi Otedola to remove Zenon from the list. It subsequently emerged that Otedola had previously reported Lawan’s harassment and demands for bribes to the State Security Services, who had orchestrated a sting operation. Lawan was charged with corruption in February 2013
Femi Otedola of Nigeria is the controlling shareholder of publicly traded Forte Oil, an oil marketing and power generation company. Originally a Nigerian subsidiary of British Petroleum (BP), Forte Oil has more than 500 gas stations across the country.
It owns oil storage depots and manufactures its own line of engine oils. In 2013, Otedola led the company to purchase a government-owned stake in a gas-fired power plant in Kogi state in central Nigeria.
In September 2015, Swiss commodities giant Mercuria said it would acquire a 17% stake in Forte Oil for $200 million; as of late February 2016 the transaction is not yet complete. Otedola’s daughter, Ifeoluwa, is a popular disc jockey who goes by the moniker ‘DJ Cuppy’.
She was the official disc jockey during the May 2015 inauguration of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari. Otedola is a fitness buff, spending at least one hour in the gym every day.