Abdul Samad Rabiu
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Visionaries - February 2, 2022

 How Nigeria’s 2nd Richest Person, Abdul Samad Rabiu, Got His Start

From overseeing a family business to building an international conglomerate, this is the story of African billionaire, Abdul Samad Rabiu.

Abdul Samad Rabiu was born in the wooded savanna of Kano, north-western Nigeria. After his early education, he proceeded to Capital University in Columbus Ohio, where he studied Economics. 

Rabiu had to return home to oversee the family business, following the detention of his father Isyaku Rabiu by the administration of General Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly evading rice import duties. He established BUA International Limited in 1988, and this was his door into the commodity trading industry. The company’s imports spanned rice, edible oil, flour, iron and steel.

BUA Gets its First Big Boost

In 1990, Rabiu struck a deal with the government-owned Delta Steel Company to supply its raw materials in exchange for finished products. This was a much-needed boost for the new business. BUA advanced its steel operations in Nigeria, producing billets, importing iron ore and building several rolling mills.

A few years later, BUA acquired Nigerian Oil Mills Limited, the country’s largest edible oil processing firm. In 2005,  the company opened two flour milling units in Lagos and Kano.  By 2008, BUA had broken an eight-year stronghold in the Nigerian sugar sector by completing Sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest sugar refinery.

In 2009, the business purchased a controlling stake in a publicly-listed Cement Company of Northern Nigeria and began construction of a $900 million cement factory in Edo State, which it completed in early 2015.

Years later, Abdul Samad Rabiu is Nigeria’s second richest man and the fifth richest man in Africa according to the recently published Forbes Billionaire list. Here’s a brief breakdown of his business under the BUA Group.

  • BUA Sugar

BUA Sugar Refinery Limited was established as a private limited liability company on April 13, 2005. The company’s main activity is refining raw sugar, both imported and locally obtained. The Refinery was is a cutting-edge, automated facility. It has a daily sugar production capacity of 2,000 MT.

The technology used is one-of-a-kind and comes from Brazil, which is widely regarded as having the best sugar production and refinery technology. It generates its own electricity when converting molasses to sugar.  Nonetheless, a gas supply is also in place to power its turbines. The refinery is wholly Nigerian and is entirely self-financed.

  • BUA Oil Mills: 

BUA Oil Mills Limited is located in Ikeja, Lagos. The previous firm, Golden Oil Company, which was acquired by BUA Group, had been in operation for over 20 years. With a total installed capacity of 700TPD, the firm operates two refineries and associated fractionation units. The earlier refinery, which was commissioned by BUA Oil Mills, was created by Desmet of Belgium and has a capacity of 200TPD.

  • BUA Ports & Terminals:

This BUA Group subsidiary was founded on March 28, 2006. The business enjoys lower charges from the Nigeria Ports Authority’s (NPA) Port Harcourt Terminal ‘B’. This decision was made following a very competitive bidding procedure under the Public Enterprise (Privatization and Commercialization) Act No. 28 of 1999.

  • BUA Cement: 

With three major subsidiaries and factories in Northern and Southern Nigeria, as well as a 2 million metric tonnes per annum floating terminal serving specialised markets, the BUA Group has a substantial cement producing capability.

  • BUA Estate: BUA Group’s real estate portfolio comprises different residential, commercial, and mixed-use developments in key Nigerian cities to accommodate the expanding demand for real estate.

READ ALSO: How African Billionaire Nassef Sawiris Made His Fortune

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