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Inspiration How Wale Tinubu turned around Oando Plc with a master stroke

Oando PLC CEO, Wale Tinubu, is one Nigerian businessman who has become an inspiration to many youth hoping to go into business in the country.

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Oando Oil's Managing Director Wale Tinubu attends an Oil and Gas conference in Nigeria's capital Abuja February 21, 2012. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde play Oando Oil's Managing Director Wale Tinubu attends an Oil and Gas conference in Nigeria's capital Abuja February 21, 2012. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Wale Tinubu, the Group Chief Executive Officer, of Oando Plc., Nigeria’s largest oil and gas company and one of Africa’s leading energy solutions provider, is a man who has continued to be an inspiration to many young Nigerians who with a business mindset.

Also Read: "Oando: Nigerian oil company opens up on 171.32bn loss"

The scion of the illustrious Tinubu family has proven to be a business magnate with outstanding ability to rebound regardless the hurdles.

According to Tinubu, the vision of his company was to be the leading indigenous exploration and production player on the African continent and today, they are the largest indigenous oil and gas producer in Nigeria.

In the last quarter of 2014, the world witnessed economic shocks as a result of a global oil glut. Countries such as Nigeria whose economies depend heavily on oil for a significant percentage of their foreign exchange earnings were badly hit. This directly affected the operations of both international and indigenous oil companies. 

As a result of this, Oando made an N184 billion loss in its year-end 2014 results due largely to assets impairments. Consequently, Tinubu and his management team witnessed a backlash from shareholders and the public.

At the company’s 38th annual AGM, 2015, Tinubu assured shareholders that the company would rebound to profitability in 2016 and continually create value for shareholders. True to his words, the company declared N4.1billion profit after tax in the first quarter of 2016.

Recently, Tinubu concluded a $210 million recapitalization of Oando Downstream by HV Investments, a joint venture owned by Helios Investments Partners, a premier Africa-focused private investment firm and the Vitol Group (“Vitol”), the world’s largest independent trader of energy commodities.

Oando is now the number one distributor of petroleum products across Nigeria and the second largest downstream fuels company in Nigeria, with a market share of 12%.

Wale Tinubu’s success may not come as a surprise to those close to him because he has, over the years, shown evidence that he’s well-versed in oil and gas business; and like a gambler, he knows when to throw the dice and even reinvent in a shaky business environment.

The words of a former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill; 'the empires of the future are empires of the mind', gives credence to Tinubu’s evident ability to successfully overcome challenges.

Earlier in his career,  this highly intelligent man teamed up with Omamofe Boyo and Onajite Okoloko in 1994 to co-found Ocean and Oil Services Limited to supply diesel and Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) to various industries, shipping firms and exploration companies in Nigeria.

Interestingly, more than two decades after they had sown in pains, the investment has grown, before their eyes, to become a multinational conglomerate worth millions of dollars spread across five West African countries.

At the outset, they bought their first vessel, MT Carolina, in the mid-90s to supply diesel to off-shore companies from the Port-Harcourt Refinery.

Within seven years, the fleet had grown to seven ships; and by 2000, when the government wanted to sell its controlling stake in the defunct Unipetrol Plc, a downstream oil marketing company, they bid for it.

When  the former Managing Director of the old Unipetrol Plc at that time, Mallam Yusuf Ali, a seasoned technocrat who once served in the NNPC, received word that Ocean and Oil Services had made a bid for his oil firm, he laughed them to scorn and waved it off as a bad joke, because Unipetrol at that time, was already a top quoted company on the Lagos Stock Exchange, while Ocean and Oil was just an upstart trying to find its feet in the downstream sector.

His former aides recall that the bid reminded them of a tilapia fish trying to swallow up a whole whale! To their surprise, Ocean and Oil Services successfully paid for the shares and took over the company, with the help of its foreign technical partners, Compagnia Espanola De Petroleos (CEPSA), the second-largest oil group in Spain.

Two years later, Tinubu led the largest ever acquisition of a quoted Nigerian company, with the purchase of Agip by Unipetrol. The group was rebranded as Oando PLC and has grown to become the leading oil and gas retailer in Nigeria, ensuring one in five cars on Nigerian roads drive on its fuels.

By 2005, Oando Plc became the first African company to secure a cross-border listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in South Africa and in the same year, Oando Energy Services was incorporated.

Through Tinubu’s leadership, Gaslink, a subsidiary of Oando Plc, successfully phased and executed the construction of about 100km of natural gas pipeline distribution network from the Nigerian Gas Company city gate in Ikeja, to cover the Greater Lagos Area including Ikeja, Apapa, and their environs.

Gaslink currently delivers over 60 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d) of gas to over 150 customers on the Greater Lagos gas distribution network grid, with the capacity to deliver up to 101 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d).

In 2010, Oando, through its subsidiary, Oando Gas and Power built the first  ALPL , a 10.14MW Independent Power Plant developed and operated under a Build, Operate, Transfer (BOT) arrangement with Lagos State Government (LASG).

This Public-Private Partnership project with the Lagos State Government was derived in response to the need for stable and cost effective electric power supply to the Lagos State Government Secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja and its affiliate surrounding agencies.

The plant operates under a 10 year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with LASG. The plant was commissioned in 2013 and leverages Gaslink’s Pipeline network for gas supply.

Also Read: "Oando: Oil firm signs N94.6B restructuring loan"

Tinubu has concluded a $3 billion gas facility contract with the Federal Government while the company’s upstream subsidiary, Oando Energy Resources, is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).

In 2014, Tinubu witnessed the close of his best transaction yet, the acquisition of ConocoPhillips Nigeria businesses for $1.5 billion, fortifying Oando’s position as the largest indigenous independent oil and gas producer in Nigeria with a current net production of 53,145 boepd (Barrels of Oil Equivalent per Day) and 230.6 mmboe (Million Barrels of Oil Equivalent) of 2p reserves and 536.8 mmboe of 2C reserves.

Tinubu’s continued success is worthy of emulation by entrepreneurs and prospects, especially in Nigeria’s inclement business environment.

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