Igho Sanomi; Nigerian Billionaire who started at 23

Igho Sanomi; who broke into Nigerian's oil sector at 25

Delta born Igho Sanomi is a famous ‘oilman’, but contrary to popular belief, oil is not his only business interest, He owns impressive wealth as a result of his achievements in geology, telecommunication sphere, real estate, maritime industry, and even aviation.

44 year old Sanomi who serves as the Director of Consmos oil AG, is also the chairman of Taleveras; an energy trading company that makes his money from telecommunication, construction, shipping, real estate and investments.

Taleveras Group, a billion dollar commodities trading company that trades millions of tons of oil and refined petroleum products annually, is also active in the Power sector and has investments in oil producing assets in Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea.

In fact, according to Forbes, his company which revenue in 2017 was approximately 2 billion U.S. dollars, at its prime moved more than 170 million barrels annually.

Impressively, the billionaire is known to have established himself, born to a policeman (father) and a nurse (mother), Igho Sanomi studied mining and geology at the University of Jos and began working in the oil-trading business in Nigeria at the end of the 20th century. The billionaire is not only known for his business, but also philanthropy.

Dickens Sanomi Foundation

He is the founder of Dickens Sanomi Foundation, a Nigerian-based charitable trust that supports the education of Nigerian children from impoverished and vulnerable backgrounds. In 2017, his foundation spent more than $50,000 in funding the surgery of Ali Ahmadu, a seven year old boy who became paralysed after he was run over by the militant Nigerian Boko Haram forces when they attacked Chibok Town in Borno State. After the surgery, the paralyzed Ali Ahmadu regained his legs and is now in school.

Recently, Sanomi funded the inaugural ‘Touch a Life Today’ campaign launched by the Global Initiative for Peace, Love and Care (GIPLC), across three Nigerian states, which aims to reach 1000 vulnerable patients who cannot pay their medical bills.

Not long ago, the Nigerian business mogul received a commendation from Cancer Research UK and the Bobby Moore Fund for his philanthropy over the years towards bowel cancer research in the United Kingdom.

Also, he has twice been recognized by the world-renowned Institute Choiseul based in France; also, topping the ranks of the Choiseul 100: Economic Leaders for Tomorrow, which ranks young African leaders under 40 who will play a major role in the economic development of the African continent.

It wasn’t an all-smooth-overnight  ride

Regardless of all the billionaires achievements, it is pertinent to mention that it wasn’t an all-smooth-overnight  ride for the billionaire. Accordingly, Taleveras as it is today finds its earliest beginnings in 1998. Considering the high barriers to entry in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, it seemed unlikely that a 23-year-old would break in, Yet that’s exactly what Sanomi did.

Consequently, according to him, after many persuasions, couple of people gave him contracts, the billionaire then approached a friend who was working with Masefield, a mid-sized Swiss trading company and made them an offer – he would source these contracts from local Nigerian businessmen and he would in turn give the contracts to the Swiss trading firm to fulfill them.

“So we did this test run and it worked. Of course, at the end of everything I got the least share of profits, and that was okay after a couple of structured deals like this, I went into a long-term venture with Masefield around 1998-99,” the billionaire recalled.

Several months into the partnership the CEO of Masefield made Sanomi a job offer. Although, the terms were generous he agreed, but he had decided to take a different path-starting his own company.

For the period he worked with Masefield he had learned the ropes of the trading business and was ready to handle some contracts by himself. He had established good contacts with international banks and built relationships with shipping companies. He also had a bit of savings from the profit share he had earned from his joint venture transactions.

Sanomi put together a small team and opened his own shop, Sarian Oil,and as time went on, the billionaire and his team built the business gradually, developed the expertise and learned how to manage their risk, soon, they earned the confidence of financial institutions and shipping companies.

Various segments of trading

Note that, in 2004, at the age of 28, Sanomi merged various segments of his trading business and renamed the company Taleveras. While, the company had been in operation for many years, it wasn’t until 2008 that the company began to appear on the radar of most Nigerians, when its offshore trading arm reportedly hit a turnover exceeding $2 billion.

In conclusion, in order to separate his business from politics, Sanomi who maintains he never improperly obtained any contracts said that in the future, Taleveras is looking to reduce its dependence on government contract and as such reduced Taleveras’ government tenders/oil lifting participation to nil.