Aliko Dangote, head of Dangote cement.

Aliko Dangote, head of Dangote cement.

Nigerian cement magnate Aliko Dangote has said he would like to buy Arsenal football club in London, UK.

Mr Dangote is head of Dangote Cement, which has production facilities in Nigeria and surrounding countries. His other business interests include sugar and flour, and he is thought to be the richest man in Africa.

In an interview with the BBC he said once a current industrialisation project is complete, he would look at buying the football club he has been a fan of since childhood. “When we get this refinery on track, I will have enough time and maybe also enough resources to pay what they’re asking for,” he said.

He added, “They (Arsenal) are doing well, but they need another strategic direction.”

Dangote Cement had revenues of NGN 392 billion (US$ 1.9 billion) last year and produced 14 million tonnes of cement. The company has a production capacity of 34 million tonnes of cement, and employs some 10,600 people.

Arsenal is one of the UK’s leading football clubs. It finished third in the top-flight Premiership in the 2014-15 season, qualifying it for the lucrative European Champions League competition. Shares in the club are traded on the London, UK-based ICAP Securities & Derivatives Exchange (ISDX) as Arsenal Holding PLC. It has a market capitalisation of nearly UK£ 1 billion (US$ 1.6 billion).

Arsenal’s majority shareholder is American entrepreneur Stan Kroenke, while Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov and Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri also have sizeable stakes. Only 4% of the company’s shares are currently traded as free float.

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