Dr Mike Adenuga is chairman of Conoil Plc, one of the key players in Nigeria’s downstream oil and gas sector. Oil and gas is the driving force of his large business empire, which sprang up from his securing oil drilling licence in 1990. He struck oil in commercial quantities in 1991, the first indigenous oil company to accomplish that in Nigeria.
Conoil Producing Nigeria of which Adenuga holds total equity, is acclaimed to be the largest indigenous oil exploration and production company, which operates six producing oil blocks and holds a 25% stake in Joint Development Zone Block 4, an oil prospecting license which has proven reserves of close to one billion barrels of oil and close to a trillion cubic feet of gas.
Conoil has come a long way from 1927 when it started operations as Shell Company of Nigeria. It went through a lot of metamorphosis that include the acquisition of 60% of the company’s shares by the federal government of Nigeria through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in 1975. The company became known as National Oil and Chemical Marketing Company (NOLCHEM).
Following the privatisation of the company in 2000, Adenuga’s ConPetro Ltd became the core investor, having acquired 60% of the issued share capital. Following a rights issue made by the company in 2002, ConPetro raised its equity stake to 74.4% in the company. Adenuga’s stake in Conoil is therefore held through ConPetro Limited, the holding company he fully owns.
A change of name from NOLCHEM to Conoil happened in 2002 and the company launched a new growth momentum in the petroleum products marketing sector. The company speaks of its brand positioning as a reflection of the dynamism of a re-engineered entity and a fresh and energetic approach to attaining new heights in developing the business and in serving customers.
Conoil is one of the ruling names in Nigeria’s downstream petroleum industry and controls an estimated 20% market share. The company’s principal business is the marketing of refined petroleum products and the manufacturing and marketing of lubricants and chemicals for domestic and industrial uses. Its wide network of outlets gives it an advantage in distributing its products across the country.
Adenuga has committed massive investments in the development of technical resources and operational facilities that permit capacity enhancement, products performance improvements and business growth. He focuses on human capacity development as well as deployment of state-of-the-art infrastructures and technologies that facilitate the realisation of his company’s goals.
He is committed to attaining the greatest height possible in the downstream sector of Nigeria’s oil and gas business to positively impact various stakeholders and the society at large. His vision is to make Conoil the number one petroleum products marketer in Africa with the largest retail network and a global name in the provision of high-performance products.
Making the customer the centre piece of the company’s operations is the pivot for Adenuga in accomplishing the mission he has begun in the Nigeria’s downstream oil and gas industry. His goal is to lift the brand to a standard where it becomes an endorsement of quality. He has reinforced manpower resources and re-engineered retail outlets as a strategy to speed up the attainment of the corporate goals.
He has evolved a corporate policy in Conoil, which is built on inclusion and diversity in both the company’s composition and business practices. Through the policy, Adenuga is extracting the best from people of different viewpoints, experiences, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. This is greatly enriching his company’s corporate culture and creating a stronger organisation.
Last year, the company employed cost moderation to grow wealth for investors in an admittedly difficult year. Moving against the general downward trend in corporate earnings in 2016, Conoil improved its profit margin and raised earnings and dividend per share to the highest figures in three years.
The company grew after tax profit by 23% to N2.84 billion in 2016 in the face of only a moderate improvement of 2.5% in sales revenue in the year. Management cut down balance sheet debts by more than one-half in the year and with that, it saved a lot of cost from interest expenses, which dropped by more than 53%.
An increase in dividend payout to shareholders at the end of 2016 was possible because the company’s leadership moved decisively to redirect substantial revenues from creditors to shareholders. How good is corporate leadership quality depends on the ability of its directors to shield the company from the volatility that constantly rules the operating space.