Dangote to spend $7.5 billion on expansion

ADDIS ABABA Thu May 10, 2012 5:14am EDT

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ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote said his conglomerate needed to spend $7.5 billion over the next four years to expand operations in a range of sectors.

"We are going into something big. We are going into mining, petrochemicals, cement and infrastructure," he said on Thursday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

"We need to spend $7.5 billion in the next four years. So, definitely, we need a lot of concentration."

Dangote said this changing focus was one of the reasons he was looking for a partnership for his flour business, Dangote Flour Mills (DANGFLO.LG), with Tiger Brands, South Africa's biggest consumer foods maker (TBSJ.J).

"We are actually trying to have a partnership between us and Tiger Brands," he said. "We believe they are much better than us in terms of the retail business."

Banking and company sources have told Reuters Tiger Brands was bidding for an 80 percent stake in Dangote Flour Mills, which makes pasta and flour in Africa's most populous country.

Buying all or part of Dangote Flour Mills would give the maker of bread, breakfast cereal and energy drinks a substantial presence in the Nigerian food market. Dangote said a deal was about partnership, not offloading assets.

"We are not selling. If it was to raise money, we would have ... sold the whole business to them. But no. What we are trying to do is actually to have them so that we can now enjoy the downstream of the business," he said.

Nigeria's population of more than 160 million is a massive potential retail market, although corruption and the government's focus on oil exports still deter many investors.

Dangote said he hoped to list his $11 billion cement company (DANGCEM.LG) on the London stock exchange by the third quarter of 2013. Dangote Cement trades on the Nigerian stock exchange and is West Africa's largest listed company.

(Additional reporting by Joe Brock in Abuja; Editing by Will Waterman and Dan Lalor)

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