Rabat - Saudi businessman Mohammed Al Amoudi, the majority stakeholder in the debt-ridden Moroccan oil company Société Anonyme Marocaine de l'Industrie du Raffinage (SAMIR), has a net worth of $8.4 billion, according to the Forbes 2016 list of the world’s billionaires.
Rabat – Saudi businessman Mohammed Al Amoudi, the majority stakeholder in the debt-ridden Moroccan oil company Société Anonyme Marocaine de l’Industrie du Raffinage (SAMIR), has a net worth of $8.4 billion, according to the Forbes 2016 list of the world’s billionaires.
This year, Forbes’ list ranked Al Amoudi as the world’s 138th richest billionaire, realizing most of his profits in the oil industry, agriculture, and construction projects. The business magazine also cited the half-Saudi, half-Ethiopian businessman as the largest single investor in Ethiopia, funding projects in agriculture, cement production, and gold mining.
One of his oil ventures took place in Morocco. In May 1997, the Moroccan government sold a two-third’s stake in the country’s sole oil refinery, named SAMIR, to Al Amoudi’s company, Corral Petroleum Holdings, in accordance with the country’s privatization strategy that aimed to promote growth in the sector.
After the refinery, located in Mohammedi, halted the production of oil last August due to “financial constraints”, the company witnessed two scandals that pointed to long-term mismanagement of the refinery. First, the government revealed that SAMIR owes the authorities MAD 13 billion in unpaid taxes and wants to reschedule the repayment of its bank debt of more than MAD 24 billion. Second, an unnamed high-ranking Moroccan official accused Al Amoudi of smuggling one billion tons of fuel outside the country annually without transferring the profits to Morocco.
The scandals caused Al Amoudi’s relationship with the government to sour, which led him to flee the country in late August, leaving behind the company’s unpaid taxes and 950 unpaid employees. The Moroccan government seized the company’s bank accounts and assets due to the unpaid taxes.
Morocco’s head of government Abdelilah Benkirane later called the sale of the country’s only refinery to a foreigner a “serious mistake.”
In October, SAMIR got the backing of its “extraordinary general assembly” to raise MAD 10.4 billion in order restart production at the refinery. The company said that as two-thirds shareholder, Al Amoudi would contribute two-thirds of the necessary capital or $675 million to the company by November 15th. However, it is unclear whether SAMIR ever received the funds.