With its emergence last Wednesday as member of the consortium named as preferred bidder for Nigeria’s moribund Nigerian Telecommunications Limited, NITEL, and its mobile subsidiary, Mtel, Sahara Energy Group added to its stock of recently acquired choice assets around the country.
Sahara Group, established in 1996 to carry out oil and gas trading business involving excess fuels from the Port Harcourt and Warri refineries, has expanded to hospitality, agriculture and now telecoms.
The most prominent member of the group is Sahara Energy, owned by Tope Shonubi, a former Special Assistant to former president Olusegun Obasanjo, and two of his friends, Tonye Cole, and Ade Odunsi.
The company is active in downstream oil and gas sector as a products supplier and exporter. It is also making inroads in the upstream sector.
Subsidiaries of the Sahara Group include Sahara Energy Resource Nigeria Limited; Sahara Energy Field Limited; Sahara Trade West Africa Limited; Sahara Built Storage Facilities Limited; SO
Aviation Limited; Sahara Sea Support Services Limited; SO Energy Limited; P-Lyne Energy Limited; Sahara Power Resource Limited; NG Power Limited; Sahara Gas Limited; Sahara LNG Limited and Sahara Farms Limited.
Sahara has acquired several assets in Rivers state, which provided it with the head start to provide jobs for an estimated 3,000 Nigerians.
Sahara Energy is behind the acquisition of the Rivers State government-owned Olympia Hotel, transformed into the Radisson Blue brand.
Sahara has also acquired a large expanse of land at the famous Abonema Wharf area from the Rivers state government for the proposed construction of a high capacity petroleum products storage terminal.
Besides, the group, in conjunction with other partners, acquired the Egbin power plant in Lagos as well as the Eko power distribution company.
In Rivers State, Sahara Group is moving to buy power plants owned by the state government.
The Sahara Group is also said to be behind the acquisition of Risonpalm, an agro-based company set up by the Rivers state government in 1975. The company’s core area of activity is in the development, production and marketing of oil palm and other associated by-products.
Sahara Group was named as partner in NATCOM Telecommunications, which offered $242.3 million (about N42.4 billion) to acquire the national telecom carriers.