Nigerian tycoon Michael J. Prest, aged 61, was one of Africa’s most powerful commodity dealers. Before acting as CEO of Marc Rich Investments, a firm owned by the famed, yet controversial “King of Oil,” Marc Rich, the maverick business entrepreneur was a top trader at global trading behemoths Phibro Energy and Vitol.
Prest made an unmistakable mark on oil and gas trading by comprehending and cleaning Sub-Saharan Africa’s risk and executing famous deals in Nigeria, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Sudan, and Zambia.
In 1999, he devised the template for oil product imports into Nigeria, which is still in use today, transforming the oil trade sector.
Many of Nigeria’s leading oil trading firms, including Sahara, Ocean & Oil, and MRS, made their first substantial agreements with him.
Prest controlled oil trading in Nigerian and African economic circles for decades through his flagship enterprise, Petrodel. In 2006, he was a pioneer in independent oil exploration in Tanzania and Zambia, bidding for the Tanga, Latham, and Kimbji properties in Tanzania and Block 7 exploratory assets in Zambia.
While Prest is still well-known for his accomplishments in Africa’s oil business, he has expanded his horizons in recent years. His most recent entrepreneurial efforts have seen him invest in and lead firms capable of disrupting markets in natural resources, financial services, and real estate.
1. Petrodel Resources
Prest’s primary company is Petrodel Resources. It began as an oil trading firm. According to Reuters, it traded up to 55 million barrels of crude and three million tonnes of goods into and out of Sub-Saharan Africa as early as 2010.
Petrodel was a first mover independent in oil exploration in Tanzania and Zambia in 2006, bidding on the Tanga, Latham, and Kimbji assets in Tanzania and the Block 7 exploration asset in Zambia.
Petrodel recently announced its ambition to enter the renewable energy market. It is collaborating with Skypower, a Canadian solar startup, to create utility-scale solar energy projects in Africa, Turks & Caicos, and the wider Caribbean.
2. Bank of New Innovation Limited (BONI Limited)
Prest took over the banking operations of the Bank of Nevis International Limited in a strategic move towards the end of 2019. By 2023, the company had been renamed BONI Limited. BONI has carved out a place in the global wealth management market by providing comprehensive wealth management services to both HNI and developing affluent clients. Its collaboration with Afreximbank is expected to strengthen trade relations between Africa and the Caribbean, two places where Prest wields enormous power.
3. Investrust Bank Zambia
Prest has a presence in Zambia as the second-largest shareholder in Investrust Bank Plc. Investrust, which is listed on the Lusaka Securities Exchange, is noted for offering customized retail and business banking solutions, as well as digital services. Prest indirectly holds his stake through BONI Limited.
4. Bank of Nevis International Trust Services
This enterprise, known as Bank of Nevis International Trust Services Inc. (BONITS), provides a variety of services ranging from citizenship by investment to trust services and business setups.