Biwott oil firm sold to Swiss energy company in share deal
Posted Tuesday, May 8 2012 at 19:32
Key shareholders of oil marketer, Kenol Kobil, have struck an exclusive deal to sell a majority stake of the listed company to Puma Energy, handing control of the oil company to the Swiss firm.
The development will see majority ownership of the firm — which is the biggest in Kenya and associated with former powerful Cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott — transferred to Puma Energy, which has recently been making acquisitions in oil companies across countries in Africa.
Mr Jacob Segman, Kenol Kobil managing director, said the transaction, with Kestrel Capital as lead transaction advisor, would help bring in more financial capital and expertise needed to expand the business to Southern and Central African markets.
“It took a lot of convincing to sell the idea to major shareholders in the company to help us take our business to the next level,” said Mr Segman, who had indicated that there were plans to look for a strategic investor when the company released its financial results last month.
In a cautionary announcement sent to the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) on Tuesday, Mr Segman said the transaction is, however, subject to due diligence and regulatory approvals from the Capital Markets Authority.
“The contemplated transaction is in line with the already expressed wish of management to drive the group to new heights, and this called for a strong strategic investor and partner like Puma Energy,” he added.
The changes are also expected to excite activity at the Kenol Kobil counter at the NSE whose share price is currently undervalued. The firm’s share price closed at Sh12.50 on Tuesday.
Puma Energy chief executive officer Pierre Eledari said the international oil firm has an ambitious African expansion plan and is looking forward to expanding its operations into the country.
Puma Energy, which operates in over 30 countries worldwide, first entered the African downstream fuel business -that involves distribution of petroleum products - sector in Congo in 2002, before expanding into Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, DRC and Angola.