NAIROBI, Kenya, May 8 – The boardroom of Kenya’s biggest oil company, KenolKobil, is set to change face after its majority shareholders signed an agreement to offload their shares to Swiss-headquartered petroleum giant Puma Energy.
In a statement, directors of the listed company announced that the main shareholder had signed an exclusive agreement with Puma Energy for the sale of shares.
“Any sale of shares is subject to due diligence, regulatory approvals and price confirmations,” the statement said.
According to public documents at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) the largest shareholders of KenolKobil are Wells Petroleum Holdings with a 24.9 percent stake, followed by Petrol Holdings (17.34), Chery Holding (7.8), and Energy Resources Capital with 5.99 percent.
KenolKobil started operating as a single entity in 2006 after Kenya Oil Company Ltd bought out Kobil, an oil company incorporated in the United States. The two had previously operated in the region under a joint management structure.
This new acquisition of a majority stake to Puma Energy is quite telling.
Puma is a subsidiary of Trafigura Beheer B.V which describes itself as one of the largest independent forces in the world energy markets, moving over 2.5 million barrels of physical oil per day, which is the world’s third largest volume for an independent trading company.
Trafigura’s traded volumes are approximated to amount to six percent of the world petroleum market.
Puma Energy acquired the assets of BP in East and Central Africa giving it a large presence in the downstream (petrol stations) market.
With the acquisition of a majority stake in KenolKobil, it remains to be seen whether Puma Energy will seek to buy out the minority shareholders and delist from the Nairobi bourse.
Such a move would be akin to what the main shareholders of Unilever Tea did in 2008 where the stock was delisted from the NSE after the smaller shareholders were bought out by Brooke Bond, the single largest shareholder.
Meanwhile, after news of the share transfer emerged, the NSE suspended trading of KenolKobil shares on Monday to protect the company stock against speculation.