By Kenneth Kwama
For a former powerful Cabinet minister in the old Kanu regime, who is the majority shareholder in KenolKobil, it is the time to harvest.
The former power broker will be the first Kenyan to reap in excess of Sh15 billion in a deal that will see a Swiss-based Puma energy takeover KenolKobil.
According to Kestrel Capital, driving the takeover plans are Puma Energy’s desire to build up its presence in East Africa — where it plans to capitalize on oil storage, distribution and marketing.
Cumulatively, shareholders at KenolKobil will get more than Sh25 billion in exchange for the right of ownership of the region’s biggest and most-networked oil marketer.
Total sale value from the transaction is close to the amount that has been spent so far on remaking the multi-billion Thika superhighway.
The region’s most complex road project has so far gobbled Sh27 billion, with each of the three lots of the project being over 90 per cent completed.
Puma Energy has already struck an agreement with major shareholders and was readying to make an offer to minority shareholders when a misunderstanding with the local firm’s workers temporarily halted the progress.
“The move by a principle shareholder (assuming Puma Energy manages to buy out major shareholders) is consistent with some companies’ strategy to achieve a preferred, wholly-owned structure within some markets,” says Job Kihumba, the director at Standard Investment Bank (SIB).
Kihumba says if things went on smoothly, the next step will be the circulation of an offer document to the minority shareholders and eventual delisting, depending on the offer’s take-up rate.
If successful, the deal will be twice as big as the 2009 pioneer arrangement between two oil companies, in which Total acquired Chevron’s operations in Uganda and Kenya for $150 million (Sh12.5 billion going by current exchange rates).