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KenolKobil seeks to offload 25 pc shareholding to Swiss firm

By James Anyanzwa and Macharia Kamau | May 9th 2012

By James Anyanzwa and Macharia Kamau

Switzerland-based Puma Energy is planning a takeover of Kenya’s largest oil marketing firm, KenolKobil.

The two firms yesterday confirmed that the acquisition, which is expected to see Puma Energy become the single largest shareholder in the listed firm, has been set in motion pending regulatory approval.

Jacob Segman, Chairman and Chief Executive of KenolKobil said the marketer’s majority shareholders had already entered into exclusive talks with Puma Energy for the sale of more than 25 per cent stake in the firm.Both KenolKobil and Puma Energy gave scanty details on the proportion of shares on offer but three major shareholders of the oil marketing company jointly own 54.71 per cent shareholding.

These are Wells Petroleum (24.91 per cent), Petro Holdings Ltd (17.34 per cent) and Highfield Ltd (12.46 per cent).Kestrel Capital is brokering the deal whose conclusion could boost the depressing performance of the company’s shares at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) and propel the oil marketer to a new level of development.

“As management, we feel it is the right thing to take us to the next level of development and expansion throughout Africa,” said Segman at a press briefing in Nairobi yesterday.The firm had in February commenced the process of looking for a strategic partner, who would see it execute what it said would be its next phase of growth into a Pan African company.
Largest retail network

The oil marketer has in the last years grown to having the largest retail network of petrol stations, with a market share of 25 per cent as of December last year, according to industry statistics by the Petroleum Institute of East Africa, an oil marketers’ lobby. KenolKobil has 400 service stations across the country.

In addition to its Kenyan operation, it operates in 10 other African countries, mostly eastern and central Africa.The takeover is expected to help KenolKobil get expertise from the company that has its roots in South America. It is, however, Puma Energy that stands to gain immensely through an increased footprint as well as market for its products.

The firm has in the recent past been aggressively pursuing a growth and expansion strategy in Africa and so far has operations in 13 African countries, where it runs storage facilities and retail outlets.

“For us, it is a big step to increase our presence on the continent,” said Pierre Eladari, Chief Executive Puma Energy International.

Puma Energy was formed in 1997 in Central America and has over the last decade developed what it says is a comprehensive network of oil storage and distribution facilities in different markets across the world.

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