Ecobank moves to recover Sh5b from distressed fuel marketer

Ecobank Towers, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Prime properties belonging to Kenyan oil marketer Hashi Energy have been put up for auction over billions of shillings allegedly owed by the financially troubled company.

Hashi Energy, owned by local tycoon Ahmed Hashi, is one of the oldest indigenous oil marketing companies in East Africa, with operations in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The firm fell from grace in March this year after it announced plans to enter into voluntary administration amid financial difficulty.

The Standard has learned that Ecobank is now seeking to sell the properties owned by the oil company in Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret and Mombasa counties to recover a Sh5 billion debt.

Nairobi-based auctioneer Dalali Traders said in a public notice on Tuesday that the properties will go under the hammer on August 15.

“Under instructions received from the chargees' advocates we shall sell by public auction the under-mentioned properties on August 15, 2023, at our offices along Kijabe Street starting at 10.30am,” said the auctioneer in the newspaper notice. 

The Standard could not immediately get a comment from Hashi Energy or its representatives as Chief Executive Mohamed Adan did not respond to our text or telephone queries.

Hashi Energy Chief Executive Mohamed Adan. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The planned auction also indicates that even large multinationals are not spared the financial headwinds in an economy that has witnessed a slowdown.

Banks have stepped up debt recovery efforts to clean up their loan books, leading to a spike in property seizures by lenders.

Hashi Energy started out as a kerosene distributor for oil marketer Chevron Kenya (then known as Caltex Oil Kenya) using jerry cans to supply Rwanda and DRC Markets.

In the mid 90’s the company acquired depots in western Kenya to better serve the local market as well as the export market within East and Central Africa.

The company rebranded itself to Hashi Energy in 2008, with the core business being the importation, distribution, and marketing of petroleum products.

“It has been impressive watching the company grow from nothing to becoming one of the leaders in the provision of energy solutions in Africa,” Mr Hashi said in an interview in 2011.

“We started with three employees and now we have 300 employees with offices across the region. The company today is worth $50 million.”

The company would later expand its activities further by venturing into various geographical locations, as well as increasing the portfolio of services and products to include remote logistics, engineering and food supply.

Ecobank is seeking to sell properties owned by Hashi Energy to recover a Sh5 billion debt. [iStockphoto]

“At Hashi Energy Group we pride ourselves on being the first indigenous African company to have won a prestigious United Nations fuel supply contract in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2015 and we have continued to grow our clientele in governments, NGOs and the private sector,” says the company on its website.

As of 2017, Hashi was ranked the seventh-largest oil marketer in the country.

The company was ranked higher in regional sales at the fifth position ahead of the former OiLibya, (OLA Energy), Nock and Petro.

In 2017, Tanzania’s energy firm Lake Oil announced plans to acquire the petroleum retail business of Hashi Energy.

Hashi’s exit from the petroleum retail business came soon after the company signed a Sh14 billion deal with Dubai’s SS Lootah to venture into the supply of food to military personnel and non-governmental organisations in the DRC.

The venture was to involve building infrastructure and storage facilities for food and fuel supplies.

Hashi Energy had pre-existing contracts with the United Nations mission in DRC for transporting and storing petroleum products. 

Besides its bulk petroleum distribution business in the local market including the sale of fuel to airlines, Hashi also had a presence in logistics, solar products distribution and mining.

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