By James Anyanzwa
The Industrial and Medical gas manufacturer BOC Kenya Ltd has initiated a process of returning share certificates it acquired from shareholders of Carbacid Investments Ltd.
The new move comes after the company’s planned acquisition of Carbacid Investments, a carbon dioxide gas producer, collapsed close to two weeks ago.
Mr John Kariuki, BOC Kenya managing director confirmed the process for the return of the share documents was underway and could be completed by Friday this week.
"The return of share certificates to the shareholders is underway and would be completed by the end of this week," Kariuki told reporters at the company’s offices in Nairobi on Monday. It, however, remained unclear how BOC Kenya obtained share certificates of Carbacid Investments shareholders before the buyout transaction was approved by Capital Markets Authority (CMA).
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BOC Kenya announced on October 15 that the share purchase offer by Carbacid Investment had elapsed. This came after close to four years of protracted legal battles with the CMA, which had ruled against the takeover deal in December 2005.
And following the prolonged court battles, Carbacid Investments sold 22.6 per cent of its stake to Centum Investment in May this year.
Kariuki, however, said although the transaction never materialised, BOC Kenya would still pursue other options to get into the carbon dioxide gas business.
"We will be looking for other options to utilise funds we had set aside for Carbacid," he said. BOC shares last traded on December 2,2005 at Sh160 a share.
BOC Kenya has since been adversely affected by the freeze on its planned acquisition of 94 per cent stake (10.6 million shares at an offer price of Sh144.35 a share) in Carbacid Kenya.
Shareholders of the two companies have been lamenting over lost opportunities, particularly during the stock market’s peak periods (2006 to 2007).
BOC Kenya and Carbacid Investments were suspended from trading on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) to protect shareholders from speculative tendancies in view of the proposed acquisition.
The key condition in the deal to warrant the takeover, and subsequent delisting of Carbacid from the NSE, was that at least 80 per cent of Carbacid shareholders had to back the takeover, but only 71 per cent supported it.
After a long tussle that saw the issue brought before the Capital Markets Tribunal, the matter ended up before the High court.