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Nigerian Billionaire Offers Ardova’s Shareholders N16.9bn In Move To Take Company Private

First Bank Nigeria

Ardova Plc is on the cusp of going private, a statement by its directors’ board showed on Monday, roughly forty-five years after the company listed in Lagos.

Ignite Investments & Commodities Limited, the investment portfolio of its majority shareholder and chairman, Abdulwasiu Sowami, has put forward an offer of N17.38 per share in exchange for all the shares held by other shareholders, valuing the deal in the neighbourhood of N16.9 billion.

Mr Sowami holds 74.1 per cent of Ardova’s issued shares and is looking to acquire the rest 25.9 per cent equivalent to 970.7 million units currently in the hands of the investing public.

“The offer price of ₦17.38 represents a premium of 22.44% and 24.38% to the 30-day and 60-day volume weighted average share price of ₦14.19 and ₦13.97 respectively, on 30 November 2022,” Ardova said in the document seen by PREMIUM TIMES.

The energy firm was at various points in the past known as British Petroleum Nigeria, African Petroleum and Forte Oil. It was incorporated in 1964 as the local unit of British Petroleum but became indigenised twelve years after when 60 per cent of its shares were purchased by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the rest by the Nigerian public. It was christened African Petroleum Limited in 1978.

NNPC would sell a further 40 per cent stake at the turn of the millennium in 2000 before billionaire mogul Femi Otedola bought a controlling stake in 2007, later changing the name to Forte Oil.

Ardova adopted its current name in 2019 after Mr Otedola sold his 74.02 per cent interest to Ignite Investments.

That no other director holds Ardova’s shares eases the path for Mr Sowami’s bid to take the company private even though it must scale regulators’ hurdles apart from getting shareholders to give up their stakes.

The move is coming at a time of mixed fortunes for Ardova, which took over rival Enyo about fifteen months ago, a deal that added 90 filling stations to its retail outlets and 100,000 customers to its clientele.

While it has not reported profit for the last two years, its assets have expanded by more than twofold within the period.

The deal is to be executed by way of a scheme of arrangement, with the terms and conditions to be spelt out in “the Scheme Document which will be dispatched to all shareholders following the receipt of an order from the Federal High Court to convene a court-ordered meeting.”

If the transaction goes through, Ardova will be delisted from the Nigerian Exchange.

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