by Emeka Ugwuanyi,
Ownership of one of Nigeria’s blue chip companies, Mobil Oil Nigeria (MON) Plc just changed hands with NIPCo acquiring MON’s entire 60 per cent equity holding. NIPCo previously held seven per cent shares of Mobil before the divestment by the American oil giant, thus, bringing NIPCo’s shares in the public quoted oil marketing firm to 67 per cent, it has been learnt.
The Manager, Media and Communications, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, Mr. OgeUdeagha, who exclusively spoke to The Nation on the divestment and acquisition deal, said the processes that led to the emergence of NIPCo as the preferred bidder for the acquisition of ExxonMobil’s shares in Mobil Oil was carried out transparently. He also stated that the two firms reached far-reaching agreements especially in protection of the welfare of Mobil Oil Plc workers that would be inherited by NIPCo, adding that the divestment was in line with ExxonMobil’s business plan.
According to him, the choice of NIPCo was made on a commercial basis considering price, transaction terms, long term strategic perspective and a number of other factors, including its commitment to Mobil Oil Nigeria’s employees.
He noted that ExxonMobil carefully evaluates opportunities across a wide range of market conditions and only advance projects generating long-term shareholder value. Following these assessments, we sometimes find that it makes greater business sense to divest when the businesses are estimated to have higher value to others. Therefore, this decision is in no way a reflection of our view on the local business climate, financial results or the workforce, he added.
Udeagha said: “ExxonMobil has reached an agreement with the Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company for the sale of its 60 percent share in its downstream Mobil Oil Nigeria affiliate. Mobil Oil Nigeria is comprised of 250 company-owned and dealer-owned Mobil-branded retail stations, a fuels terminal and a lubricants plant in Apapa, and interests in two aviation fuel joint ventures in Lagos.
“We have also reached accompanying agreements for the continued import, blending and distribution of Mobil-branded lubricants and marketing of Mobil-branded fuel. These agreements will ensure the continued presence of the Mobil brand in Nigeria and position the brand for future growth.
“Subject to regulatory approval, change-in-control is anticipated by mid-2017. The Mobil Oil Nigeria Board, Ministry of Petroleum, Nigeria Stock Exchange and other relevant statutory agencies have been notified of the transaction.
“This share-sale agreement does not involve ExxonMobil’s upstream production operations in Nigeria or lubricant supply to Caterpillar dealer, Mantrac Nigeria.
“ExxonMobil regularly evaluates its global portfolio of businesses and opportunities for growth, restructuring or divestment depending on fit with strategic business objectives. Mobil Oil Nigeria will be renamed after the sale is completed.
“It is expected that Mobil Oil Nigeria’s employees will continue to be employed following change-in-control.”
NIPCo previously was 100 per cent owned and managed by Nigerians. It was actually seen as a central firm owned by independent oil marketers to corporately address common issues but due to management and financial crises, Pure Bond Limited, a Nigerian company owned by Indians bought 60 per cent of the company.
Currently, Pure Bond owns over 70 per cent equity in NIPCo, The Nation learnt. Other major shareholders in NIPCo include prominent members of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) such as Executive Director, Corporate Services, AbdulkadirAminu and BestmanAnekwe, among others. However, the recognised current IPMAN President, Lawson Obasi, it was learnt, has no shares in NIPCo