NAIROBI May 8 (Reuters) - Kenyan oil marketer KenolKobil expects the sale of a majority stake to Puma Energy by key shareholders to be completed in the next few months, its chairman and chief executive said on Tuesday.
KenolKobil entered an exclusive agreement with Swiss-based Puma Energy, a subsidiary of Trafigura, for the sale of a majority stake, subject to due diligence, regulatory approval and price confirmation.
"I do not think it should take more than a few months from now in order to see it (the deal) through," Jacob Segman told a news conference.
KenolKobil, which said it had net sales of $2.5 billion last year and earnings of $59 million, has a downstream business spanning 10 African nations.
The oil industry in east Africa has attracted foreign investment in recent years after discoveries in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
It said that Puma Energy's acquisition of the business would help it strengthen its trading activities, through its three trading desks in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Harare.
"We see them bringing on board a lot of assistance in supply, in trading in capital for further expansion and development. It fits very much the management strategy," Segman said.
Puma Energy, whose investments on the African continent include a strategic partnership with Angola's Sonangol, said the deal will help it expand its presence in Africa.
Puma Energy handles fuel supply and storage, as well as fuel distribution and retail sales. Puma Energy operates in 30 countries globally, including 12 in West, Central and Southern Africa.
Trafigura and Puma Energy have been purchasing assets from oil majors since last year, parallel to its peer Vitol.
Last year Puma bought assets in Africa, central and south America from oil majors such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron and BP.
"For us, it is a big step to increase our presence on the continent," Pierre Eladari, chief executive of Puma Energy International, told the news conference.
The firm plans to eventually take over KenolKobil after the initial purchase of the majority stake, subject to regulatory approvals.
KenolKobil shares were suspended from trading on Tuesday and will resume trade on Wednesday. They closed trade at 12.50 shillings on Monday. (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)