September 18, 2018 / 6:59 AM / 8 months ago

Vivo closes Engen purchase, excludes DRC

(Reuters) - Africa retail fuel venture Vivo Energy (VVO.L) is set to close the purchase of a network of filling stations owned by Engen Holdings with the exclusion of operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the London-listed firm said on Tuesday.

The deal, first announced on Dec. 4, will close on March 1, 2019 but will not include Engen’s international operations in the DRC, Vivo said, adding that talks were ongoing between the companies and DRC’s government.

Vivo Energy Chief Executive Officer Christian Chammas said nine countries had come on board, allowing the deal to be fast-tracked.

Any acquisition of Engen’s DRC filling stations would now be a separate deal, Chammas told Reuters, but declined to place a value on the assets.

“If ... the DRC comes on board with a positive solution for us and Engen, we will consider it,” Chammas said, adding the only progress in the talks with Engen and the DRC was that “a process with the DRC government through courts had been stopped or put at bay for the time being”.

The company revised down the cash and stock deal’s price tag to $203.9 million, including an issue of 63.2 million new shares valued at Vivo’s list price of 165 pence per share.

The deal, which includes Engen’s network of filling stations in Zimbabwe, Reunion, Zambia, Gabon, Rwanda, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Malawi, adds 150 million customers for Vivo, or 35 percent of Africa’s population, Chammas said.

Chammas added that Vivo would invest in the countries that were added to its portfolio, working to expand its retail footprint and grow market share.

“It is an ambitious plan that we will push from day one,” he said.

The deal also gives Engen a 5 percent stake in Vivo, which debuted on the London Stock Exchange in May with a valuation of nearly 2 billion pounds, the largest Africa-focused IPO in more than a decade.

Shares of Vivo, Vitol’s Africa fuel retail venture, were up 1.5 percent at 130.9 pence at 0816 GMT on Tuesday.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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