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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Sale of Engen attracts interest from global oil trading giants

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Malaysian state energy company Petroliam Nasional has revived a sale of Engen, South Africa’s largest fuel station chain, people familiar with the matter said.

Petronas is working with advisers to solicit bids for its controlling stake in the fuel retail business, which could fetch about $2 billion (almost R34 billion), according to the people. It’s attracting interest from suitors including oil trading giants Trafigura Group, and Vitol Group in the Netherlands, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Petronas has been exploring options for its 74% stake in Engen on-and-off for some years, though the process appears to be gaining fresh momentum. The Malaysian firm is now inviting bidders to make second-round offers, the people said.

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Deliberations are ongoing, and there’s no certainty the suitors will proceed with binding offers, the people said. A spokesperson for Trafigura declined to comment. Representatives for Engen and Vitol didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

“As part of good business governance and conduct, Petronas continuously reviews its portfolio,” the Malaysian company said in an emailed statement. “Petronas values Engen as an important part of its global business. Our priority for Engen is to ensure business continuity to allow it to sustain and grow.”

Read also: September fuel prices cut smaller than predicted

Engen’s second-largest shareholder, South African investment firm Phemani, has also been considering reducing its 26% stake, Bloomberg News reported in May. Phemani, founded by former MTN CEO Phuthuma Nhleko, has approached potential buyers including Royal Bafokeng Holdings, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

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Engen, the operator of South Africa’s largest chain of gas stations, had R43.2 billion of total assets at the end of last year. The firm, whose history stretches back to 1881, owns 1 280 service stations across seven countries, according to its website. – Bloomberg

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