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Saudi WAFI Energy eyes Shell Pakistan takeover

By Our Correspondent
November 01, 2023
A view of a closed petrol pump due to fake news of petrol price hike again in the country. — Online
A view of a closed petrol pump due to fake news of petrol price hike again in the country. — Online

KARACHI: WAFI Energy LLC, one of the leading fuel station companies in Saudi Arabia, has announced its intention to acquire up to 77.42 percent shares and control of Shell Pakistan Limited (SHEL), a subsidiary of the global oil giant Shell Plc.

Shell Pakistan disclosed the development in a notice to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Tuesday, saying that it had received a firm offer from WAFI Energy.

“It is hereby informed that Shell Pakistan Limited has received firm intention from WAFI Energy LLC to acquire control of 165,700,304 (up to 77.42 percent) voting shares of the target company, beyond the thresholds prescribed under Section 111 of the Act,” Shell Pakistan said.

According to the notice, WAFI Energy is a fast-growing retail gas station network and the sole licensee of Shell Retail Networkin Saudi Arabia. The company was incorporated in 2012 with an authorized and paid-up capital of 3 million Saudi Riyal.

Arif Habib Limited (AHL), a brokerage house in Pakistan, said in a separate notice that it had been appointed as the manager to WAFI Energy's offer and submitted the public announcement of intention to the PSX.

The offer from WAFI Energy comes after Shell Pakistan's parent company, Shell Petroleum Company Limited (SPCo), notified its intent to sell its shareholding in the Pakistani entity in June this year. SPCo had a 77.42 percent stake in Shell Pakistan as of December 31, 2022, according to the annual report for that year.

Shell Pakistan said at the time that the divestment plan would have no impact on its current business operations, which would continue as usual. The company also said that it was seeing strong interest from international buyers.

In July, Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL) and Air Link Communication (AIRLINK) also jointly expressed their intention to acquire the majority stake and control of Shell Pakistan.

Later, media reports saidthat Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia, was exploring a potential bid for Shell Plc's assets in Pakistan. The deal could mark the oil-rich nation's first foray into the South Asian nation.

Earlier this month, Prax Overseas Holdings Limited (Prax), a UK-based company, also expressed its intention to acquire a majority stake and control of Shell Pakistan.

Shell Pakistan is one of the leading oil marketing companies in Pakistan, with a network of over 800 retail outlets across the country. The company reported a profit after tax of Rs6,450 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2023, compared to Rs2,864 million in the same period last year.