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Forte Oil plans to delist from NSE, reverses takeover offer

By Peter Egwuatu

THERE are indications that Forte Oil Plc is planning to delist its shares from the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, following the proposed takeover offer by Ignite Investments and Commodities Limited to other existing shareholders.

But the Ignite Investments, weekend, withdrew the proposed takeover offer pending relevant regulatory approvals.

Market sources revealed to Financial Vanguard that the move by Ignite Investments to propose a takeover offer is to enable it acquire controlling stake in Forte Oil and eventually go for delisting from the NSE.

According to a market operator who preferred to remain anonymous: “Ignite Investment is planning to delist Forte Oil from the NSE. The offer would enable it have controlling interest in Forte Oil as its stake would increase to 74.06 percent from 74.02 percent when Femi Otedola offloaded its stake in the company.”

Explaining the takeover offer, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData, Mr. Ambrose Omoriodon said: “The move by Ignite Investment is to carry along other shareholders after acquiring the majority stake by buying off Femi Otedola holdings to own 74.02 percent which it intend to increase its holding to 74.06 percent by this takeover offer and that is in line with regulatory order.

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“Forte Oil offering of 500,000 ordinary shares at N66.25 is in order since it is through tender, meaning people will tender and accept a percentage to cover the 500,000 units no matter the number of units tendered.”

In his reaction, Head of Investment and Research at FSL Securities, Mr. Victor Chiazor said: “The tender offer to minority qualifying shareholders of Forte Oil by Ignite Investment and Commodities Limited for the acquisition of 0.04 per cent (500,000 units) of Forte Oil shares at the same unit price of N66.25 paid to acquire the majority stake in the company, is a regulatory requirement by the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, following the company’s earlier purchase of a majority stake in Forte Oil.

“Going by SEC (“ISA”) Rules 445 – 448, part of which states that (where a person or group of persons acquire(s) or wishes to acquire a minimum 30 per cent shares in a public quoted company with the intention of taking over control of that company, a takeover bid shall be made by such person or group of persons or through their agent to the shareholders of the target company). A similar mandatory bid of about 3.23 per cent to minority shareholders was made by 11 Plc after their purchase of majority stake in Mobil Plc.”

Meanwhile, Forte Oil at the weekend disclosed to its shareholders and other stakeholders that the proposed offer by Ignite Investments to other shareholders of Forte Oil is still under review by the relevant regulators and has not been formally launched. “As such, shareholders are advised to take no action in respect of the proposed offer at this time. Shareholders will be appropriately notified in line with regulatory requirements by Ignite Investments of the forma launch date” Forte Oil Acting Company Secretary, Oladeinde Nelson-Cole, said.

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