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Oil trader Vitol snaps up UK's Vivo Energy in $2.3 billion deal

By Reuters

<div> <p>By Yadarisa Shabong</p> <p> – Commodities trader Vitol will buy Britain’s Vivo Energy in a deal valued at roughly $2.3 billion, the companies said on Thursday, as the Dutch firm looks to take full control of the distributor of Shell- and Engen-branded fuels in Africa. </p> <p>Shares in Vivo, which has a network of about 2,330 service stations across Africa, jumped as much as 21% to 134.8 pence, just below the total offer that equates to about 139 pence.</p> <p>Vivo shareholders will receive $1.79 in cash for each share they hold, and six cents as an interim plus special dividend. </p> <p>Netherlands-based Vitol, which is the top Vivo investor with a 36.1% stake, will also buy out Helios, the second biggest shareholder.</p> <p>Vivo was founded after Shell divested some of its downstream business in 2011. Vitol, Helios and Shell operated Vivo as a joint venture before the two top shareholders bought out Shell for $250 million in 2016. </p> <p>The board of Vivo plan to unanimously recommend the deal to shareholders, the companies said.</p> <p>Vitol had engaged with Helios on many occasions in recent years to buy Helios’ 27.1% stake. The two agreed on the purchase price of $1.79 per Vivo share, which represents a premium of about 25% to the stock’s Wednesday close. </p> <p>“Since we founded Vivo with Helios and Shell, we have believed in the business’ potential and we are excited to have it within the Vitol family, as a pillar of our strategy in Africa,” Vitol Head of Origination Chris Bake said.</p> <p>Founded in Rotterdam in 1966, Vitol has about 6,600 retail sites on four continents, its website showed. </p> <p>Vitol’s offer on Thursday follows a lower proposal in February, which was rejected by the company’s board.</p> <p>Vivo’s long-standing Chief Executive Christian Chammas earlier this month said he would retire in 2022. The company has performed well amid the pandemic, with shares having risen more than 50% so far this year. </p> <p/> </div>