Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Local company questions sale of BP-Shell unit

By Brian Latham

The Indigenous Petroleum Group of Zimbabwe challenged Jersey-based Masawara Plc’s bid to buy BP and Shell Marketing Services (Private) Ltd., a unit owned by BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Newsday said, citing the company’s secretary-general, Crosby Mashiri.

Mashiri wrote to Zimbabwe’s National Indigenization and Empowerment Board to ask why black-owned companies now leasing BP and Shell assets weren’t given the chance to bid ahead of Masawara, the Harare-based daily newspaper said on its website. Masawara’s offer to acquire BPSMS through its Zimbabwe unit, FMI Zimbabwe, was agreed on “in principle” Oct. 12, Newsday said.

Harare-based businessman Shingai Mutasa owns 63.4 percent of Masawara, which is listed on London’s AIM market. The company raised $25 million in August to fund acquisitions in Zimbabwe, Newsday said.

Masawara’s bid to acquire BP and Shell’s assets in Zimbabwe, which include 73 fuel retail outlets, six depots and a defunct lubricants plant, was the second attempt to buy the company.

Zimbabwe’s government blocked a March 25 bid by Kenya’s KenolKobil Ltd. because the country’s laws require all businesses valued at over $500,000 to have a 51 percent black Zimbabwean shareholding. Bloomberg