UPDATE 1-Engen, KenolKobil to buy BP, Shell Zimbabwe assets
Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:34pm IST
HARARE, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Engen Petroleum and KenolKobil plan to acquire BP and Shell's Zimbabwe assets in anticipation of economic growth under a unity government formed earlier this year, the companies said on Friday.
They will acquire more than 75 service stations in a deal now under consideration by Zimbabwean authorities.
BP and Shell's move would be the highest profile exit by a major foreign investor since President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai set up a power-sharing government in February in a bid to end a political and economic crisis.
Engen -- one of South Africa's leading petroleum products retailers -- and east African KenolKobil said they were to acquire all the shares in Shell Zimbabwe and BP Zimbabwe.
BP and Shell, whose joint Zimbabwe operations employ about 400 people and whose blending plant in Harare has a capacity of 30 million litres per year, were not available to comment.
Engen has existing operations in Zimbabwe and Jacob Segman, managing director of KenolKobil, said the joint venture would seek to benefit from the country's reconstruction.
"While Zimbabwe's economy has declined sharply over the last decade, it still boasts good infrastructure and we believe that this will form the basis of renewed economic growth under the new government of national unity," Segman said in the statement. (Reporting by Nelson Banya; Editing by Dan Lalor)