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IPO for South African fuel giant Engen planned for 2020

Highlights

  • Malaysia’s Petronas took control of Engen in 1998 takeover
  • Engen founded in 1881, owns 135,000 barrel-per-day refinery

Petroliam Nasional BHd and its South African partners plan to conduct an initial public offering in their fuel retailer Engen to fund the upgrade of a refinery in the coastal city of Durban and to expand its network of gas stations.

A yet to be decided amount of shares in the company, which is South Africa’s biggest fuel retailer, will likely be sold on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in the first half of next year, according to people familiar with the matter. Engen’s 135,000-barrel-per-day refinery needs to be upgraded to meet more stringent laws aimed at curbing pollution.

Engen is 74% owned by Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional, known as Petronas, and 26% held by a group led by Phembani, a South African company founded by Phuthuma Nhleko, one of the country’s most successful black businessmen. JPMorgan Chase & Co. has been mandated to assist Petronas with the listing, the people said, asking not to be identified as the plan hasn’t been announced.

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Engen, which was founded in 1881 and now operates in seven African countries, has an asset value of more than 40 billion rand ($2.6 billion), according to the people. In its 2018 financial year it posted revenue of 82.5 billion rand and net income of 1.8 billion rand.

In addition to its own operations, Engen earlier this year swapped gas stations in eight African countries for a stake in Vivo Energy Plc. While Petronas gained control of Engen in 1998 it has since tried to sell the company, holding talks with South Africa’s state oil company, PetroSA, in 2013.

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