The recently announced Kshs 1.2 Billion takeover offer of BOC Kenya Plc (NSE: BOC) by Carbacid Investments Limited (CIL) in collaboration with Aksaya Investments LLP is set to further deepen the industrial sector development in Kenya.
Speaking when he provided a progress update on the offer, CIL Chairman Amb. Dennis Awori said the proposed transaction will result in Kenyan control of the firm, which currently features a majority multinational shareholder.
As a wholly owned local entity, BOC, Awori said, will benefit from swifter Board and Shareholder attention that is necessary to kick start its growth and promote capital investments and more effective corporate decision making. The bid, he added also underlines the commitment of local investors in expanding manufacturing capacity.
Awori explained that following the approvals from the CIL at the CIL AGM last week, the transaction team is now set to advance the non-conditional offer closure subject to regulatory conditions. He stressed the point of the offer being unconditional, which means that those shareholders of BOC who wish to continue as shareholders can do so and benefit from the future growth of the business.
Currently, CIL serves a particular section of the market through its main operating subsidiary Carbacid (CO2) Limited which is the region’s leading producer of food-grade carbon dioxide, which is extracted from natural underground reservoirs in Kenya and processed to very levels of purity in highly technical plants at Carbacid’s facilities. Mr Awori emphasized that Carbacid is not involved in the manufacture or sale of oxygen, BOC’s main product, and the proposed acquisition is a diversification strategy as opposed to one that will increase market share in any product.
“As a truly Kenyan investment vehicle, CIL’s offer to BOC Kenya is aligned to the national development goals and we remain optimistic that the company will be locally controlled,” Awori said, adding that, “Our (CIL’s) experience in the carbon dioxide production sector has inspired this investment bid for BOC, so as to expand our portfolio into the industrial, medical and special gases which we currently don’t produce or supply.”
As responsible local investors, Amb. Awori assured that the CIL consortium is acting in good faith and does not intend to erode the operating capability of BOC. “Indeed, we intend to enhance its market capacity through the integration of modern manufacturing units under a revitalization strategy geared at positioning BOC as the leading producer and supplier of industrial, medical and speciality gases in the local and regional markets.”
BOC Kenya’s United Kingdom-based majority shareholder, BOC Holdings supports the offer made by CIL and has issued an irrevocable undertaking to sell its 65.38% stake in BOC Kenya. “In the irrevocable undertaking, BOCH has undertaken to accept our offer to acquire their shareholding upon the issue of the offer document,” Awori said.
At the recently concluded AGM of CIL, over 90% of CIL shareholders present voted in favour of CIL completing the takeover of BOC, emphasizing the overwhelming support by CIL’s shareholders for the takeover of BOC.