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Ex-Kobil executive halts buyout in Sh26.8m suit

A worker adjusts fuel prices at a KenolKobil petrol station
A worker adjusts fuel prices at a KenolKobil petrol station in Eldoret Town in the past. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A former executive of KenolKobil, Mr Patrick Kondo, has received an injunction that has stopped the process of selling the oil marketer to French multinational Rubis Energie until courts determine his claim of Sh26.8 million.

The order by Lady Justice Hellen Wasilwa of the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi could disrupt the timetable of the proposed Sh35.6 billion transaction.

KenolKobil’s shareholders have been offered an opportunity to accept Rubis’ buyout offer of Sh23 per share until February 18 and the deal is expected to be completed by March 11 if all the conditions set by the conglomerate are met.

“That this application be and is hereby certified as urgent and heard ex=parte in the first instance,” reads part of the court orders.

“That an order of injunction is hereby issued restraining the respondent (KenolKobil) by themselves, agents and assignees from executing and/or implementing the takeover agreement between the respondent and Rubis Energie … pending the hearing and determination of this application inter-parties.”

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Mr Kondo worked at KenolKobil #ticker:KENO for more than two decades and oversaw the company’s wave of acquisitions in the regional market under former chief executive Jacob Segman.

Unfair termination

He is claiming compensation for what he terms as unfair termination in 2017 after which he became a consultant in the petroleum industry.

Major legal claims are among the factors that Rubis had listed as reasons for which it could back out of the deal to acquire KenolKobil.

“No material litigation or other legal proceedings having been commenced against KenolKobil or any of its subsidiaries and no order being given by a court or authority to prevent or restrict the transfer of any ordinary shares in KenolKobil under the offer,” reads part of Rubis’ buyout conditions.

Ahead of the proposed transaction, KenolKobil had cleaned up its books by writing off old claims and settling major disputes including paying off Mr Segman Sh707.1 million.

Mr Kondo’s lawyers argued that Rubis would not inherit KenolKobil’s pending liabilities and he would be unable to collect his compensation.

His lawyers said the oil marketer should deposit the Sh26.8 million in an escrow account if it wants the buyout to proceed.

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