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Kobil buyout freeze lifted after Sh101m court order

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

KenolKobil #ticker:KENO has been directed to deposit Sh101.7 million that is claimed by five former employees into an escrow account, with the court order also lifting an injunction that stopped the oil marketer from being acquired by French multinational Rubis Energie.

The company’s former head of acquisitions, Mr Patrick Kondo, on January 29 received an ex-parte order from Nairobi’s Employment and Labour Relations Court stopping the Sh35.6 billion buyout of KenolKobil pending the determination of his Sh26.8 million claim.

Mr Kondo and four other former employees went to court on Thursday last week and received another ex-parte order that amended the previous directive.

“That the court hereby varies the order made on January 29, 2019 to the extent that the order of injunction be and is hereby discharged and in substitution thereof an order that respondent (KenolKobil) deposit the sum … in a joint account in the name of the parties advocates pending the hearing and determination of this suit,” Justice Jorum Nelson Abuodha ordered.

This means that the buyout can proceed even as KenolKobil fights the claims by the former employees who will now find it easier to collect their cash should the courts rule in their favour.

Mr Kenneth Ndumbi has made the largest claim of Sh47.4 million, followed by Mr Kondo (Sh26.8 million), Mary Mwangi (Sh19.4 million), Jane Wambua (Sh6.3 million) and Caroline Murimi (Sh1.7 million).

Rubis’ offer of Sh23 per share to KenolKobil’s shareholders expires on Monday next week and the deal is expected to be completed by March 11 if all the conditions set by the conglomerate are met.

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

“No material litigation or other legal proceedings having been commenced against KenolKobil … to prevent or restrict the transfer of any ordinary shares in KenolKobil under the offer,” reads part of Rubis’ buyout conditions.

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