Two top Kenyan shareholders in the Gulf Energy Holdings, Suleiman Said Shahbal and Francis Koome Njogu, will likely earn billions of shillings following the final approval given to the French multinational Rubis to buy out the oil marketer.
Shahbal owned his stake through a company called Monte Carlo Investments Limited, where he owns 100% of the ordinary shares, while Njogu owned his shares directly, according to records from the Business Registration Service seen by the FinancialDay.
The deal was first announced in November 2019 but was given final approval on February 25th by the Competition Authority of Kenya.
Although the parties declined to disclose the value of the deal, it is estimated to be worth billions of shillings based on the huge infrastructure investments and goodwill Gulf Energy had built in the local petroleum and renewable energy sector.
Shahbal, Njogu insights
Suleiman Said Shahbal is a multi-millionaire who will readily answer your calls and reply to a social media message.
The founder of East Africa’s first Islamic bank, Gulf African Bank, and an ardent fan of Arsenal FC made his initial fortune in the Middle East banking sector.
After unsuccessful two attempts to become the Governor of Mombasa County, Shahbal, an author who radiates optimism, was rewarded by President Uhuru Kenyatta with the chairmanship for the board of Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade), a state agency under the National Treasury that is mandated to facilitate cross border trade.
But it appears that his even bigger fortune is being made in Kenya, thanks to his 25% stake in Gulf Energy Holdings which has now been bought by Rubis, the same company that bought Kenol/Kobil.
Gulf Energy is popularly recognized by its ‘g’ branded and green-themed petrol stations across the county.
Njogu will also likely earn more hundreds of millions of shillings from the deal from his 20% stake in Gulf Energy Holdings.
Koome, who has been the managing director of Gulf Energy, had also been tapped to become the managing director of Amu Power Company, a joint venture between Gulf Energy, Centum Investment to develop a 1050 MW coal power project.
The mega project that was to be established at Manda Bay in Lamu County has, however, run into headwinds following sustained lobbying by environmental activists opposed to the ‘harmful’ coal power, which has led to the withdrawal of key financiers.
Njogu, a native of Meru County is the owner of Alba Hotel, the most modern in Meru town according to reviews where once can get a meal of imported wild salmon fish.
In 2015, Njogu led Gulf Energy in signing Sh36 billion deal with Meru County to develop a 100 MW wind power plant. Peter Munya, the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary was the then Governor of Meru.
Although there has been less activity relating to this project, it is not clear yet if it has links to the Meru County Energy Park, whose 80MW wind farm construction started in January 2020 by a company known as Windlab.
The other joint developer is the Meru County Investment and Development Corporation, a county government investment agency.
Other Kenyan shareholders who will also rake in probable hundreds of millions include Duncan King’ori Mukira who owns 12.5% and Paul Kiprotich Limoh who owns 12.5%.
Limoh has been the chief executive officer of Gulf Energy. Mukira is a reclusive investor from Othaya, Nyeri County.
The rest of the 25% stake in Gulf Energy Holdings was owned through a company called Nama Kenya Limited, a U.K registered company that is minority-owned (20%) by a Kenyan named Ahmed Said Bajaber, who is a director at the Gulf African Bank.