By ADEBAYO OBAJEMU |
Forte Oil plc was in the news throughout last week as Mercuria Energy Holding SA, the world’s third largest independent energy trader and asset operator, acquired 17 percent equity in the company, in an investment valued at $200 million.
Analysts are in the upswing mood over this equity holding as many of them told Business Hallmark that given the experience and standing of Mercurial Holding, this deal would have positive effect on Fortes, which was doing well even before the deal, given its meteoric growth and dominance in the downstream sector, upstream services, power generation and upstream exploration in its bid to become Nigeria’s premier integrated energy solutions provider. According to Ambrose Omorkhodion, an investment analyst and former analyst with Stockswatch Group, ” Mercuria’s investment has come at an auspicious time when equitable funding and expertise are needed to expand and intensify Forte , which is already doing well before. It will turn around the growing fortune of Fortes for the best”, he said.
This view was shared by Abayomi Obabolujo, an investment expert who predicted significant gain in terms of market share from this investment.
According to Amusa Oloyede, another investment analyst who also lectures at Yaba College of Technology, ”Fortes has made a giant stride ahead of others by this equity since it would benefit significantly from the experience and competence across several countries of Mercurial Holding’.
Mercurial’s new stake in Forte signifies the company’s inroad into the West African energy sector and underscores improvement in investor confidence in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
Mercuria Energy Group Holdings SA was founded in 2004 by Marco Dunand and Daniel Jaeggi, then executives at Phibro—the commodities trader sold by Citigroup to Occidental Petroleum in 2009–and previously at Goldman Sachs.
Until 2007, Mercuria was called the J&S Group and focused mostly on oil trading. Its core business is sourcing, supplying and trading crude oil and refined petroleum products, electrical energy, and transport storage as well as delivery of goods.
Similarly, Forte Oil plc, formerly known as African Petroleum plc, changed its name to Forte Oil Plc in December 2010.
Incorporated in 1964, Forte Oil markets refined petroleum products for automobiles and machines. It also operates various services, including retail petroleum product marketing, industrial fuels and lubricants marketing, among others.