The Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria on Monday called for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s intervention in Forte Oil planned sale of some of its assets in the country and divest from Ghana.
Boniface Okezie, PSAN National Coordinator, told the News Agency of Nigeria that SEC and the Nigerian Stock Exchange as market regulators should ensure full disclosure from the company on moves to sell some of its assets.
Okezie, while reacting to the Forte Oil announcement to sell its upstream services and power businesses in Nigeria, said the interest of minority shareholders should be protected at all times.
He said the market regulators should engage Forte Oil to ascertain the assets it intended to sell and the potential buyers.
According to him, shareholders deserve to know the reasons for the planned sale of some of its assets, who is buying and at what rate.
Okezie stated that shareholders need to be carried along even if the company wants to embark on financial re-engineering.
He said in line with standard practices the shareholders would demand full disclosure in the operations of Forte Oil.
Moses Igbrude, the Publicity Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, attributed the move to the operating environment in the petroleum industry which had been “tough and challenging” in the past few years.
Igbrude said the problem would linger until the Federal Government carried out full deregulation of the downstream sector.
He said: “I am appealing to the government to pay monies owned the marketers so they can have enough resources to run their businesses.
“The enabling environment should be provided for businesses to thrive.”
NAN reports that Forte Oil recently said it planned to sell off its upstream services and power businesses in Nigeria and divest from Ghana to focus on its core fuel distribution operation at home.
Forte Oil did not give a reason for the change in direction, but said the downstream sector in Nigeria had gone through changes in recent years and was expected to evolve further.
The move came as an out-turn to shareholders and investors for a company, whose Chief Executive, Akin Akinfemiwa, told investors in Lagos in August that he wanted to “aggressively” pursue mergers and acquisition opportunities in the energy value-chain.
He also said the company planned to acquire marginal oilfields to boost its upstream business.