There are strong indications that one of the nation’s top players in the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry, MRS Holdings Limited may have led a consortium to take over foremost oil industry downstream operators, Texaco Nigeria Plc.
In what appear as a dramatic twist to the prolonged litigation over the oil giant’s future, industry sources hinted last weekend that MRS Oil may have seized Texaco from Chevron Nigeria Plc.
No fewer than five players including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were set to buy the company. Apart from MRS Group, there was Sahara Energy Resources, Oando, African Petroleum and trade unions such as the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), among others.
The controversial takeover had been a subject of litigation between a group of minority shareholders who had reportedly raised alarm over the development on the grounds that MRS entry is tantamount to a subtle take over of the company from the Chevron Group which owns 60 percent equity stake in the embattled company.
But ahead of the emergence of the bid winners in August 2008, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, which owns over 20 per cent equity stake in the company, filed a suit before a Federal High Court in Lagos restraining the bidding. The company was joined by Mrs. Abake Cecilia Oluyede. The case is also before the Investments and Securities Tribunal in Lagos.
But, granting the prayers of the litigants, both the Federal High Cout and Investments and Securities Tribunal presided over by Justice Lambo Akanbi and Dr. Nnenna Orji respectively, had restrained Chevron from selling, transferring and disposing its shares held in Texaco pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice in the suit. The orders were granted July 31, 2008 and March 18, 2009 respectively.
The take over is also facing intense opposition form the workers who alleged that the whole transaction was shrouded in secrecy and also expressed fear that their interests may not be adequately taken care of in the event of sale.