Tangled in a web of controversy currently trailing Seplat Energy Plc’s botched acquisition of ExxonMobil shares, Seplat has again been devastated by the selling off of 16.139 million ordinary shares of the company by its Non-Executive Director, Mr Kazeem Raimi.
Also, just as Raimi dumped the shares registered in his name, many investors on the stock market have started disregarding the shares of Seplat in the wake of the scandal rocking the share purchase deal with ExxonMobil, according to details of the transactions obtained from the Nigerian Exchange Ltd.
A transaction statement from the NGX Ltd revealed that Raimi had sold 16,139 ordinary shares worth N25 million registered in his name.
Confirming the transaction, Seplat’s Director, Legal/Company Secretary, Mrs Edith Onwuchekwa, said the company had already notified the Nigerian Stock Exchange about the sale of Raimi’s shares, according to THE WHISTLER.
She said that the notification was made in accordance with Rule 12 of the Amendments to the Listing Rules of the Nigerian Exchange and Article 19 of the EU Market Abuse Regulations.
Seplat Energy Plc, Persecondnews recalls, had in February 2022 announced an agreement to acquire all the share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited from Exxon Mobil Corporation, Delaware for $1.28 billion.
The transaction involved the acquisition of ExxonMobil Nigeria’s entire offshore shallow water business.
ExxonMobil Nigeria’s shallow water business is an established, high-quality operation with a highly skilled local operating team and a track record of safe operations.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has a pre-emptive right over the asset and had in July won a court judgment temporarily blocking Exxon Mobil Corporation from selling assets in Nigeria to Seplat Energy Plc.
A Federal high Court judge in Abuja had granted NNPC an “order of interim injunction” on July 6, 2022, barring Exxon Mobil “from completing any divestment” in a unit that ultimately operates four licenses in Nigeria.
In spite the verdict, President Muhammadu Buhari had “errorneously’’ approved that the Mobil and Seplat deal should be consummated, a development that triggered reactions from many industry players and watchers as the transaction had initially been declined on July 5, 2022 by the President, who also doubles as the Minister of Petroleum Resources.
Persecondnews.com had reported that while the controversy rages, Malam Garba Shehu, spokesman to President Buhari issued a statement countering Buhari’s Media Adviser, Mr Femi Adesina’s statement that the President had reversed the approval and had thrown his weight behind the position of by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) on the deal which directed a status quo ante.
He had rationalized that the earlier confusion about the deal was due to the fact that the “various agencies involved in (the) decision had not coordinated well among themselves.”
On the implication of the selling off of the company Director’s shares, Seplat’s Legal/Company Secretary, Mrs Edith Onwuchekwa, said: “The Company was notified of the sale of 16,139 ordinary shares registered in the name of Mr. Kazeem Abiodun Raimi, a Non- Executive Director of the Company.
“Following this sale, Mr. Kazeem Abiodun Raimi holds nil ordinary shares in the Company.
“Notification and Public Disclosure of Transactions by Persons Discharging Managerial Responsibilities (PDMR) and Persons Closely Associated with them is made in accordance with Rule 12 of the Amendments to the Listing Rules of the Nigerian Exchange and Article 19 of the EU Market Abuse Regulations.”
Data from the Exchange showed that 104,085 units of Seplat shares were traded on the floor of the stock market on August 4, 2022 at a unit price of N1,430.50 per share with the volume of traded shares declining to 3,193 units at the same price of N1,430.50 per share as of Friday, August 12, 2022 with the implication that while the volume of shares traded declined, the price per share remain constant within the eight days period.
Industry watchers on Saturday attributed the drop in the volume of traded shares of the company to the messy controversy trailing Seplat’s shares acquisition deal with ExxonMobil.
According to a stockbroker, the shares of Seplat have not recorded much activity in the last one week because as you know, the market responds to the level of information that it receives from both the domestic and external economic environment.
“You will recall that Seplat has been involved in a controversial deal that involves the acquisition of ExxonMobil shares. Like you know, no new investor will want to take position in a company that he is not sure about the level of profitability that will come from such transaction.
“I think that many investors who had hitherto wanted to take up the shares of the company will hold action pending when this issue with ExxonMobil is resolved and that is why you saw that only less than 4,000 units of shares were traded on Friday,’’ he said.