Ardova to Fund Enyo Acquisition With Debt, Equity
By Dipo Olowookere
In the first month of 2021, the board of Ardova Plc announced that the company was planning to acquire a retail downstream player, Enyo, as part of its efforts to capture the retail segment of the oil business.
Enyo is an energy firm with about 93 outlets spread across the country and while addressing an analyst call last week, the management said the “deal fits nicely into our strategic plan” and would complement its retail base because of the access to the retail outlets.
It further said the integration of the 93 retail outlets of Enyo into the over 450 outlets of Ardova would allow the organisation to “deliver more through the channels” and provide “opportunities around digitalisation.”
At the conference call attended by Business Post, the management explained that the transaction is purely an acquisition and not a merger and would be funded through debt and equity.
“Let me make this clarification that the Enyo deal is an acquisition, not a merger as we are buying the company 100 per cent.
“We intend to fund the transaction via debt and equity and the deal fits nicely into our strategic plan,” a member of the management informed participants.
In January 2021, when Ardova informed the investing public about the development, it said the transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of the year. However, it is still not certain if this timeline would be met.
Some days ago, Ardova released its financial statements for the 2020 accounting year and in the period, it reported an increase in revenue, N181.9 billion versus N176.6 billion in 2019 and a profit after tax of N1.9 billion.
The board then recommended a dividend of 19 kobo, which did not go down well with shareholders and shares of the company were punished, declining significantly within a few days.
While commenting on this at the analyst call, the chief executive of Ardova, Mr Olumide Adeosun, explained that the board was aware of the resentment that followed the cash reward, but emphasised that the payment was a mere reward for investors’ loyalty.
He expressed optimism that in the coming years when the company fully settles down, shareholders would be given an encouraging cash reward.
“The payment for the year was to reward the loyalty of shareholders, we are still in the foundational stage of our acquisition. We expect to pay our shareholders with less disappointing dividend in the future,” Mr Adeosun explained.
In 2019, a company known as Ignite Investments and Commodities Limited owned by Mr Abdulwasiu Sowami acquired a 74.02 per cent equity stake in Forte Oil Plc from Mr Femi Otedola.
Last year, which was the first full year after the transaction, the operations of Ardova were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the firm managed to grow its earnings by 2.9 per cent year-on-year on the back of a 3.4 per cent growth in the fuels business (constituting 90 per cent of revenue), high margins on lubes sales (9 per cent of revenue) as well as the transport and logistics business (constituting 0.2 per cent of the group revenue).
Also, the gross profit margin improved to 6.7 per cent compared to 6.4 per cent in the prior period, reflecting the increased earnings-generating capacity of the business.
In the year, operating expense declined by 13.4 per cent amidst inflationary pressure and an inflation rate of 15.75 per cent in December 2020.
But in the 2021 fiscal year, Ardova said “Our focus will be to capitalise on the milestones achieved in 2020.
“We will further improve operational efficiency across our key strategic transformational themes of future-proofing our business, connecting with our people, engaging with customers and stakeholders while enhancing value for investors.”