It’s business as usual, not corporate coup de tat Puma Energy mergers BP

By By Jeremiah Ndjoze
August 2011
Prime Business
THE recent Puma Energy takeover of BP’s strongholds in Namibia and four other countries in the region, was not a corporate coup but a smooth transaction built on sound business acumen and strategy.

The transaction came about as a result of Puma Energy’s commitment to growth and the uncompromising vision of its leadership, says General Manager of Puma Energy Namibia, Maregesi Manyama.

Puma Energy a multinational energy enterprise acquired 100% of BP’s interest BP Namibia in March this year in an N$3, 2 billion deal which saw the company also acquiring 100% shares in BP Botswana, 75% in BP Zambia and 50% in both BP Malawi and BP Tanzania.

It is not possible to extract the cost of the Namibian transaction from the rest as a result of bidding process which saw the company taking a holistic approach for all the countries despite being offered an option for a one by one deal.

Puma Energy initially had operations in Mozambique and Angola and through extending their footprints into Zambia, Botswana and Namibia they sought to create a link between their operations while the Tanzania, Malawi endeavours will link them to countries in East Africa thus maximising their presence in the region.

The company, according to Manyama, also saw the peace and stability prevailing in these countries as an opportunity. It has further emerged that this is not the first time Puma Energy has taken interest in setting up operations in Namibia.

“Three years ago, we attempted to setup a storage depot at Walvis Bay but there were no opportunities for us. Our reasons again were strategic. We wanted Walvis Bay because of its harbour which would have enabled us easily transport our oil to our storage depot,” Manyama says.

The acquisition of the Namibian stake was a dream come true for Puma, and now they have a Storage Depot at Walvis Bay and already have started to put the harbour to good use particularly with the transportation of fuel to Botswana which Manyama says, now sees Namibia as a saviour.

The company was officially launched at a gala dinner held at the Safari Court Hotel and Conference Centre last month. Deputy Minister of Labour, Alpheus Muheua who officiated at the event commended the company for their contribution to the “creation of employment and (for) empowering the Namibian people through skills transfer”.

The ripple effect of the entry of any new player in an existing economy or corporate system more often than not has an impact on the stakeholders within the said system – mostly the human resources. It normally leads to restructuring, retrenchments, grievances, meetings at the trade union’s offices and all other forms of hullabaloos that are attached to the former.

But the takeover of Puma Energy over BP Namibia saw the company’s staff complement increasing by 20% and more jobs at the company are set to open with the envisioned growth of the company in the next few months.

In April, barely a month after the takeover, Puma Energy has embarked on refurbishing of existing facilities across the country and the expansion of the company’s storage depot at Walvis Bay, both processes of which will cost the company approximately N$15 million and N$25 million to N$30 million respectively.

“This is only the first phase and these figures will increase with the commencement of the other phases,” Manyama says.

The first phase is earmarked for completion by end of this month. With the expansion of the company’s storage depot the company plans to increase the size of their Storage Depot at Walvis Bay. This, according to the company will result in more jobs for Namibians and an increase in the company’s productions.

With the transaction, the company acquired 29 service stations across the country, nine of which have Express Shops, and five depots. 11 of the service stations a in Windhoek alone. Also a part of the transaction is Air Bp which supplies aviation fuel to all airlines flying into Namibia, as well as private aviation customers in the country.

The company is headquartered in Switzerland and operates in 25 countries across the globe. Its service station chain, worldwide totals 400 and a further 200 sites are under development. Its parent company Trafigura Beheer BV first entered the African oil sector in the Congo in 2002. It then expanded to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Angola in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as to Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Social corporate responsibility

Manyama says his company is determined to make a difference in the lives of the communities from which it gets its support. And this is seemingly not just lip service as the company has already made donations in excess of over N$100 000 to the aid of the flood victims in the North and North Eastern parts Namibia.

The company further maintains that good practices in occupational health and safety is paramount and the day to day operations are executed with strict rules and procedures that all employees are required to adhere to religiously.

“Our belief is that nothing is important enough to be pursued in an unsafe manner and environment,” Manyama concludes, adding that Puma Energy has arrived and that it is set to become a force to reckon with in the local energy sector. PF