Ardova confirms N2.6bn Zenon/Prudent Energy battle affects former, current shareholders
Ardova Plc has finally spoken on the ongoing battle between Zenon Petroleum & Gas Limited and Prudent Energy and Services Limited over an alleged inability of Prudent Energy to pay a $6 million debt.
Prudent Energy and Services Limited through its entity, Ignite Investments and Commodities Limited owns 74 percent of Ardova, a company listed on the Nigerian Exchange. Ardova Plc with a market capitalisation of about N16.9billion traded at N13 per share on Tuesday August 9.
Zenon Petroleum & Gas Limited in the suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos, with No. FHC/L/CP/1450/2022 asked the Court to wind up Prudent Energy and Services Limited over the inability of the company to pay the alleged $6billion debt which at official exchange rate of N428/$ is worth about N2.6billion.
In an August 9 notice titled “Misleading misrepresentation in Media Publication” released to investors and stakeholders at the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) and signed by its Company Secretary, Oladeinde Nelson-Cole, the foremost Nigerian integrated energy group said: “Attention of the Management of Ardova Plc (Ardova or the Company) has been drawn to news circulated in various media publications on 8 August 2022, which seem to include Ardova Plc in a report of a “charge” to wind-up Prudent Energy & Services Limited (PESL) over an alleged inability to pay $6 million debt presented to the Federal High Court by Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited (Zenon)”.
It further considers it “important to clarify that this report relates to a dispute between former shareholders and a current shareholder and has nothing to do with Ardova Plc as a separate entity.”
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AbdulWasiu Sowami, a billionaire investor is the chairman of Ardova Plc as well as the Chief Executive Officer of Prudent Energy and Services. While Ignite Investments and Commodities Limited owns 74.06percent equity in Ardova Plc other investors own for 25.94percent. Listed on the Petroleum and Petroleum Product subsector of the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) Oil & Gas sector, Ardova Plc has 1,302,481,103 shares outstanding.
“The issues relate to the claims and warranties under the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) between Ignite Investments and Commodities Limited (Ignite) and Zenon together with its affiliates for the acquisition of shares in Forte Oil Plc (now Ardova Plc),” Ardova said.
The debt was alleged to have arisen from the sale conducted in 2018 where Zenon Petroleum & Gas Limited and its affiliates sold 74.02 percent of the issued share capital of Forte Oil Plc (now Ardova Plc) to Sowami and Ignite Investment and Commodities Limited. The company changed its name to Ardova Plc in 2019 upon restructuring and rebranding with Ignite Investments and Commodities Limited as its major shareholder.
“There are no claims against Ardova Plc as an entity. There are no winding-up petitions threatened or filed against Ardova Plc in respect of these issues or any other issue.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Ardova Plc is not a party to any of the proceedings and the proceedings neither affect Ardova Plc’s rights nor create any liability for Ardova Plc in any way,” Ardova further said in the August 9 notice.
Ardova said that it has faith in the Court’s dispute resolution process and believes it will culminate in a just resolution of the issues.