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Shell, Vitol and HElios in exclusive talks over africa businesses

By Dennis Matsane

Shell, Vitol and Helios have entered into exclusive negotiations for the potential joint acquisition by Vitol Group and Helios Investment Partners of equity in Shell's downstream businesses in 19 countries in Africa.

Under the terms of the proposed deal, which would see the Shell brand and products remain in each country, Vitol and Helios would become the majority shareholders in the businesses, with Shell retaining a shareholding.

Shell's fuels, lubricants and refining activities in South Africa, its lubricants business in Egypt, its LPG businesses in South Africa and Botswana, and its exploration and production businesses, liquefied natural gas interests and most international trading activities in Africa are not in scope of the proposed deal. All other downstream businesses in the 19 countries, including lubricants, are in scope.

Details of the negotiations, including timescales, will remain confidential and, while the move to exclusivity is an important step, it does not guarantee a deal. Further announcements about the status of discussions will be made at the appropriate time. In the meantime, Shell will continue with the safe operation of the businesses.

This development follows a previous announcement by Shell that it is reviewing ownership options for the businesses in question, consistent with its strategy to refocus its global downstream footprint into fewer, larger markets.