Nairobi Billionaire to Buy Firm That Tried to Take Over His Company

  •  A stock image of a man behind the steering wheel of a car
    A stock image of a man behind the steering wheel of a car
  • Nairobi billionaire Baloobhai Patel has kicked off the process of acquiring a firm that had tried to take over his business in 2005.

    According to a transaction notice made by BOC Gases on Thursday, November 26, Patel through Carbacid Investments where he is the majority shareholder has made an offer of Ksh1.2 billion to acquire 100 per cent of the company.

    “At the close of the proposed transaction, if the offer is accepted in full, the offerers will hold 100 per cent of the issued shares of the company,” read the transaction notice. 

    Carbacid factory based in Industrial Area, Nairobi
    Carbacid factory based in Industrial Area, Nairobi

    BOC manufactures and markets industrial and medical gases. 

    Carbacid is a major producer of carbon dioxide which is used to make fizzy beverages like beers, soft drinks, among other applications. 

    Carbacid and Patel’s acquisition of BOC will effectively make the billionaire the owner of the largest combined industrial gases business in East Africa. 

    The investor is the majority shareholder of Carbacid which BOC had tried to acquire a 94 per cent majority stake in a hostile takeover. 

    However, the deal failed after a four-year protracted battle that saw the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) suspend both shares from being traded throughout the period of the dispute. 

    “Our offer has expired, and we will retain our money for other business,” BOC Chairman John Kibe told reporters at the time. 

    In recent times BOC’s sales and earnings have dropped, due to increased competition and rising costs.

    Carbacid has also faced increased competition in recent years from alcohol manufacturers who harvest the gas as a by-product of their production process.

    While BOC Kenya produces and supplies industrial, medical and special gases, Carbacid Investment Limited’s main
    operating subsidiary Carbacid (CO2) Limited is the region’s leading producer of food-grade carbon dioxide extracted from natural underground reservoirs in Kenya.

    “Carbacid Investment Limited will bring its effective business and strategic acumen and deep knowledge and experience of the local industrial gas market, which can generate significant synergies between the two
    businesses,” Chairman Ambassador Dennis Awori stated on the new transaction.

    In a similar incident of tables turning in the corporate sector, Mount Kenya University founder Simon Gicharu bought the building hosting Inoorero University headquarters years after Inoorero denied him a job.

    Globally, Indian tycoon Ratan Tata - the owner of Tata Industries - is regarded as the poster child for "sweet business revenge" after he bought off Landrover and Jaguar from Ford Motors in 2015. 

    Ford bosses had ridiculed Ratan's business strategy during a meeting held in 1999. 

    A worker inspecting Boc Gas cylinders
    A worker inspecting Boc Gas cylinders