Ardova Delisted After Acquisition by Ignite


Nigerian fuel and lubricant supplier Ardova Plc has been delisted from Nigeria’s biggest stock exchange after an investment fund controlled by one of the nation’s petroleum tycoons completed a buy-up of minority stock shares.

The Nigerian Exchange Ltd. said July 31 that it had fully removed Ardova from its stock market following approval by the nation’s Securities and Exchange Commission and a court. The action was requested after Ignite completed a buy-up of minority owned stock shares launched in February.

Ignite, an investment arm of AbdulWasiu Sowami’s Prudent Energy Services, had purchased a 74.02% stake in Ardova from its former chairman, Femi Otedola, in 2019, when the company was known as Forte Oil. Ardova’s website now states that Ignite owns 74.06% of shares, though it is not clear if that number is up to date.

Ardova operates a lubricant blending plant in Lagos where it produces products sold under its own Zoom brand. It is also exclusive distributor in Nigeria of Shell lubricants.

Prudent and Ignite have not said if they intend to maintain Ardova’s identity or to subsume it into Prudent.

Financial pundits in Nigeria say they are seeing a revival of a worrisome trend in the country for publicly traded companies to be delisted from stock exchanges – something that has happened to 44 companies since 2015, according to a July 31 article published by the local Guardian news site. Analysts say the trend reduces opportunities for investors and that it reflects a business environment made difficult because of taxation levels and impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.