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Nigerian oil tycoon Abdulwasiu Sowami completes acquisition of Ardova, pays Femi Otedola $19 million


Nigerian oil distribution tycoon Abdulwasiu Sowami has finally concluded the acqusition of Ardova Plc (formerly Forte Oil) from billionaire businessman Femi Otedola, having paid the latter the $19 million that was awarded in an arbitration case filed in the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) last year.

In 2020, Abdulwasiu Sowami acquired a controlling interest in Forte Oil from Otedola’s Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited through a special purpose vehicle, Ignite Investment and Commercial Limited (IICL).

However, in a bid to avoid paying Otedola and Zenon a balance of almost $20 million for its shares, IICL triggered a dispute notice in a letter dated June 17, 2020, in which the firm made claims for breach of warranty pursuant to the share purchase agreement (SPA) entered on Dec. 20, 2018.

The disagreement notice asserted that Zenon broke specific promises under the SPA, and as a result, the purchaser lodged the applicable claims against Zenon.

In accordance with the SPA, the parties agreed to meet to resolve Ignite’s asserted claims. This proved unsuccessful, so Ignite filed a claim at the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) on Dec. 18, 2020.

Zenon subsequently responded to the claim and filed a counter-suit against Ignite.

The LCIA then established a tribunal of three arbitrators, Messrs Alain Choo Choy QC (Presiding Arbitrator), Oba Nsugbe QC SAN, and Segun Osuntokun.

The tribunal heard the case from Dec. 6 to 9, 2021, during which all parties presented their cases and cross-examined individual witnesses from both parties.

According to a report by Leadership newspaper, “the arbitration ruled in favor of Otedola with the award of $19 million against Sowami.”

Wasiu has since completed the payment of the arbitrary award, net of certain deductions ahead of the June 2023 deadline, thus completing the acquisition,” the report said.

Ignite Investments and Commercial Limited in the 2021 financial year owned 970,666,694 shares  in Ardova PLC, amounting to a shareholding of 74.06 percent.

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