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BARBADOS - Ezine

Simpson Oil Limited (SOC), a local company headed by automobile magnate, Kyffin Simpson, is buying the operations of Shell Antilles and Guianas Limited

Shell Sold - Friday 05, November-2004


Kyffin Simpson: heads new Simpson Oil Limited.

by Roy R. Morris
This morning Barbadians will be informed of the biggest buy-out in local corporate history.

Simpson Oil Limited (SOC), a local company headed by automobile magnate, Kyffin Simpson, is buying the operations of Shell Antilles and Guianas Limited in more than a dozen Caribbean countries for approximately US$200 million.

SOL reportedly out-negotiated National Petroleum (NP) of Trinidad, and Total, a French company operating a major refinery in Martinique, to achieve the coup.

Simpson Oil Limited (SOC), a local company headed by automobile magnate, Kyffin Simpson, is buying the operations of Shell Antilles and Guianas Limited

Yesterday afternoon Shell staff were informed via a memo from management that the multi-national corporation would be holding simultaneous staff meetings at 9 a.m. today, and while the purpose was not disclosed, there was wide speculation that they would be officially informed for the first time of the sale.

However, WEEKEND NATION investigations revealed that the staff will be told that the parent company Royal Dutch/Shell Group, had earlier today signed a “sale and purchase agreement” that would give SOL possession of Shell’s retail and commercial fuels business in Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, Anguilla, Guyana, Suriname, Belize, St Kitts/Nevis, St Vincent, Grenada, British Virgin Islands, Netherlands Antilles and Dominica.

It will cover more than 100 gas stations across the region as well as nearly three dozen distribution depots.

According to sources, one of the highlights of the agreement is that SOL will continue to use the Shell name and logo in its operations under a trademark licence agreement, and act as the only distributor of Shell fuels and lubricants in the region.

It was also revealed that under the agreement SOL would take over all existing staff, commercial contracts and “associated obligations”.

Meanwhile, the Shell international operation will continue business in the region through its Shell Western Supply and Trading Limited (Shell West) from the current Wildey, St Michael location. According to one source, Shell West is the largest energy trader in the Caribbean.

Gas station operators across the region using the Shell logo, it was revealed last night, can expect “a new and dynamic management team” to work with them in the near future on the introduction of new products and services and a major improvement in the standard of customer service.

Up to late last night, lawyers were still putting the finishing touches in the documents with the aim of having them ready for signing this morning, but because of the scope of the deal the whole process, including regulatory approval in the various territories, was not expected to be fully completed before yearend.

SOL is the petroleum arm of the International Trading Corporation (ITC), described as a Caribbean-based international conglomerate with automotive, telecommunications and banking interests in 32 countries across Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States and Europe. It employs over 400 people and is responsible for the distribution and marketing of vehicles from Porsche, Daimler-Chrysler, General Motors, Skoda and Suzuki.

While Simpson Oil will become a major player in the regional petroleum business, its original plan to construct and operate more than a dozen self-service gas stations across Barbados was shelved partly because its introduction could have caused hundreds of job losses as a result of other dealers trimming their staff at full-service stations in order to compete.

“My understanding is that there were serious concerns within the Prime Minister’s Office about this possible development,” one industry source said.

roymorris@nationnews.com

Compliments of Nation News


 

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