Masawara Agrees in Principle to Buy Stake in BP, Shell Venture in Zimbabwe

Masawara Plc, an investment company controlled by Zimbabwean businessman Shingai Mutasa, said it agreed in principle to buy a stake in a joint venture in the African nation owned by BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Masawara’s purchase of the holding in BP and Shell Marketing Services (Private) Ltd., or BPSMS, is subject to regulatory approval, the Alternative Investment Market-listed company said in a stock-exchange filing today. BPSMS owns 73 retail sites and 10 storage depots that can hold 59.9 million liters (16 million gallons) of fuel in Zimbabwe, Masawara said.

Zimbabwe on March 25 blocked the sale of BPSMS to KenolKobil Ltd. of Kenya and Engen Ltd., the South African unit of Malaysia’s state-owned Petroliam Nasional Bhd., saying neither company had sufficient Zimbabwean shareholders. Under the country’s laws, black Zimbabweans should have a 51 percent stake in all companies.

“Following regulatory approval the full details of the investment will be announced to the market,” Masawara said. Mutasa owns 63 percent of Masawara according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Calls to Mutasa’s mobile phone weren’t immediately answered when Bloomberg News sought further comment today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Latham in Durban at blatham@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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