Foreign investor divests from Julius Berger Nigeria

Bilfinger SE, the majority core investor in Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, would sell its entire equity stake in the Nigerian company this month, it was learnt yesterday.

A regulatory filing obtained yesterday by The Nation indicated that Bilfinger SE, which holds 33.4 per cent in Julius Berger Nigeria, has decided to sell its equity stake and exit the company.

Bilfinger SE has already informed the Nigerian directors of Julius Berger Nigeria of the decision to dispose the equity stake on or before the end of this month.

The equity sale, according to the emerging details, will be offered to long-term Nigerian investors and will lead to the exit of the representative of Bilfinger SE from the board of Julius Berger Nigeria.

The equity sale might not be unconnected with Bilfinger’s strategic realignment from a construction company to an engineering and services group in the last decade which saw Bilfinger SE divesting totally from its construction activities.

Julius Berger Nigeria, in a confirmation, the board and management of Julius Berger Nigeria yesterday said they strongly believed that the exit of Bilfinger SE will not impact negatively on the company.

According to the company, ongoing strategic business directions being undertaken by the board and management would sustain and increase Julius Berger Nigeria’s efficiency and responsiveness as well as set basis for a future of long lasting success.

In 2011, Bilfinger, which then held 49.87 per cent equity stake in Julius Berger Nigeria, had sold down its equity stake. Julius Berger Nigeria then had 1.2 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each with market capitalisation of N56.59 billion out of which Bilfinger Berger held 598.4 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each. Other substantial shareholders in Julius Berger Nigeria included the Lagos State and Benue State, which hold 6.99 per cent and 5.27 per cent respectively through their investment companies.

In order to strengthen its corporate independence, Julius Berger Nigeria had enhanced its on shore and off shore technical and logistic capacities by the establishment of a newly incorporated subsidiary, Prime Technology Design and Engineering Nigeria Limited for the provisions of design and engineering support services to the company.

The company also acquired a controlling majority share of the technical and logistic business and operations of Bilfinger Berger Nigeria GmbH, Wiesbaden, Germany, which assures Julius Berger Nigeria Plc of total control of all required services such as planning, procurement, recruitment and capacity building.

The share price of Julius Berger Nigeria remained unchanged at N52.39 per share.

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