Vivo heads for FTSE 250 exit with £1.7bn takeover
Graeme Evans @EvansOnTheMoney
AFRICA’S Vivo Energy, which joined the London stock market amid much fanfare in 2018, today moved towards the exit after backing a £1.7 billion takeover. The FTSE 250-listed business, which sells Shell-branded fuels and lubricants at more than 2400 filling stations, was initially valued at £2 billion following the UK’s largest flotation of an African company for a decade. The 2018 listing made Vivo the first debutant from the London Stock Exchange’s Companies to Inspire Africa report, highlighting the City’s potential as a funding partner to African issuers. Today it emerged Vivo’s stock market stay is coming to an end after energy trader Vitol got the board’s backing for a takeover at a 25% premium. Vitol, which is the company’s biggest shareholder having set up Vivo with Shell and private equity partner Helios in 2011, made its first takeover approach in February. AJ Bell’s investment director Russ Mould said: “The Vivo story, running the distribution and marketing of Shell and Engen petroleum products across Africa, just never really gained traction.” Vivo’s shares rose 21.4p to 132.8p in a session when the FTSE 250 index climbed 68.32 points to 23,235.04. The FTSE 100 index stood 12.77 points higher at 7298.79 as European markets made progress despite ongoing worries over further Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. Traders raised a toast to Remy Cointreau after it upped its financial guidance on the back of strong sales in China and the US, sending its shares 10% higher in Paris. The better-than-expected update triggered buying of shares of London-listed Diageo, with the Smirnoff maker trading 25p higher at 3,900p. In a session when volumes were light due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, there were gains of more than 1% for Tesla and Alibaba backer Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust and the cyber security firm Darktrace.