Billionaire Jean Claude Gandur is reportedly close to finalizing a deal to sell the African oil trading and distribution assets of his Addax Oryx Group to private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners.Trade with SpeedTrader for $.39/100 shares. Powerful online trading platform. Free demo and unlimited shares!
Gandur has a long history in Africa, and over two decades AOG has built up a network of oil storage terminals and fuel distribution services that stretch across 21 countries including Nigeria and Tanzania. Emerging Capital Partners, a Washington, D.C.-based group with more than $1 billion invested in Africa, reportedly beat out a shortlist of big oil traders including Vitol and Trafigura. Emerging Capital Partners is also an investor in Nigerian oil company Oando. The AO assets are said to be worth between $250 million and $500 million.
Gandur in 2009 sold the publicly traded Addax Petroleum to China’s Sinopec Group for $7.2 billion. Addax Petroleum focused on Nigeria and also had an oilfield in northern Iraq. Gandur’s personal take of that deal came to $1.5 billion.
As he owns roughly one-third of Addax Oryx Group, Gandur stands to make another $150 million or so on the pending deal. The deal will exclude Addax Bioenergy, a sugarcane plantation and ethanol refinery under development in Sierra Leone.
We estimate Gandur’s fortune at $2 billion. What’s he doing with the cash? Since the noncompete agreement Gandur made with Sinopec at the time of the Addax Petroleum sale expired last year, Gandur has been moving back into the oil exploration business with newly formed Oryx Petroleum. Oryx unsuccessfully bid on some Nigerian offshore fields that Royal Dutch Shell divested, losing out to Nigerian billionaire Mike Adenuga‘s Conoil.
Oryx has had better luck in northern Iraq, with production sharing contracts on the Hawler and Sindi Amedi blocks. Gandur’s got some good company in the Kurdish region. One of Gandur’s new partners there is Norbest, a unit of Alpha Access Renova, which is controlled by Russian oligarchs Victor Vekselberg, Mikhail Fridman and Leonard Blavatnik.
Other billionaires with interests in Iraq’s Kurdish region include Ray Lee Hunt with Hunt Oil and H. Ross Perot, Jr. with Hillwood International Energy.
A former partner of Addax Petroleum, Turkish billionaire Mehmet Emin Karamehmet’s Genel Enerji, was acquired last year by Vallares, the new holding company run by ex-BP CEO Tony Hayward and backed by Nathaniel Rothschild.
Since dealing Addax to Sinopec, Gandur has also taken some time to enjoy his collections of art and antiquities. He began his collection of Egyptian artifacts at age 9, and now has one of the best private collections in the world. Last year Gandur’s art foundation donated $45 million to Geneva’s museum of art and history to build an extension designed by Jean Nouvel to house his collection. (If you happen to be in St. Petersburg, Florida in the next few weeks, you can catch 100 of his best pieces at the Museum of Fine Arts.)
Gandur developed his passion for Egyptian antiquities growing up in Alexandria, Egypt, where his Russian/Italian/Swiss family lived when he was a boy. According to a biographical sketch released by his foundation,
Gandur acquired his great passion for Egyptian antiquities as a boy during a trip to the archaeological digs at Saqqara with his class from the Swiss school in Alexandria. The first object that he owned and that opened his eyes to the beauty of ancient art was a small, early Christian oil lamp that he was given as a present by his grandmother when he was nine. The passion that developed during his early childhood years has remained with him. As an adolescent, he saved up his pocket money to buy Egyptian ceramics and throughout his life, all his spare money has gone to art, with his business success progressively giving him greater means to finance his passion. ‘