In the judgment delivered on October 7, the tribunal ruled in favour of Zenon in three out of the four claims and ordered that Ignite make the SPA agreed payments less the amount awarded for one of the claims.
Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited has won an arbitration case instituted by Ignite Investment Limited in the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) over the share purchase agreement (SPA) reached on the sale of Forte Oil Plc to the latter.
Precisely, Zenon Petroleum was awarded $19.2 million by the LCIA in the dispute.
With the award in favour of Zenon, it was expected that all due payments would be made by Ignite in compliance with the award.
In June 2019, Zenon Petroleum had completed the sale of 74.02 per cent shares of Forte Oil Plc to Ignite Investments (Ignite).
Thereafter, Ignite triggered a dispute notice via a letter dated June 17, 2020, wherein the company had alleged claims for a breach of warranty relating to the SPA executed on the 20th of December 2018.
In the main, the dispute notice had alleged that Zenon breached certain warranties under the SPA, in consequence of which, the purchaser made the relevant claims against Zenon.
In line with the SPA, the parties agreed to meet with the intention to find a solution to the alleged claims by Ignite. This was not successful, following which Ignite filed a claim at the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) on the 18th of December 2020.
Zenon then filed its response to the claim and counter-claimed against Ignite.
A tribunal was then appointed by the LCIA consisting of three arbitrators namely Messrs Alain Choo Choy QC (Presiding Arbitrator), Oba Nsugbe QC SAN and Segun Osuntokun.
The tribunal held the hearing of the matter on the 6th to the 9th of December, 2021, wherein all parties presented their case and cross-examined individual witnesses from both parties.
The tribunal then informed all parties that its decision would be given in May 2022.
However, due to the large caseload of the tribunal members, the judgement of the panel was delayed beyond the earlier stated date of May 2022.
Finally, October 7, the tribunal delivered its judgement in the case and awarded in favour of Zenon, three of the four claims and ordered that the Ignite make the SPA agreed payments less the amount awarded for one of the claims.
“With the award in favour of Zenon, it is expected that all due payments will be made by Ignite in compliance with the award.
“You may recall that in accordance with the SPA, there were amounts due to Zenon of which a request was made to Ignite. Following this request, on the 9th of August 2022, Ignite filed a case in court for an injunction estopping Zenon from claiming for the due payment.
“Upon which, Zenon filed for the winding up of Ignite due to the unpaid liability in August 2022,” a statement explained.
An insider source revealed that Zenon Petroleum had asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to wind up Prudent Energy and Services Limited, which was the parent company of Ardova Plc over the inability of the company to pay a $6 million.
Alhaji AbdulWasiu Sowami is the Chief Executive Officer of Prudent Energy and Services Limited.
In the suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos, with No. FHC/L/CP/1450/2022, the debt was then alleged to have arisen from the sale conducted in 2018, where Zenon Petroleum & Gas Limited and its affiliates had sold 74.02 per cent of the issued share capital of Forte Oil Plc (now Ardova Plc to Sowami and Ignite Investment.
It had stated that as security for the deferred consideration for the sale of the shares, Prudent Energy and Services Limited and Sowami had provided a guarantee in favor of Zenon Petroleum & Gas Limited and its affiliates for the prompt payment of the deferred consideration as at when due.
In the petition, Zenon Petroleum & Gas Limited had alleged that the sum of $6 million being part of the deferred consideration became due on June 18, 2022, and despite the demand letters served on Prudent Energy and Services Limited and its CEO, the debt was not paid.
Zenon Petroleum & Gas Limited had therefore urged the court to wind up Prudent Energy and Services Limited on the ground of inability to pay its debts.