Commodities trader Vitol has signed an agreement to buy shares in Vivo Energy , a UK-based fuel distributor with a focus on Africa, for approximately $2.3bn. These shares will be in addition to the 36% stake already owned by Vitol.

Vivo Energy has operations in 23 countries across Africa.

It distributes and sells Shell and Engen-branded fuels and lubricants through its network of more than 2,400 service stations.

The acquisition is expected to strengthen Vitol’s fuel distribution network in Africa.

Under the terms of the deal, Vitol will pay $1.79 in cash and $0.06 as interim and special dividends to the new Vivo shareholders.

Vitol origination head Chris Bake said: “Since we founded Vivo with Helios and Shell, we have believed in the business’ potential and we are excited to have it within the Vitol family, as a pillar of our strategy in Africa. We are pleased that both Helios and the Independent Vivo Directors support our proposal.

“We very much look forward to working with management on this next phase of growth and we thank Helios for their support and collaboration over the last ten years.”

The deal is supported by Vivo’s second largest shareholder and co-founder Helios Investment Partners.

Earlier this year,  Vitol received an oil shipment from Russia’s Rosneft as part of a long-term supply deal signed in September 2021 between the two companies.

In a separate development, British firm Serica Energy started production from the Columbus field in the Central North Sea.

Production streams from the Columbus field and the Arran field are being exported for processing to the Shearwater platform.

Serica Energy CEO Mitch Flegg said: “This marks a significand milestone for Serica as it reaches the successful conclusion of its first development project. The company was involved in the discovery of Columbus and has acted as operator through the appraisal and development phases and now into operations.”