Commission grants approval for England-based Prax to acquire Natref

Natref refinery

Natref refinery

Photo by Creamer Media

30th May 2024

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online


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The Competition Commission has conditionally approved a proposed transaction between Prax South Africa and the National Petroleum Refiners of South Africa (Natref), whereby the former intends to acquire the latter.

Prax is ultimately controlled by a firm incorporated in England called State Oil Limited, which is, in turn, controlled by Prax Group Holdings, which is also based in England.

Prax is involved in the production, supply, storage, refining and distribution of crude oil, petroleum products and biofuels in the UK, with the acquisition of Natref marking its first operation in South Africa.

Natref is jointly controlled by Sasol and TotalEnergies Marketing South Africa and is also involved in the refining of petroleum feedstock to finished and unfinished petroleum and petrochemical products. It owns a 108 500 bl/d refinery in Sasolburg. 

The processed products are typically handed back to Sasol and TotalEnergies and, as such, Natref does not own the products or deal with customers.

The commission requires that Prax conclude a substantial transaction with historically disadvantaged persons following the merger implementation date.

Prax views the acquisition of Natref as its entrance into the South African market and a next step in its international growth strategy.

Prax has already committed a significant amount of capital expenditure to support Natref’s operational requirements over a period of at least five years. It also plans to improve the refinery’s competitive position through future strategic investment.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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