The billionaire chairman of Forte Oil Plc, Femi Otedola, is set to sell all of his 75% shares in the company's downstream business as he seeks to focus on refining and petrochemicals.

In a corporate filing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange by Forte Oil's General Counsel, Akinleye Olagbende, on Monday, December 24, 2018, he disclosed that the company's majority shareholder has decided to bow out.

The statement read, "Forte Oil Plc hereby notifies the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Securities and Exchange Commission, shareholders and the investing community that its majority shareholder, Mr Femi Otedola, has reached an agreement with the Prudent Energy team, investing through Ignite Investments and Commodities Limited, to divest of his full 75 per cent direct and indirect shareholding in the company’s downstream business.

"Mr Otedola's divestment from the downstream business is pursuant to his decision to explore and maximise business opportunities in refining and petrochemicals."

Olagbende said the notification was not intended to constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any of the firms's ordinary shares or any other securities in any state or jurisdiction.

He disclosed that Standard Chartered Bank, Corporate Finance & Advisory, Dubai, and Olaniwun Ajayi LP served as financial and legal advisers respectively to Otedola in the divestment of the shares to Ignite Investments and Commodities Limited. PricewaterhouseCoopers and Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited served as joint financial advisors and Sefton Fross served as legal advisor to Ignite.

According to Forte Oil's statement, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019 subject to the satisfaction of various conditions and receipt of applicable regulatory approvals.

Otedola's exit comes only three years after the company sold 17% of its equity to Mercuria Energy Group Holdings SA, a Swiss oil trading firm.