The tumultuous drama of the as yet unresolved takeover of Kenyan carbon dioxide company Carbacid Investment Ltd has continued to rumble on of late, as BOC Kenya has declined a request by some Carbacid shareholders to release the shares it currently holds.

BOC Kenya had recently indicated it wanted a swift end brought to the ongoing dispute it has with Capital Markets Authority (CMA), having suffered losses since being suspended from the Nairobi Stock Exchange in December 2005 on account of the intended takeover.

The company is now reported to have written to Carbacid Investment shareholder Chandulal Shah and his wife Shanteben, regretting the continued holding of their property and indicating that its hands were tied.

The 2 shareholders, who have since recruited another 11 to their cause, had said that the 2 years in which their shares were in the custody of BOC registrars had translated into massive opportunity cost.

The ill-fated merger is the subject of a Court of Appeal after the CMA disagreed with the Capital Markets Tribunal decision to let the deal proceed. The current situation does not seem to have discouraged BOC however, as the form remains resolute in its takeover aspirations.

BOC chairman JG Kibe noted in the letter to shareholders, “The fact that there has been a substantial delay is not a ground for treating the transaction as having come to an end. It has not; and if the appeal of the CMA is dismissed, then it is BOC Kenya’s intention to proceed with finalisation of the offer as authorised by Capital Markets Tribunal.”

The failure to conclude the proposed deal arose after the Kenneth Matiba family Alliance Nominees, who hold a 22% stake in Carbacid, refused to approve the process. Shareholder Chandulal Shah insists that the threshold of acceptance has to reduce to around 65% if gas companies are to circumvent the Matiba family hurdle.

“Should we wait indefinitely? The answer is definitely no,” says Shah.