* Private firms seen replacing majors in African fuels
* Follows AOG’s plan to invest $400 million
GENEVA, March 20 (Reuters) - Addax & Oryx Group (AOG) said it has agreed to buy BP and Masana Petroleum Solution’s liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distribution business in South Africa as it seeks a bigger stake in the booming African fuels market.
Oryx Energies, the downstream branch of AOG chaired by billionaire Jean Claude Gandur, said on Wednesday it expected to finalise the deal in the third quarter of 2013.
The BP and Masana businesses in South Africa generate annual sales of around 60,000 tonnes of LPG -- a product used for heating and cooking.
The value of the sale was not disclosed.
Gandur said in February that the group planned to invest $400 million in Africa’s energy sector over the next five years after talks to sell its trading and downstream assets fell through last year.
“This is an important step in the roll out of our regional LPG strategy,” Gandur said in the emailed statement.
Private trading houses such as Trafigura and Vitol have also sought to expand their network of downstream African assets in recent years by purchasing assets from oil majors.
Ecobank Research projects African fuel demand to rise by 40 percent to 4.3 million barrels per day in 2020.
AOG, which has offices in Geneva, also has businesses in the upstream oil sector and real estate.