Caltex makes bid to enter fuel retail market

Caltex plans to purchase 302 Mobil service station to establish itself in the retail fuel market

Caltex Australia has announced plans to purchase 302 Mobil service station sites in a bid to establish itself in the retail fuel market.

The $300 million deal would include sites throughout the east coast and is subject to an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) review.

"Today Caltex is primarily a wholesaler of fuel but a relatively small player in the retail fuel market when compared with Coles Express, Woolworths and BP," Caltex Managing Director and Chief Executive Des King says.

"This acquisition will allow us to better compete in the retail fuel market with these major players."

Woolworths, whose retail fuel outlets are currently supplied by Caltex, says the acquisition has nothing to do with it.

"Woolworths and Caltex have 113 alliance sites governed by contractual obligations that are co-branded but owned by Caltex or their franchises," a statement released by the company says.

"Woolworths Limited is not a party to and has no involvement in the proposed transaction between Caltex and Mobil."

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has expressed concerns over the possible buyout and says it could mean an increase in petrol prices.

"Such a substantial purchase of 302 service station sites around the country clearly has the potential to concentrate ownership with a few companies, leading to fewer outlets, a lessening of competition and increased prices," AAA Executive Director Mike Harris says.

"AAA and our Constituent clubs would like to see the ACCC look at the Caltex purchase in the interests of Australian motorists and to confirm there will not be a decrease in outlets and competition."

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