NEWS - EUROPE ExxonMobil looking to sell over 1000 fuel stations In Italy Exxon Mobil is seeking to sell half of its 2,500 petrol stations in Italy for up to €500m, several sources close to the process said. Exxon, through its local subsidiary Esso, is the latest oil company trying to reduce its exposure to Italy’s oversupplied petrol retail sector. Royal Dutch Shell exited last year and Total and Italian energy group Erg are nearing the sale of their joint venture. According to a number of banking sources, private equity firm Apollo is considering acquiring both the Esso and Total/Erg’s 2,600 stations to allow it to rationalise the portfolio and squeeze better profits. One of the banking sources said that other private equity groups, including Carlyle have shown interest in buying the Esso branded stations. Italy has around 21,000 service stations across the country, almost twice the number in France and almost three times that of Britain. Over the past two years, the government has been seeking to cut the number of stations to bring them into line with demand and make the industry more efficient. EC approves Slovenia’s Petrol acquisition of GEOPLIN New £300m London Taxi plant to make only EVs The London Taxi Company has opened a new £300 million car plant - the first to be dedicated to producing electric vehicles. The site in Ansty, Coventry, is the first vehicle manufacturing facility to be built in Britain for more than a decade. In 2013, the London Taxi Company faced administration before China’s Zhejing Geely Holding Group stepped in to rescue the firm. More than 1,000 jobs, including 200 engineers and 30 apprenticeships, have been created by the opening of the plant. The new electric taxi will go on sale in London towards the end of 2017, and then around the world in early 2018. The fully integrated factory will also become a globally connected research and development centre in electric vehicle powertrains and lightweight aluminium body structures, which will be applied in all vehicles made at the plant. London Taxi Company chairman Carl-Peter Forster said: “The opening of our new plant sets a number of records: it’s the first brand new automotive manufacturing facility in Britain for over a decade, the first dedicated electric vehicle factory in the UK, and the first major Chinese investment in UK automotive. “We are extremely proud of what we have achieved today, and we have firmly put our stake in the ground as a new, global automotive leader in urban commercial vehicles.” The West Midlands site has the capacity to build more than 20,000 vehicles a year - vehicles designed for, and dedicated to being ultra-low emission commercial vehicles. The European Commission said this month that it has approved the proposed acquisition of natural gas supplier Geoplin by energy group Petrol, both based in Slovenia. Following the Commission’s investigation, which focused on the markets for downstream wholesale supply of gas and retail supply of gas in Slovenia, it concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns. It said in a statement.” On the gas wholesale market, the Commission found, among other things, that the parties’ customers already source, or are planning to source, gas directly from the Central European Gas Hub located in Austria. In addition, there are no constraints on interconnection capacity between Slovenia and neighbouring Member States,” the Commission noted. In terms of the gas retail market, the Commission established that there are a number of alternative suppliers available to customers and that the transaction will have a limited impact on the retail gas supply market structure in Slovenia. Fuel tourism in Ireland costs UK Government £200m Motorists in Northern Ireland who cross the border for cheaper fuel are costing the UK Government £200.6m a year, a study commissioned by the Republic’s revenue commissioners has found. It said that filling stations just south of the border are booming - with pumps selling more than 50% more diesel than in filling stations of the same size in other parts of the Republic. It states this was because large numbers of Northern Ireland motorists are driving south to take advantage of cheaper fuel costs, especially for diesel cars. In all, motorists from Northern Ireland are contributing about £176m in excise duty, carbon tax and VAT on sales of diesel and a further £24.4m from petrol sales. The joint study by the Economic and Social Research Institute, Revenue and Trinity College Dublin said that the greater levels of southern diesel may partly be attributable to heavy goods vehicles and vans that buy cheaper fuel in the south before making long distance journeys to Britain and mainland Europe. Forecourt prices in the Republic for petrol averaged £1.13 per litre last year, 9.5p cheaper than in Northern Ireland, and diesel prices averaged 95p in the south, 27p lower. 6 erpecnews is published by McLean Events, Conferences and Media Ltd.
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