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NEWS - AMERICAS Sunoco shares soar after sale of c-stores to 7-Eleven Sunoco stocks skyrocketed after the US fuel retailer announced it would divest most of its convenience stores to 7-Eleven in a deal worth $3.3 billion. Sunoco have announced a definite asset purchase agreement with 7-Eleven for 1,110 Sunoco convenience stores in 19 geographic regions. The stores, which include gas stations and attached convenience stores geared toward motorists, will sell Sunoco fuel as part of a 15-year take-or-pay fuel supply agreement. The stores will retain the Sunoco brand. The convenience store is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based retail conglomerate Seven & I Holdings, with subsidiaries that include convenience stores, restaurants, supermarkets, and banks. Sunoco, a downstream petroleum distributor, sells gasoline through more than 4,900 retail outlets and is considered a ‘pure play’ company that focuses exclusively on a single industry or product, in this case selling petroleum. Strong convenience store sales in US to continue A combination of low gas prices, strong consumer confidence and warmer weather is expected to continue the year’s already strong sales at convenience stores into the second quarter of 2017, according to the results of a survey of convenience store owners conducted by NACS. A sizable percentage of retailers surveyed say that low gas prices have grown sales in 2017: 47% say that low gas prices helped grow instore sales and 42% say that low gas prices grew fuel sales over the first three months of the year. Convenience stores sell 80% of the fuel purchased in the US. A full 80% of convenience retailers expect in-store sales to increase this summer compared to last year, and 57% expect their fuel sales to increase compared to last summer. Approximately three in four retailers are optimistic about the economy (76%), the convenience store industry (73%) and their own business prospects (73%) over the next three months. This retailer optimism mirrors consumer optimism. A record 61% of consumers said they were optimistic about the economy, according to the NACS Consumer Fuels Survey conducted in March 2017. Total sells its fuel stations in Costa Rica to Panama’s Delta Panama’ Delta has said it has acquired Total’s Costa Rica fuel stations. According to the information provided by Delta, the purchase involves 19 gasoline stations across the country for an undisclosed fee. Total Petróleo Costa Rica was wholly owned by Total, headquartered in France. “After several years of presence in Costa Rica, we concluded that it would be difficult to achieve significant market share in fuel distribution. However, we will maintain our presence in the distribution of special fluids and lubricants through a distributor and in Delta service,” said Isabelle Gaildraud, Total Senior Vice President for the Americas. With the acquisition, Delta’s number of gasoline stations increases from 33 to 52. In Panama the Delta operates 186 stations. “This acquisition allows us to bring the same experience of attention and service to other corners of this beautiful country, replicating the formula of success that we have developed, through listening and understanding our client,” explained Augusto Gerbaud, general manager of Petróleos Delta . While Petróleos Delta is a Panamanian company created in 1983 with the acquisition of Gulf operations in Panama, in Costa Rica, it has been present since 2010 when it absorbed Shell’s service stations. The sale of service stations in the country, despite not occurring frequently, has happened in the country on several occasions. One of the most recent was in 2014 when Uno Costa Rica, the oil division of the Honduran Grupo Terra, bought seven pumps operated by Costa Rican Grupo Colono. Three years earlier, the Honduran company took over the 14 stations operated by Vitogaz S.A., a subsidiary of the French Rubis, under the Texaco brand. Shell receives bids for downstream assets in Argentina Royal Dutch Shell this month received bids for its downstream assets in Argentina, where the Anglo-Dutch super-major intends to focus on shale development. The company declined to name which firms were looking to buy its oil refinery and network of service stations, though reports last week said state-run YPF was a contender. Another firm rumoured to be in the running is Pluspetrol, a local oil producer that would use the acquisition to expand into the downstream business. Shell has said it wants to sell the downstream assets for up to US$1 billion, part of a wider divestment plan to sell off US$30 billion in assets worldwide to cover its purchase of BG Group. The assets include 113,000 bpd oil refinery in Dock Sud, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, and 630 service stations. YPF’s rumoured bid has already come under scrutiny. The firm currently control 55% of the downstream market in Argentina, meaning its purchase of Shell’s 14% market share would likely attract the attention of the country’s authorities. CANADA’s Loblaw to sell fuel stations business for $400m Loblaw Companies Ltd. has agreed to sell its network of Canadian gas stations to the private equity arm of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. for $402 million. Brookfield also entered into an agreement with Imperial Oil Ltd. to rename the 213 stations using the Mobil fuel brand, marking the introduction of the brand into Canada. Imperial is the Canadian unit of Exxon Mobil Corp.“Our investment in Loblaw’s leading portfolio of gas stations presents an opportunity to own a business with significant scale, strong customer loyalty, and compelling opportunities for further growth,” said Cyrus Madon, Chief Executive Officer of Brookfield Business Partners. Loblaw said it would use the proceeds for general purposes, and that customers would be able to continue to use their PC Plus loyalty program at the stations. The transaction is expected to close in Q3. Vancouver MAY SOON BE without a downtown fuel station Vancouver’s second-last downtown gas station has sold to a development company for a bargain price of $72 million and now its last fuel centre is on the market. The city’s skyline continues to expand, and may do so at the expense of commuters or visitors in and around the downtown core due to an increased inaccessibility of fuel. However, this surplus of earnings may prove valuable to land owners. “Unlike real estate, pumping gasoline is not a very high margin business,” said Tsur Somerville, director of the University of British Columbia Centre for Urban Economics. If the sale of the Esso station goes through, Vancouver would become the first big city in the country to have no gas stations downtown. A similar trend has hit the condo-dense San Francisco. Local media outlet ABC 7 reported there are 40 per cent less gas pumps in the city than there were 10 years prior, with many shutting down to make room for parking lots or housing. While this new move could leave drivers running on empty in Vancouver, it’s part of a trend the New York Times first pointed out back in 2007. Then, the paper chronicled the decrease in gas stations from within New York’s five boroughs. 12 erpecnews is published by McLean Events, Conferences and Media Ltd.


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