Imperial mulls sale of nearly 500 Esso-branded gas stations

Wed Jan 28, 2015 6:29pm EST
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By Nia Williams

CALGARY, Alberta Jan 28 (Reuters) - Canada's No. 2 integrated oil producer and refiner Imperial Oil Ltd said on Wednesday it is considering selling 475 company-owned Esso gas stations.

The rest of the company's 1700 Esso-branded retail fuel sites in Canada are already owned and operated by third parties, in what the company describes as the "branded wholesaler model".

Imperial, 69.6 percent owned by Exxon Mobil Corp, would continue to supply fuel to the gas stations, and they would keep the Esso logo.

Brad Merkel, Imperial vice president of fuels and lubricants, said the potential sale was something the company had started evaluating over a year ago, and had nothing to do with falling oil prices.

Merkel said it was too early to estimate how much capital the sale would raise if Imperial chooses to go ahead with its plan.

A non-binding bid process for prospective buyers will begin in coming weeks. (Editing by Diane Craft)