Imperial Oil begins to accept proposals for Esso stations-sources

Fri May 15, 2015 4:01pm EDT
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By John Tilak, Euan Rocha and Scott Haggett

TORONTO/CALGARY May 15 (Reuters) - Imperial Oil, Canada's No. 2 integrated oil producer and refiner, is moving forward on plans to sell some 500 of its remaining company-owned Esso retail sites and has begun to accept proposals from interested bidders, according to four sources familiar with the process.

In January Imperial, majority-owned by Exxon Mobil, said it was evaluating selling its remaining company-owned Esso stations in Canada. [IDn:nL1N0V733J]

Some 1,200 of Imperial's 1,700 Esso-branded sites operate under a wholesaler model, where the stations are owned by other parties but supplied by Imperial and retain the Esso brand.

Parties interested in the assets include Parkland Fuel Corp , Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc and CST Brands Inc, said the sources, who asked not to be named as they have not been cleared to discuss the matter publicly.

All three companies, some of the largest gas station operators in Canada, already operate Esso-branded stations in the country.

Local real estate developers, along with some private equity buyers, are also showing interest in the gas stations, said two of the sources.

Imperial declined to comment on details of the sale process. Parkland, CST and Couche-Tard were not immediately available for comment.

Imperial has broken up the 500 stations into a number of packages, split geographically, the sources said, adding that interested parties can bid on one, several or the whole. It is not clear which parties have bid on the portfolio as a whole or on individual packages.   Continued...