Caltex ditches bid for Mobil fuel stations

Caltex abandons its bid to buy 302 Mobil service stations after failing to get approval from the ACCC

April 30, 2010

Fuel manufacturer Caltex has shelved its bid for Mobile service stations after failing to get approval from competition regulators.

The company on May 26 last year agreed with Mobil to buy 302 of its service stations across Australia.

But the agreement was scuttled by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which refused to support it.

Caltex disputed the claims the purchase would lead to a drop in competition and had planned to contest the ACCC.

"The parties have now agreed they will not proceed with the current proposal. However, Caltex will continue to explore opportunities to grow its business," a statement from the company says.

The ACCC last year claimed it identified 52 of the 302 sites that if taken over would reduce competition for fuel supply.

"The acquisition of these sites by Caltex would be likely to lead to reduced retail competition resulting in higher fuel prices for consumers," ACCC Chairman Graeme Samuel says.

"The proposed acquisition would give Caltex a significant share of retail sites in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide."

Mobil is expected to pull out of the Australian market in the next two to three years, and the ACCC says it is best if the sites are purchased by retailers with a greater ability to offer discounts unlike major companies.

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