The Seapoint Filling Station at Hythe, Kent, which MFG is selling to resolve competition concerns over its acquisition of Murco’s retail business, provides buyers with a rare opportunity, according to the property adviser working on the sale.
Adam Wadlow, director of Barber Wadlow, said: “For a single site in the South East to become available is quite a rare opportunity. When sites do become available in the South East it is usually as part of larger oil company disposals.
“Another notable factor is that it is sold free of tie, which means the buyer will be able to look around for an attractive supply deal for both their fuel and the shop. When buying a site from an oil company there will generally be a less favourable five-year supply agreement involved.”
Wadlow said he believed there was scope to improve the shop offer on the site as the current shop was an old-style Costcutter and it had no branded coffee. He added there was plenty of potential for ”walk-on” custom as it is in a mainly residential area and is in a prime position to serve the needs of holiday makers on the adjacent beach.
He said the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had been very fair in the time they had allowed for the sale and the March 6 deadline for bids was a usual timescale for such a deal.
Before Christmas the CMA raised concerns about the MFG/Murco deal because it would mean MFG would own both the petrol stations in Hythe, and this could result in a lessening of competition for consumers in the area. But it added that a full competition inquiry could be averted if MFG came up with a strategy to tackle the problem.
MFG proposed the sale of the freehold of Seapoint Filling Station, and the CMA said it believed this action would satisfy its competition concerns, but before reaching a decision on whether to accept the proposed undertaking, it was inviting interested parties to make their views known. The deadline for responses is 5pm on 5 February 2015.
MFG acquired 228 Murco branded petrol stations and 226 fuel supply contracts for independent dealers from Murco in October. Pre-acquisition, MFG owned and operated 60 petrol stations in the UK under the BP, Jet, and Total brands.