The Canadian convenience store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard has withdrawn from the competition to buy the Australian fuel retailer and refiner Caltex Australia, but there has been no update from Euro Garages parent EG Group, which has made a rival bid.
In a statement, Alimentation Couche-Tard said it was withdrawing its A$8.8bn (£4.5bn) offer due to the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Couche-Tard chief executive officer Brian Hannasch said: “We remain convinced of the long-term financial and strategic merits of an acquisition of Caltex and all the benefits it would offer to the shareholders of both companies.
“Our current plan would be to re-engage the process once there is sufficient clarity as to the global outlook, and the work done to date should mean that we will be able to quickly formalise our proposal at that time.”
In February EG Group offered to pay A$3.9 bn (£2bn) in cash for Caltex’s retail outlets along with shares in a new listed company made up of the remaining fuel refining operations. However, Caltex’s board rejected EG’s bid a month later.
Caltex Australia, which has a network of about 2,000 retail fuel sites, hasn’t received any updates since then., Its interim chief executive officer Matthew Halliday said: “It’s fair to say everyone is focused on managing their way through the current situation.
“EG remains a very significant customer of ours, so we talk to EG all the time but no meaningful update from a transactional point of view.”
The 380 Euro Garages sites in the UK are part of an international portfolio of more than 5,600 EG Group sites in Europe, Australia and the US, where it has just shy of 1,700 sites.
Alimentation Couche-Tard has 15,000 stores across Canada, the US, Europe, Mexico, Japan, China, and Indonesia, including a presence in Northern Ireland and Irish Republic through its 410 Circle K sites.