Agreement to sell 201 sites to three Top 50 independent retailers has been confirmed by Esso Petroleum Company and ROC UK (ExxonMobil).
The long-awaited decision, following a strict bidding process, means Euro Garages Ltd has taken the lion’s share with 104 sites; followed by MRH (GB) Ltd with 78; and Rontec Investments LLP with 19.
Esso announced it would be selling off its final tranche of company owned sites – excluding the 200 Tesco joint venture sites – more than a year ago. It completes a series of site sales which began in 2012 when MRH acquired 31 Scottish sites; with 43 sites in the North East and North Wales going to Euro Garages.
Euro Garages was also successful in the second phase of sell-offs announced in January 2014, when it acquired 48 sites in the Midlands and Eastern England; while Rontec bought 36 sites in South Wales and South West England.
A spokesman for Esso said the latest agreements related to service stations in the south and south east of England, and will include a long-term branded fuel supply agreement.
“ExxonMobil will continue to serve the retail market in this region with Euro Garages, MRH and Rontec supplying Esso-branded fuels to their respective sites.
“Euro Garages, MRH and Rontec will purchase Esso fuels at the terminal rack and deliver to Esso-branded service stations in their respective networks.
“Consumers will still be able to buy high quality Esso-branded fuel, use their Esso cards and buy Mobil-branded lubricants at these sites. They can expect the same buying experience at sites operated by Euro Garages, MRH and Rontec under the Esso brand, and Clubcard points will be awarded in the same way.
“Following previous branded fuel supply agreements, the number of Esso-branded sites in the UK is growing and there are now more than 1,000 Esso-branded sites in the country.”
John Lynn, managing director of MRH, said: “We are delighted with the deal. We have got exactly the regions – South East and East Anglia – that we wanted. Also these are top quality sites. Because Esso was selling off all its sites it was not a case of an oil company just disposing of its poorest sites.
“We will look forward to integrating the sites over the coming months and investing in them, and we will seek to replicate the successful of the integration of the Esso sites in Scotland, which we bought in 2012.”
Shell is currently seeking to sell around 200 of its sites, but when asked about this sale Lynn said that for the rest of this year MRH would be focusing on the integration of the Esso sites into its network.
PRA director Brian Madderson said: “This is another bold step forward for the major independent groups, and a particularly significant outcome for Euro Garages which will further consolidate its position close to the top of the Top 50 Indies league table; although MRH, with its additional 78 sites, remains the clear leader with around 463 sites.”