Family-run Scottish fuel distributor Gleaner Oils has been put up for sale by its owners, who want to retire from the business.

Gleaner Oils, which also owns the country’s most northerly service station at Skiach in Ross-shire, last year turned over £122.3m and employs a total of 181 staff in Scotland. The distributor has 11 depots in the North East, Highlands and Islands, Argyll and Fife.

Shareholder Brian Young and chairman Billy Laing have said the sale is likely to spark interest not only among competitors either looking to expand into Scotland or enhance their current position, but also new players looking for the infrastructure to enter the market.

Gleaner was founded by the Young family in 1954. The business previously formed part of the UK Shell Distributor Framework in Scotland supplying the Highlands and Islands and Argyll, but has recently increased its supplier base allowing possible expansion south into new markets.

Laing, who has been with the company since 1961, said: “We are in a very strong financial position and the break up of the Shell Distributor Framework means the company is well placed to grow and enter new markets in the South of Scotland and into the North of England. We are no longer restricted to just Shell products.

“We have enjoyed consistent growth over the years and are strategically very well placed to take advantage of new opportunities, Laing added. “We supply a wide range of fuel products across different markets including agricultural, domestic, industrial, marine and petrol stations and have a customer base of around 16,000. We are keeping staff fully informed as the process develops and have also spoken to union representatives and customers. We will be as transparent as possible throughout the sale process with all interested parties.”

The sale is being handled by French Duncan Corporate Advisory. Director Harry Linklater said: “This is a very well run and profitable company offering significant opportunities to a new owner wishing to invest into the strong assets and market position of Gleaner. There is also great potential of continued growth into new markets.”