British Petroleum (BP) has agreed to sell, subject to the necessary regulatory approvals, its retail network of 70 service stations and other inland fuels businesses in the Republic of Cyprus to Hellenic Petroleum. The net value of the assets involved in the sale was £14 million ($21.6 million) as of December 2001.
The sale excludes BP's international businesses Air BP and BP Marine, and BP Lubricants. The decision to sell is the result of BP's ongoing review of its global portfolio which concluded that the retail and other inland fuels businesses in Cyprus would have more longer term value to a company wishing to establish a significant position in the Cyprus fuels market, and as a platform for regional expansion. Financial details of the sale are not being disclosed.
Hellenic Petroleum is 67.8 percent owned by the Greek state and is the largest Greek Refiner, owning 50 percent of Greece's refining capacity through two refineries, Aspropyrgos and Thessaloniki - and also a majority stake in the Skopje refinery.
Hellenic Petroleum has a 23 percent share of the Greek retail market through the EKO brand. It also has a presence in Albania, Montenegro and Georgia through marketing subsidiaries. From this base, Hellenic Petroleum is pursuing a strategy of regional expansion with a focus on South Eastern Europe.
The shares of BP Cyprus Limited will transfer to Hellenic Petroleum together with around 40 members of staff, under local rules and regulations and existing terms and conditions of employment. Trade unions and employees have been appropriately briefed. The BP service stations will be progressively rebranded to the EKO brand.
Air BP, BP Marine and BP Lubricants are independent businesses which will be largely unaffected by the sale and will continue their activities in Cyprus under the new name, BP Eastern Mediterranean, a wholly-owned subsidiary.
BP Cyprus Limited sells approximately 500 million liters of fuel per annum and is the leading motor gasoline marketer in Cyprus with an approximate 35 percent market share. The businesses sold to Hellenic Petroleum include a retail network of 70 service stations, an inland direct and wholesaling fuels business, an LPG storage and bottling plant and a 65 percent shareholding in the Superlube lubricants blending plant.
There are approximately 70 staff in BP Cyprus and one third will remain with the retained businesses of BP Eastern Mediterranean Limited. The remaining staff will continue in the employment of BP Cyprus Limited under the ownership of Hellenic Petroleum. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )