Ireland's DCC Will Buy ExxonMobil's Norwegian Retail Gas Stations

Ireland's DCC Will Buy ExxonMobil's Norwegian Retail Gas Stations

Feb 7, 2017

London-listed DCC Plc will buy the retail gasoline station network of ExxonMobil Corp.'s (NYSE: XOM) Norwegian unit, Esso Norge AS, for 2.43 billion Norwegian crowns (US$293.38 million).

DCC, whose activities range from oil distribution to waste management, said the total consideration, along with the value of stock in tank at the date of acquisition, would be paid in cash.

The stock rose 6.6% to 6,795 pence as of 0920 GMT, making it the top gainer on the FTSE 100 Index.

Dublin, Ireland-based DCC, which gets nearly half of its profit from Britain and Ireland, has been expanding into Western Europe in recent years through acquisitions.

The company, which has in the past bought assets from oil companies such as Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) and Total, has been scouting for opportunities to purchase distribution and market assets from oil majors as they slim down their portfolios to withstand an oil price slump.

Esso's retail gasoline station network has 142 company-operated sites and contracts to supply 108 Esso-branded dealer-owned stations, DCC said.

The business will be integrated into DCC's energy unit and DCC will sign a long-term supply agreement with Esso Norge.

The acquisition is "high-quality" and "meaningful", Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a note, citing expected return on acquisition capital of nearly 15% in the first full year of ownership. The firm has an "overweight" rating on the stock.

The transaction is expected to close in the final calendar quarter of 2017, the company said.

The Norwegian acquisition follows DCC's deal in November 2016 to buy a 97% stake in France's Gaz Europeen natural gas retail and marketing business for an enterprise value of 110 million euros (96 million British pounds).

Separately, DCC said on Feb. 7 that the group operating profit for the third quarter ended Dec. 31, 2016 was "strongly ahead" of 2015 and in line with its expectations, helped by strong performance of its energy unit. (US$1 = 8.2829 Norwegian crowns)