Convenience store group, Alimentation Couche-Tard, can expect an imminent presentation from Caltex amid increasing speculation that the fuel retailer's management is readying to sell to its Canadian suitor.
Long awaited movement on a below par share price for Caltex Australia Limited has followed receipt of an unsolicited, conditional, confidential, non-binding and indicative proposal from Alimentation Couche-Tard to acquire all of its shares which has since spawned interest from several other firms notably EG Group, who it is understand has made inquiries to acquire some of Caltex's assets.
In November Caltex announced plans to raise $500 million in capital as it commenced jettisoning 25 petrol stations for a reported $136 million ahead of
what has been valued as an $8.6 billion takeover.
Operating some 16,000 stores across Canada, the United States, Europe, Mexico, Japan, China and Indonesia, Couche-Tard, which is based in Quebec, has since revised its initial $34.50-a-share offer.
Meanwhile, the fuel retailer has announced it will begin the process of rebranding to Ampol starting this year – a transitional period expected to take three years.
It is not known whether the sale of the company will impact the announcement.
Originally the Australian Motorists Petrol Company, Ampol was retired in 1995 following its merger with Caltex.
"Revitalising this iconic and strong Australian brand is an exciting move that reflects the company’s deep local heritage and experience in this market," Caltex said in a statement.
"The modern company today still shares the same values as the Ampol many Australians remember so well - delivering excellent customer service, being community-minded and making and selling its own high-quality fuels and products designed for local needs."
The staged rollout according to Caltex will include an identity update across the entire network.
Managing Director and CEO of Caltex Australia, Julian Segal, said the announcement was a great opportunity for the company to bring back this iconic brand that is still trusted by Australians of all ages.
“Ampol is an iconic Australian name - a brand which reflects our deep Australian heritage and expertise,” said he said.
“Our market research confirmed that Ampol continues to be regarded as a trusted brand by Australian consumers – even those who weren’t born when the brand was retired. Our decision to bring Ampol back reflects the focus we still have today on our heritage of friendly and efficient service, high-quality Australian-made products and being part of the local community.
“Many of our employees and customers still have strong memories of what Ampol stood for in Australia. It’s a brand that our people, partners and customers can be proud to be part of helping to recreate and revitalise and it remains a perfect fit for the modern company we are today.
“Transitioning to an Australian-owned brand will give us the freedom and independence to evolve here in Australia. Everything else about our business remains the same – including the development and delivery of high-quality premium fuels to all of our customers.”