Caltex could put retail assets up for sale

Fuel retailer Caltex Australia may sell part of its convenience retail assets, which includes names like Star Mart and Woolworths.

Caltex said that it is exploring a potential real estate partnership which could include the sale of 15 to 25 per cent of its existing freehold site portfolio, valued at $2 billion, while retaining a 25 to 50 per cent stake.

Convenience retail earnings were down 14 per cent on the same period last year due to rising crude prices and impacts from the ongoing store transitions.

Caltex said that convenience retail real estate is a “critical asset” in the company’s long term retail strategy. A review into its convenience retail real estate found that a “passive real estate sale and leaseback transaction” would not be “financially compelling” as sale proceeds would be largely offset by the costs of leasing.

Managing director and CEO Julian Segal said that work has already begun on their partnership with Woolworths. The 15-year fuel supply deal includes wholesale food supply to over 700 existing Caltex convenience sites.

“In Convenience Retail, we have begun our work with Woolworths to co-create a market-leading convenience offering with compelling customer loyalty and redemption arrangements. The long-term wholesale grocery supply agreement allows us to concentrate on the store offering while completing the transition process.”

In February 2018 Caltex announced it would pull out of franchising by mid 2020 at an expected cost of up to $120 million.

This article first appeared in Inside FMCG, a sibling publication to Inside Franchise Business.