Big APAC-based oil and gas players are eyeing United Petroleum for a joint venture or purchase, despite downstream acquisitions being broadly out of favour, according to industry sources.
Super majors like Chevron are unlikely to be interested in the group – which buys and supplies fuel for retailers - but APAC-headquartered players like Malaysia’s Petronas could be in the mix. United Petroleum’s advisers KPMG Corporate Finance refused to comment on the process. Caltex Petroleum, Australia’s only listed oil refiner, is also said to have expressed interest, but any proposal could face opposition from the ACCC.
Some bankers have suggested the $1 billion price tag attached to United Petroleum is an overreach, saying it was likely to attract closer to $600 million. Bids were initially due in the end of October but it is understood the deadline has been extended.
Private-equity sources say United has been shopped around to international players and the bigger Australian firms, including KKR, TPG, Blackstone, Affinity Capital Partners, Carlyle and Warburg Pincus. A consortium of funds could also make a play.
United Petroleum, founded by Avi Silver and Eddie Hersch, runs a chain of petrol stations across Australia and fuel import terminals in Victoria, NSW, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.