Puma Energy is believed to be in final negotiations for a sale of its Australian assets after they were recently placed on the market through Bank of America.
So far, sources are pointing to United Petroleum as the most likely buyer.
A deal is understood to be about two weeks away for the Singaporean multinational and downstream oil company which is mostly owned by global commodities trader Trafigura and the Angolan Sonangol Group.
It operates in over 47 countries, with 2500 service stations and 7.9m cubic metres of oil storage facilities under its control.
That includes hundreds of service stations in Australia, along with seaboard terminals.
In Australia, its assets include the former Queensland-based Neumann Petroleum business that includes 125 service stations and a seaboard fuel terminal in Brisbane, along with the former Ausfuel business that it purchased from Archer Capital for $652m some years ago, along with the Queensland fuel marketer Central Combined Group.
The overall business is thought to be worth well over $1bn, although it remains unclear whether the Australian assets are being divested or Puma Energy as a whole.
United Energy, run by Melbourne-based entrepreneurs Avi Silver and Eddie Hirsch, previously had aspirations for a listing in Australia, although the situation ended with a legal dispute with advisers Herbert Smith Freehills.
In 2015, when the listing plans were afoot, the business was thought to have a market value of about $1.5bn.
Then, it controlled over 8 per cent of the retail fuel distribution market and directly owned 330 petrol stations throughout the country along with a further 80 wholesale stations.
The collapsed retailer Pie Face was purchased from United Petroleum in 2017 after the business fell into receivership.
One of the regional refiners, including China’s PetroChina, South Korea’s S-Oil Corp and SK Innovation or Thailand’s PTT, could also be the final party in negotiations, although United is said to have been the favourite in the Bank of America-run sales process.
CoucheTard, which has looked at Australian service station assets in the past, is not thought to be in the mix.
It comes after last year Woolworths offloaded a 540 petrol station portfolio to the EG Group for $1.7bn in a deal advised by Citi.
Elsewhere, Quadrant Private Equity will be announced as the buyer of all of QMS Media as early as Monday.
The outdoor advertiser entered a trading halt on Friday, saying shares would be released to the market by Tuesday after an announcement about speculation surrounding transactions involving the company or parts of the enterprise.
It comes after this column reported on Friday that the private equity firm was working towards a deal to buy QMS that would be announced within days.
QMS has been in talks with private equity this year about a privatisation, as first reported by DataRoom on March 8.
Extracted from The Australian