-Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. places offer on Statoil Fuel & Retail in $2.8 billion deal
-Statoil agrees to sell its 54% stake in the fuel retailer
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By Dominic Chopping and Katarina Gustafsson
Norwegian oil and gas major Statoil ASA (STO) Wednesday said it will sell its stake in transport fuel retailer Statoil Fuel & Retail ASA (SFR.OS) in a move to increase its focus on its oil and gas exploration and production operations.
Canadian convenience store company Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ATD.A.T) has placed an offer for the fuel retailer in a $2.8 billion deal, valuing the total share capital of Statoil Fuel & Retail at 15.9 billion Norwegian kroner.
Statoil has accepted the bid and will sell its 54% stake in the fuel retailer for NOK8.6 billion ($1.5 billion). The Canadian company will buy the remaining shares at NOK53, a 53% premium to the shares' Tuesday closing price.
At 0712 GMT, shares in Statoil Fuel & Retail traded 51% higher at NOK52.35, pricing in much of the offer premium. Statoil shares were down 0.3% at NOK153.40.
Depending on how the parties decide to finance the deal, it might have an impact on the Norwegian krone, said Erica Blomgren, SEB's head of FX strategy Norway. "The figure is big enough," she said, adding that the EUR-NOK moved down a little shortly after the announcement, but the currency pair then moved back as market participants await more information on the deal.
Statoil Chief Financial Officer Torgrim Reitan said the price is attractive and "the offer, which is recommended by the board and management of Statoil Fuel & Retail, provides a good outcome for all parties."
Danske Bank analyst Endre Storlokken said the sale makes sense, but it's not that big of a deal from Statoil's perspective. "Operationally for Statoil, this has not that great an importance," he said. "But it's positive that this happens; it frees up capital."
Statoil established Statoil Fuel & Retail as a separate company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in 2010.
The parties expect to complete the transaction during the second quarter of 2012.
-By Dominic Chopping; Dow Jones Newswires; +46-8-5451-3093; firstname.lastname@example.org