The France-based energy giant Total, along with partner energy group Erg, is now looking to expedite the sale of its Italian gas/petrol station network due to investor worries about the impact of the growing electric vehicle market.
As it stands, Total and Erg jointly control the body known as TotalErg, which operates around 2,600 gas/petrol service stations throughout Italy — holding a roughly 11% market share in the region.
“The aim is to reach a general agreement in coming weeks and wrap the deal up by the year end,” an unnamed source was quoted as saying.
Exclusive talks are now underway with the Italian refiner API Anonima Petroli — which already runs a network of some 2,600 gas/petrol service stations itself.
Reuters provides more: “Last year they appointed HSBC and Rothschild to sell the business which sources have said could be worth more than 600 million euros ($710 million). The deal originally drew interest from private equity and industry players but people close to the matter said many had opted not to press ahead.
“One of the sources said investors were concerned that the rise of electric cars might mean traditional pump stations could go into decline. The number of electric vehicles on roads is forecast to grow significantly in the coming decades, with an impact on petrol consumption and pump network business models. Charging points are becoming more common in workplaces, shopping centers and public venues.”
If the deal with API goes through, then it will result in the creation of Italy’s largest service station operator — eclipsing the networks of Eni and Kuwait Petroleum International.
On a related note, the largest utility firm in Italy, Enel, recently announced a €300 million investment that will see some 12,000 electric vehicle charging points installed around the country.
Clearly, the times are changing. Perhaps it is best to get out of the gas/petrol station business while the terms of doing so are still pretty good.