Canadian Imperial Oil may sell remaining Esso stations

Imperial Oil Ltd., ExxonMobil’s Canadian subsidiary, has said that it is considering selling its remaining Esso-branded retail fuel stations to independent third-party operators.

The Calgary-based company said that most of its 1,700 Esso sites are already independently owned, in a system where the company supplies fuel to third parties who own and operate the sites under the Esso banner. The company says it will use a non-binding bid process to sell the remaining 500 company-owned sites.

According to Desjardins Securities Inc., Alimentation Couche-Tard may be interested in buying the remaining Esso Stations from Imperial Oil. It acquired about 450 of Exxon’s On the Run convenience stores in the U.S. in 2009, and Imperial Oil is looking for options for its On the Run stores as well.

“Esso has a long, successful history as a leading retailer of high-quality fuels,” said Brad Merkel, vice president of fuels and lubricants at Imperial Oil. “This evaluation will determine if strategic investments, through new business partnerships, can fuel further growth of the Esso brand in Canada.”

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