Chevron’s 50% stake sale in Caltex Australia yields USD 3.6 billion

The block sale of Chevron Corp.’s 50% stake in Caltex Australia Ltd., which was announced last Friday, has been met with strong investor demand, according to Caltex Australia Managing Director and CEO Julian Segal.

“Caltex understands from Chevron that the book was oversubscribed with a final price of AUD35 (USD 27.11) a share, reflecting strong interest in the stock,” Segal said.

The block sale, which is the biggest in Australia’s history, garnered AUD 4.725 billion (USD 3.66 billion) for San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron. Chevron announced plans earlier this month to shed USD 15 billion in oil and natural gas assets by the end of 2017 and reduce spending on new projects for the next two years, following the precipitous drop in crude oil prices last year.

“This transaction reflects Chevron’s commitment to regularly review our portfolio and generate cash to support our long-term priorities. It is aligned with our previously announced asset sales commitment,” said Michael Wirth, Chevron’s executive vice president, Downstream and Chemicals.

The sale, which was underwritten solely by Goldman Sachs, leap-frogged Royal Dutch Shell’s AUD 3.3 billion (USD 2.56 billion) and AUD 3.2 billion (USD 2.48 billion) trades in 2010 and 2014, respectively. Both trades were to sell down Shell’s position in Woodside Petroleum.

Caltex supplies one-third of Australia’s transport fuels and is unique in this market for being the only major brand listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. It is also one of Australia’s largest convenience retailers and franchisors, with more than 85% of its stores operated by franchisees. It also owns the Lytton refinery in Brisbane. Last year, it shut down its Kurnell refinery in Sydney.

“Caltex is Australia’s leader in transport fuels and we remain committed to delivering top quartile shareholder returns,” said Segal.

Caltex will retain the same senior management team. Chairman Elizabeth Bryan will be standing for re-election at the Annual General Meeting on 7 May, with the full support of the Board.

Segal said Caltex remained focused on investing in the business and in growth initiatives to generate sustainable, long-term earnings growth.

“Our focus in delivering shareholder returns is to explore areas for growth – we continue to look to leverage our existing capabilities in retailing, franchising, supply chain management, infrastructure services, and the processing, storage and distribution of hydrocarbons,” he said.

Caltex’s supply chain is unaffected by Chevron’s share sale.

“Ampol Singapore has been operating for over 12 months and has successfully forged strong links to a broad range of reputable fuel suppliers across Asia and beyond. Chevron is one of several suppliers contributing to our comprehensive and flexible supply chain,” Segal said.

The current trademark licensing agreement between Chevron and Caltex will remain in effect following the sale.

The sale does not alter Chevron’s focus on moving the Gorgon and Wheatstone liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects towards start-up. Chevron is one of Australia’s largest foreign investors and is the largest holder of natural gas resources in the country.

However, Chevron has notified Beach Energy Ltd., its central Australian shale project partner, that it is pulling out of the project as “the opportunity does not align strategically” with Chevron’s portfolio.

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