UPDATE 1-Trafigura's Puma to buy Australia's Ausfuel

Tue Feb 5, 2013 1:33pm EST

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MELBOURNE/GENEVA Feb 5 (Reuters) - Trafigura unit Puma Energy has agreed to buy Australian fuel distributor Ausfuel from private equity firm Archer Capital, ahead of Puma's likely share listing.

Trafigura said in a statement on Monday that the deal would make it Australia's largest independent fuel retailer, following the purchase of Neumann Petroleum's 120 service stations in January.

"The change in market dynamics, the closing of refineries and the growing volume of imports into Australia has opened up a great deal of opportunity for Puma Energy to invest into the Australian market," said Puma's Chief Executive Pierre Eladari in a written statement.

Australian media reported the purchase of Ausfuel could be worth up to A$650 million ($676 million).

Terms were not disclosed. Morgan Stanley advised Archer, one of Australia's largest buyout firms.

The Swiss-based commodities trading house with annual revenues of around $120 billion is making early preparations to float Puma and has been scouring the global downstream energy sector for opportunities.

Much of its recent growth has been in Africa - a region that accounts for around a quarter of Trafigura's revenues.

Puma has recently shown strong interest in buying assets in Africa and started talks to acquire a majority stake in Kenyan fuel marketer KenolKobil in May.

It was not clear if the talks were ongoing and Trafigura declined to comment, adding that Puma "continues to be interested in developing scale in Africa and globally".

Singapore-based Puma has 5,000 employees and is also present in Asia, South America and the Middle East. (Reporting by Victoria Thieberger and Emma Farge; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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