France's Total snaps up Chevron's Pakistan retail network

DUBAI/PARIS Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:56am EDT

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DUBAI/PARIS (Reuters) - Total (TOTF.PA) and its joint venture partner have agreed to buy Chevron Corp's (CVX.N) retail distribution business in Pakistan, following a similar move by the French energy giant to buy the U.S. firm's Egyptian retail business in August.

TOTAL PARCO Pakistan Limited, a joint venture between Total and Pak Arab Refinery Limited (PARCO), will acquire Chevron's fuel marketing, logistics and aviation business in Pakistan.

The businesses includes 538 petrol stations, sources said, declining to be named because the matter was private.

Total did not provide a value for the transaction. A spokesman for Chevron was not available for comment. Chevron operates under the Caltex brand in Pakistan and also has a lubricant business which was not put for sale.

Large oil companies are shrinking their downstream operations - which include refining and processing of crude oil, as well as the marketing and distribution of products - to focus more on high-margin exploration and production activities.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) said in April it was considering selling some of its Italian downstream assets including retail, aviation and supply and distribution businesses. The company agreed to sell its Egyptian downstream assets to Total earlier in May.

New York-based oil and gas producer Hess Corp (HES.N) has announced plans to exit its retail gasoline, marketing and trading businesses after pressure from activist investors.

Chevron was nearing a sale of its downstream assets in Pakistan and Egypt, sources told Reuters in May, in a deal which was seen raising around $300 million for the U.S. oil major. The company was conducting a separate sale process for both the businesses, the sources said.

The second-largest U.S. oil company confirmed at the time that it was conducting a strategic review of its fuels operations in Egypt and Pakistan. However, it said this did not include the lubricants business in Egypt and Pakistan.

Total said in August that it agreed to buy the Egyptian retail network of U.S. energy company Chevron (CVX.N), in a move it said would create its biggest marketing and services subsidiary outside Europe.

Citigroup Inc (C.N) advised Chevron on the Egypt and Pakistan sale process, according to the sources.

(Editing by Louise Heavens and David Evans)

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