Australia's Ampol makes space for Z Energy with sale of Gull NZ unit

March 14 (Reuters) - Australia's top fuel supplier Ampol Ltd (ALD.AX) on Monday said it will sell its New Zealand-based petroleum distribution business Gull in a bid to ease competition concerns as it awaits completion of its NZ$1.97 billion ($1.34 billion) purchase of Z Energy (ZEL.NZ).

Gull New Zealand, which runs more than 100 sites across New Zealand, had about 7% market share by fuel volume as of October last year, significantly lower than Z Energy's 40% share. Divestment of Gull is subject to completion of Z Energy's purchase.

Ampol, which runs one of two refineries in Australia, awaits approval from New Zealand's competition regulator, and expects to complete Z Energy's proposed acquisition in the first half of this year.

Ampol will sell Gull New Zealand to Australian investment manager Allegro Funds for an enterprise value of NZ$572 million, comprising net cash proceeds of NZ$509 million and debt worth NZ$63 million, it said in a statement.

The fuel supplier expects to realise net cash of about NZ$509 million from the sale, which it intends to use for Z Energy's proposed acquisition, it added.

($1 = 1.4697 New Zealand dollars)

Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Diane Craft

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