SYDNEY, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Caltex Australia Ltd said on Tuesday it had made a proposal to buy Woolworths Ltd’s petrol station chain, which analysts expect to sell for more than A$1.5 billion ($1.1 billion).
Fuel supplier BP declined to comment on a separate report in the Australian Financial Review newspaper that it had also lodged a bid for the 500 petrol stations, part of a broader asset selloff by Woolworths to shore up its core grocery business.
Caltex is already Woolworths’ fuel supplier.
“Caltex confirms that it made a conditional and confidential proposal to Woolworths to acquire its fuels business and continue the successful fuel alliance,” Caltex Australia said in a statement, without disclosing a bid price.
Woolworths, which is refocusing on its grocery business amid a price war with Coles, owned by Wesfarmers Ltd and Germany’s ALDI Inc, was not immediately available for comment.
The company is in the process of closing its Masters hardware chain, following years of criticism about the loss-making home improvement joint venture with U.S.-based Lowe’s Companies Inc. ($1 = 1.3187 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Tom Westbrook; editing by Jane Wardell and G Crosse)