Exxon Mobil's Canadian unit Imperial Oil to sell remaining Esso fuel stations for $2.1 bn

Exxon Mobil's Canadian subsidiary Imperial Oil, today struck a deal to sell its remaining 497 company-owned Esso retail stations in Canada to five fuel distributors for $2.1 billion.

Imperial, which is majority owned by Exxon, has been mulling the sale of the service stations since early 2015.

It has more than 1,700 Esso retail stations currently operating in Canada, of which around two-thirds have been operated by wholesalers for about 15 years, with the remainder now set to follow the same model.

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc will buy 279 retail stations in Ontario and Quebec, 7-Eleven Canada Inc is buying 148 retail stations in Alberta and British Columbia, Harnois Groupe pétrolier is buying 36 in Quebec, Parkland Fuel Corp 17 in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and Wilson Fuel Co 17 in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Imperial said that the On the Run/Marché Express convenience store franchise will continue to operate at select retail stations within the Esso network under the ownership and management of Parkland Fuel.

''We believe these agreements represent the best way for Imperial to grow in the highly competitive Canadian fuels marketing business,'' said Rich Kruger, chairman, president and CEO of Imperial. ''The Esso brand has a leading presence in Canada through our distributor network and strong prospects for continued growth to the benefit of our customers and shareholders.''

Oil companies have recently been selling assets to help them overcome the sharp plunge in oil prices, but deals have been hard to close since both buyers and sellers disagree over the current valuation of assets.