Caltex Australia offers to buy Woolworths petrol station chain

Caltex Australia Ltd yesterday said that it has offered to buy Woolworths Ltd's fuel station chain, but did not reveal the offer price.

"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.

Several media reports suggested that Woolworths' 500 petrol stations may fetch more than A$1.5 billion ($1.1 billion).

Caltex Australia supplies fuel to Woolworths, and its competitor British energy giant BP Plc is also reported to have tabled a bid.

Woolworths had late last month said in a statement, ''Woolworths wishes to advise that it is currently evaluating whether to retain or dispose of its Petrol business (the 'Business'). Woolworths has received incomplete and conditional proposals from a number of parties.'' 

''Woolworths remains in discussions with a number of interested parties. No decision in relation to the future of the Business has been made, and Woolworths wishes to advise that current discussions may not result in a transaction,'' it added.

Woolworths is Australia's largest retail chain having more than 960 supermarkets, petrol stations, liquor, general merchandise and home improvement outlets.