Australia's Caltex receives competing $3.6b takeover offer from Britain's EG Group

Britain's EG Group had offered to acquire Caltex Australia for $3.6 billion in cash. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

BENGALURU (REUTERS) - Caltex Australia said on Wednesday (Feb 19) that Britain's EG Group had offered to acquire the company for A$3.9 billion (S$3.6 billion) in cash and separate shares to be issued in a newly listed company on the local stock exchange.

EG Group's offer comes on the heels of a sweetened takeover proposal from Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc last week.

The offer from the British retailer includes the sum to buy Caltex's convenience retail business and a stake in a new company, under which the remaining assets of Caltex would be bundled.

The separate company, dubbed Ampol, would trade on the Australian Stock Exchange and would include Caltex's existing fuel and infrastructure business and international shipping and trading operations.

Under the deal, shareholders will receive about A$15.62 in cash and one share in Ampol for each Caltex share they hold, Caltex said, but did not disclose what the total dollar value of the latest takeover offer was.

Earlier this week, Caltex said it would allow Couche-Tard to conduct additional due diligence, after the Canadian firm raised its buyout offer to A$8.80 billion.

Quebec-based Couche-Tard had bumped up its cash offer by 2 per cent to A$35.25 a share in a final attempt to sway the oil refiner and convenience store firm, after reports of EG Group's interest in the company had emerged.

EG's offer allows Caltex to continue paying dividends before the deal is implemented, and to pay a fully-franked special dividend to its shareholders to distribute remaining franking credits.

The suitor has indicated that it would also consider buying up to 10 per cent of Ampol for an additional cash consideration, Caltex said in a statement.

The board was considering the proposal, the company added.

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