The Australian independent fuel market will become stronger today with the announcement that global fuel distributer, Puma Energy, will acquire Ausfuel from Archer Capital to become Australia's largest independent fuel retailer. The acquisition will bring much needed competition to the market, ensuring Australia's independent fuel operators can maintain their valuable foothold.
The acquisition of Ausfuel, owner of Gull, Choice and Peak service stations, will add 110 retail sites and 11 depots to Puma Energy's existing Australian portfolio, making it the largest independent fuel retailer with sites in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales.
Puma Energy will acquire 100% of Ausfuel from Archer Capital and other minority stakeholders. Archer is one of Australia's leading private equity investors and has demonstrated a stellar track record of building and growing businesses in Australia in recent years. The growth and exit of Ausfuel follows recent successful deals including MYOB, Rebel Sport, Cellarmasters and iNova Pharmaceuticals.
The announcement comes just weeks after Puma Energy announced its first investment in Australia, acquiring Neumann Petroleum's retail portfolio of more than 120 service stations in Queensland and New South Wales.
Puma Energy's General Manager for Australia Ray Taylor said that the company had been planning its entry and growth into the market for several years and the shift in market dynamics made strong independent fuel businesses like Ausfuel and Neumann the perfect partners to leverage Puma Energy's global connection and import supply. "Ausfuel is a successful business that has grown through understanding its local market, hard work and employing a strong team," said Mr Taylor.
"We have chosen a partnership with Ausfuel because it's a strong business with the right culture and an excellent team to support it, and we believe Ausfuel will be a good strategic fit for Puma Energy. Puma Energy provides access to independent fuel supply and opportunities to help businesses like Ausfuel and Neumann grow their market share and expand into new regions and ultimately bring more competition to the Australian fuel market," said Mr Taylor.
Archer Capital bought a majority stake in Ausfuel in May 2010. Managing Director Peter Gold said Archer was pleased to have reached the agreement with Puma Energy on the sale of Ausfuel. "We have been successful in building this business from selling 300 million litres per annum to more than 1.2 billion litres per annum in less than three years, and in the process have significantly improved its performance, revenues and profitability. We are delighted to be selling to Puma Energy who share a similar vision and can take it to the next level," said Mr Gold.
The Ausfuel acquisition extends Puma Energy's geographical reach to Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia, whilst adding to its reach in regional Queensland. Through its Neumann acquisition, Puma Energy also has retail sites throughout Queensland and New South Wales.
Mr Taylor also said that both the Ausfuel and Neumann Petroleum businesses complemented each other, with stakes in diverse geographies and a shared entrepreneurial spirit. "We believe the two businesses will fit together perfectly and we are not about to change the dynamics of two successful businesses," said Mr Taylor.
Ausfuel CEO Brooke David said the company strongly supported the acquisition and that he looked forward to working with Puma Energy to build the business his father started 30 years ago. "Ausfuel is a family business at its core and we are confident that Puma Energy understands how to take our business to the next level, whilst ensuring the business remains true to its roots," said Mr David. "Puma Energy's record in the market demonstrates it is committed to developing its staff, growing its business and maintaining local management and culture, and this is what Ausfuel is looking for."
Puma Energy's global CEO Pierre Eladari said that the company was committed to growing Australia's independent fuel market. "The change in market dynamics, the closing of refineries and the growing volume of imports into Australia has opened up a great deal of opportunity for Puma Energy to invest into the Australian market," said Mr Eladari.
"We are truly an independent operator and we are not affiliated with any other supplier or marketer in the country, meaning we can give our customers and other independent operators greater choice and value."
Singapore-based Puma Energy is already active in North East Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia including Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. Formed in 1997 in Central America, Puma Energy has since expanded its activities worldwide to include a retail network of more than 1,500 service stations and 5,000 employees.
Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisor to Archer Capital on this transaction, and RFC Ambrion advised Puma Energy.