Shell quits Irish fuel retail market

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Oil giant Shell has sold all its retail and distribution operations in Ireland to a distribution and logistics firm called Topaz. The businesses, which are believed to have an annual turnover of over €1bn, include 35 local distribution depots, 6 oil importation facilities, 55 retail service stations and the supply of fuel to 105 independent service stations throughout Ireland.

Shell is retaining its interest in the Corrib Gas field in County Mayo which it is currently developing. Shell has been known for some time to be anxious to exit the increasingly competitive Irish market. Since the arrivial of Tesco to the petrol retail market last year, a price war has raged in parts of the country. Althought Tesco only operates a limited number of stations in the republic, it has expressed a desire to expand throughout the country.

Ion Equity are the consortium behind the takeover which according to the Irish Independent is valued at over €100m. The business will be headed by former Emo Oil managing director Danny Murray.