By GERALDINE AMIEL
PARIS Total confirmed it acquired Shell fuel retail
network in Egypt as part of its strategy to strengthen its
distribution position in the country and wider region.
"Through this acquisition, we reaffirm our ambition to
pursue our development in Africa and in the Middle East in the
retail business," a spokesman for Total said. Asked about the
price of the transaction, he declined to disclose any
Total already owns 70 fuel stations in Egypt, representing a
4% market share, and will acquire 85 more from Shell to become
Egypt's fourth largest gasoline retailer, doubling its market
share, the company said.
Total is strengthening its position as the largest gasoline
retailer in Africa, the spokesman added.
Gasoline retail activities have decreased in Western Europe,
on the back of lower consumption due to the prolonged economic
crisis. Lower cost retailers have also emerged, forcing some
major companies to rethink their refining and marketing strategy and
focus instead on oil exploration and production.
Prospects in the retail sector are brighter in emerging
markets, where demand for gasoline and transport fuels is
"The sale is consistent with Shell's strategy to concentrate
its downstream footprint on a smaller number of assets and
markets," Shell said in a statement. It cited the recent sale
of some refineries in the United Kingdome and Germany and its
refining and marketing businesses in
Finland and Sweden as examples of this.
Total, which has engaged in a massive exploration effort to find new oil
and gas reserves, has nevertheless reaffirmed the importance of
downstream activities within its business model, even though it
has idled some refineries in Europe.
Dow Jones Newswires