| LONDON, March 17
LONDON, March 17 Exxon Mobil is seeking
to sell half of its 2,500 petrol stations in Italy for up to 500
million euros ($537 million), several sources close to the
Exxon, through its local subsidiary Esso, is the latest oil
company trying to reduce its exposure to Italy's oversupplied
petrol retail sector. Royal Dutch Shell exited last
year and Total and Italian energy group Erg
are nearing the sale of their joint
According to a number of banking sources, private equity
firm Apollo is considering acquiring both the Esso and
Total/Erg's 2,600 stations to allow it to rationalise the
portfolio and squeeze better profits.
One of the banking sources said that other private equity
groups, including Carlyle have shown interest in buying
the Esso branded stations.
Italy has around 21,000 service stations across the country,
almost twice the number in France and almost three times that of
Over the past two years, the government has been seeking to
cut the number of stations to bring them into line with demand
and make the industry more efficient.
Exxon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It generally doesn't use external advisors for M&A activity and
it was unclear if it had hired a bank for this transaction.
($1 = 0.9311 euros)
(Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)