Caltex eyes part-sale of retail assets
Caltex Australia says it is considering selling part of its convenience retail assets valued at $2 billion, even as higher costs kept its first-half profit at the lower end of its guidance.
The refiner and fuel retailer said it was exploring a potential real-estate partnership, which could include the sale of 15 to 25 per cent of its existing freehold site portfolio, with Caltex retaining between 25 per cent and 50 per cent stake.
The company's branded convenience stores include names like Star Mart and Woolworths.
In July, Caltex said Woolworths would start wholesale food supply to over 700 existing Caltex convenience sites, as part of a 15-year fuel supply deal.
The company mainly deals in the refining and supply of petroleum products and also operates convenience stores across Australia.
Caltex said net profit on a 'replacement cost' basis crept higher to $296 million for the six months to June 30, from $294 million a year earlier, as margins were hurt by higher crude prices and corporate costs.
The company in June forecast half-year underlying profit between $295 million and $315 million.
Retail earnings also declined 14 per cent, impacted by ongoing store transitions.
Brent crude prices have surged about 14 per cent so far this year. Caltex's solitary oil refinery, at Lytton in Brisbane, suffered lower refining margins, down 18.6 per cent.
The company said it would pay 57 cents per share as interim dividend, down from 60 cents per share for the first half of 2017.
By 1130 AEST, Caltex shares were down 6.1 per cent to $31.27 in a firm Australian market.
REFIINING, RETAIL HIT CALTEX PERFORMANCE:
* Half-year underlying profit up 1pct to $296m
* Revenue up 33pct to $10.19b
* Interim dividend down 3.0 cents to 57 cents, fully franked
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