The Irish group continues to pursue an aggressive acquisitions policy across Europe...
Irish-headquartered energy and environmental group DCC has announced the purchase of Esso's petrol network in Norway. Costing £235 million (€273.41m), it is the group's largest retail deal to date.
The transaction comprises approximately 250 outlets across Norway; 110 of the properties will now be owned by DCC.
The retail franchise at the sites is operated by the largest grocery wholesaler and retailer in Norway, NorgesGruppen, and this arrangement will remain in place
Quoted on the London stock market, DCC has been rapidly growing its scale and profitability in recent years through an aggressive acquisitions policy in the fuel retail sector across Europe.
It recently completed similar deals with Esso in France and Shell in Denmark.
The group will now own or operate just under 1,000 stations across six countries, selling 3.2 billion litres of fuel annually.
In January, Goldman Sachs analysts stated that DCC has the "financial headroom" to spend nearly £1bn (€1.2bn) on mergers and acquisitions, as they upgraded their recommendation on the group from "neutral" to "buy". They said a combination of debt and equity financing could fund deals.
Goldman Sachs said in a note which caused DCC shares to jump as much as 4.6%:
"We believe that DCC has many acquisition opportunities, both in the energy division and technology and healthcare, to drive geographical expansion and strengthen its market positions.
"Within energy, we see a large potential acquisition pool from continued noncore asset disposals by oil majors, as dividend commitments remain elevated compared to oil prices [even as oil prices have risen recently], as well as second-tier oil companies."