Thai firm buys local Esso from Exxon

Bangchak Corporation, one of Thailand’s largest energy firms, has bought a majority stake in Esso (Thailand) from Exxon Corporation of the U.S. for a reported $1.6 billion.
Bangchak Executives said that the purchase would help shore up Thailand’s energy security, while Exxon noted that the sale was part of its plan to divest from traditional energy assets and move towards cleaner fuels.
The deal is another example of the growing financial prowess of major Thai corporations. In recent years, many have begun expanding beyond the Kingdom’s borders, with some acquiring well-known firms in overseas markets, particularly North America and Europe.
Bangchak was founded as a state-owned energy and petroleum conglomerate in 1984. It is now in the private sector as a listed company on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.
Esso is known in Thailand chiefly for its 700 service stations, which Nikkei reports is the largest gas station network in the Kingdom. In the U.S., they were rebranded as Exxon long ago, but many American consumers fondly remember the Esso classic advertising slogan “put a tiger in your tank” with a drawing of a big cat pumping high-octane fuel.
Esso also operates a refinery in the Kingdom that churns out 174,000 barrels of oil a day, along with other assets.
For its $603 million, Bangchak acquired a 65.99 percent stake in the firm with Exxon retaining the remainder. Bangchak said that it would pay for its stake with cash on hand and the transaction should close during the second half of this year pending regulatory approvals.
“This investment is a step towards greater energy security, balancing our long-term strategy,” said Chaiwat Kovavisarach, Bangchak Chief Executive.
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