Total Eyes Sale of its Fuel Retailing Business in Turkey
Total aims to exit its fuel distribution business in Turkey and has asked Societe Generale to lead the sale, sources said on Friday, as the French oil producer looks to scale back in a highly competitive and regulated market.
Turkey has some of the steepest fuel prices in Europe but heavy taxes and other regulations leave little profit margin for the 70 different retailers.
As a result, Total is looking to exit the business, three people familiar with the matter said, declining to be identified because the information is not yet public.
Two of them said French bank Societe Generale has been chosen to lead the potential sale.
"Profitability in fuel distribution is under serious pressure in Turkey. Other foreign companies may follow suit," one of the sources said.
A Total spokesman was not immediately available for comment while SocGen had no immediate comment.
Total has just 5 percent of the 80 billion lira ($29.4 billion) fuel distribution market, according to figures from market watchdog EPDK, putting it in sixth place behind bigger players like market leader Petrol Ofisi, which is owned by Austria's OMV, and fourth-ranked BP.
By Humeyra Pamuk and Asli Kandemir