Ampol service stations to return to Australia as Caltex is forced to rebrand

The last time Australians filled their cars up at Ampol service stations more than 20 years ago, petrol prices were around 70 cents a litre, about half the price they are now.

But now there are plans to bring back the Ampol brand after US oil giant Chevron terminated permission for Caltex Australia to use the Caltex name.

The Ampol brand was phased out after it merged with Caltex in 1995.

Caltex said it would rebrand its service station network as Ampol within the next three years and would also change its corporate name to Ampol, which would require shareholder approval at next year’s annual general meeting in May.

The rollout of Ampol service stations was set to start in June next year, with a new look and logo.

Caltex chief executive Julian Segal said the firm was well advanced in plans to rebrand and said the Ampol brand better reflected its Australian history and its position as a major transport fuels provider.

“Ampol is an iconic brand in Australia and reflects our deep Australian heritage and expertise,” he said.

“Our market research confirms that Ampol continues to be regarded as a high-quality and trusted brand by Australian consumers and resonates across our key customer segments.”

The move followed 18 months of discussions with Caltex over the future of the licence agreement with Chevron.

Chevron sold its 50 per cent stake of Caltex in 2015 for $4.6 billion, but allowed Caltex to keep using the name.

The oil giant uses the Caltex name around the world and there is speculation it could use the name here as well.

Last week, Chevron announced it would buy Puma Energy’s Australian petrol stations business in a $425 million deal.

The rebranding will cost Caltex $165 million but it will save $18 million to $20 million in licence fees to Chevron.

Mr Segal said the change would allow Caltex to move to its own fuel brand and continue to supply its fuels under the brand.

Peter Khoury, from the National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA), said the name change would not have a big impact on motorists.

“It won’t mean anything in terms of the price people pay. It will be nostalgic for some people,” Mr Khoury said.

“The Ampol brand has a lot of history to it, certainly with the NRMA.

“Ampol was created in NSW, with support through the NRMA, as a way to deal with rising petrol prices and fuel security back in the 1930s.”

The Australian Motorists Petrol Company was founded in 1936 and later became Ampol.

Ampol was listed on the ASX in 1948.

Both Caltex and Ampol opened refineries in the 1950s and 1960s and were competitors before their merger.

Meanwhile, Caltex has rebuffed an $8.6 billion takeover bid from Canadian firm Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATD) for its petrol refinery and convenience store business.

However, it has given ATD access to some company information.

Caltex is the largest player in Australia’s wholesale fuel market and runs one of the four remaining local refineries.

It is planning to float up to 49 per cent of its 250 core convenience retail sites into a separate listing on the share market.


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