Glencore Said to Enter Mexican Fuel-Stations Business

Updated on
  • Commodities trader will supply 180,000 barrels a day of fuels
  • Glencore to invest $200 million over next two years in Mexico

Glencore Plc is entering the fuel-stations business in Mexico with a 15-year supply deal and a $200 million investment in a joint-venture with local owners, according to people familiar with the decision.

The agreement is the first significant move for Glencore in the retail fuel sector. It comes as commodities traders including Vitol Group BV and Trafigura Group have pushed into the business globally, with hundreds of stations from Latin America to Africa serving as outlets for the products they trade.

Glencore will supply 180,000 barrels a day of gasoline and diesel to 1,400 stations, about 10 percent of the country’s total, the people said, asking not to be named because the deal hasn’t been announced. The move comes after Mexico ended a long-standing monopoly by its state-controlled energy company, and last month boosted gasoline prices to aid distributors.

Glencore also plans to spend $200 million over the next two years to create a new franchise brand in a joint-venture with G500 Grupo Gasolinero, a local alliance of stations, the people said. Additionally, the trader will invest in terminals and storage. Currently, the local group sells its products under the brand of state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

Glencore declined to comment.

BP Announcement

BP Plc last week said it will develop as many as 1,500 gasoline stations in Mexico through 2022, deepening its commitment to become a major new player in the country’s energy revival. The announcement by the London-based producer came three months after its winning bid for two offshore exploration blocks in a partnership with Statoil ASA and Total SA.

Mexico, facing its highest inflation rate in almost seven years, has pledged to completely phase out fuel subsidies over the course of the year. The so-called “gasolinazo,” or fuel-price slam, sparked protests across the country that curtailed fuel distribution and sent the approval ratting of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s to an all-time low.

Commodities traders have built large networks of fuel stations through acquisitions and organic growth to help offset declining margins in their bread-and-butter business of buying and selling commodities. Vitol earlier this month announced it was leading a venture that will pay almost $1.5 billion for the largest network of fuel stations in Turkey.

Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg LP, is a senior independent non-executive director at Glencore.