[BUENOS AIRES] Royal Dutch Shell Plc is considering selling about 600 gas stations in Argentina as part of a strategic review of its downstream assets in the country, according to a person familiar with the plan.
Grupo Luksic and Puma Energy Groupare among the potential suitors that could be invited to bid for the second largest network of gas stations in Argentina, the person said asking not to be named as talks are private. Neither Grupo Luksic nor Puma Energy returned calls seeking comment.
At a conference on Wednesday in New York, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said the company is in the middle of a strategic review of its downstream assets in Argentina as part of a US$30 billion divestment program, according to a slide in his presentation.
Shell's downstream holdings in Argentina include about 600 gas stations, a refinery, chemicals businesses, and other assets, wrote Joel Glotzer, a spokesman at Shell's Argentine unit in a statement.
"Upstream assets aren't included in the review as shale investments are a priority for the company. Shell does not want to lose its presence in Argentina, and has a strong commitment to the country," he wrote.
"The company is still conducting its strategic review and has no more details to share at the moment," Shell spokeswoman Kimberly Windon said by phone from Houston.
In a later e-mailed statement, Ms Windon wrote that no final decisions have been made about the downstream assets and that the company has no plans to exit Argentina.
Shell has market share of 19 per cent in Argentina for gas stations, making it the second biggest seller after state-owned YPF SA. Overall, gas station sales have fallen 7 per cent from last year amid a recession in the country, according to the Energy Ministry official figures, but Shell has been able to dodge the declines.
While YPF gasoline sales decreased in July by 10 per cent to 726,310 cubic metres compared with the same month in 2015, Shell gasoline sales increased by four per cent to 243,176 cubic metres.