Billion-dollar payday as Shahin family sells OTR

South Australian petrol station and convenience store chain OTR Group has been sold to an interstate company for $1.15 billion, with plans for national expansion.

Apr 05, 2023, updated Apr 05, 2023
Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

The Shahin family, owners of Peregrine Corporation, said this morning that OTR Group – one of South Australia’s largest employers with around 200 petrol and convenience stores across the state – had been bought by Victorian-based fuel supplying company Viva Energy.

The $1.15 billion deal will see the amalgamation of the OTR Group, Smokemart and Giftbox, and the wholesale fuels business into Viva Energy’s Convenience and Mobility business.

OTR Group will remain based in Adelaide and the Shahin family will retain ownership of Peregrine Property, Construction and Development as well as The Bend Motorsport Park in Tailem Bend. It was also announced today that Viva Energy had signed a 10-year naming rights sponsorship of The Bend.

The acquisition is still subject to approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. It is expected to be completed in 2024.

Viva Energy, founded in 2014 and headquartered in Melbourne, owns the Geelong Oil Refinery and supplies Shell fuels to more than 1300 service stations across Australia.

It also owns and operates Liberty Oil and Woodside Petroleum service stations and is completing the acquisition of more than 700 Coles Express convenience stores across the country.

Peregrine Corporation executive chair Yasser Shahin said the acquisition “marks an incredibly exciting time for our company”.

“This transaction delivers the realisation of the vision I have always had, and vigorously pursued; to see OTR become national, to be the leading convenience brand in Australia and to remain true to our roots and based in Adelaide,” he told the ASX.

“The coming together of one of Australia’s best retail networks with one of Australia’s leading convenience offerings has enormous industrial logic.

“I will continue to support the business following completion of the transaction, and the entire team and I are completely committed to the successful integration of these businesses.

“The Shahin family is committed to continuing to see Adelaide as the home of OTR and Viva Energy have provided for the realisation of a larger, enhanced OTR to continue to be headquartered here.”

Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Viva Energy said its acquisition of OTR puts it on a pathway to owning more than 1000 stores.

“The introduction of OTR’s superior convenience offering, including quick serve restaurants, will help revolutionise the diversity and attraction of our retail offering,” Viva Energy CEO Scott Wyatt said.

“As our stores increasingly become retail destinations, we expect convenience earnings will grow and reduce our dependency on traditional fuels.

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“OTR outlets offer an attractive and welcoming store environment, supporting increased dwell time, which is likely to be a key factor in successfully introducing electric vehicle recharging facilities over time.

“We are excited about the opportunity we have to take this proud South Australian business and brand nationally and are pleased to have Yasser Shahin work with us as we commence this journey.”

The Shahin Family will become major shareholders of Viva Energy once the deal is complete.

The national company will also retain Yasser Shahin to help integrate OTR into Viva Energy’s Convenience and Mobility business.

The corporation told investors that OTR generates 70 per cent of its earnings from non-fuel retail, which “would otherwise have taken years to develop”.

Shahin told ABC Radio Adelaide that “the intention and the reason behind this deal is to replace what is now the Coles Express brand in 700+ Shell sites, and replace that with OTR”.

“I’d call it more a merger than a sale,” he said.

“I’d like to see OTR realise its ambition and the fact is OTR’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than the family.

“There are 7000 staff, Viva have got 6000, and it’s the right thing for the business.”

Asked if he could guarantee all OTR staff would still have a job after the acquisition, Shahin said: “Yes I can, without hesitation.”

“A condition of the deal from day one was that Viva agree to keep the business headquartered in Adelaide, and they’ve actually done one better, they’ve agreed to make Adelaide the headquarters of the entire national Coles Express/OTR/Viva retail business.

“That’s a 13,000-person organisation, and we’ve got a commitment in writing that Adelaide will be the headquarters for the next 10 years.

Asked what the Peregrine Corporation would be doing with its $1.15 billion payday, Shahin said: “I think by the time you’ve paid your debts and taxes there’s not anything like that left.”

“But let’s deal with one thing at a time, let’s get this through.”

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