Motor Fuel Group owners jumpstart £5bn sale of petrol retail giant

Britain’s biggest independent petrol forecourts operator is kicking off plans for a sale that could value it at about £5bn.

Sky News has learnt that Motor Fuel Group (MFG), which is owned by the private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), this week invited investment banks to pitch for a mandate to sell the company, which trades from roughly 900 sites across the UK.

MFG is trying to position itself at the heart of the drive to electrify Britain’s automotive industry, saying recently that it would spend £50m this year on installing 350 rapid vehicle chargers across its estate.

Image: The company trades from roughly 900 sites across the UK

CD&R emerged triumphant last year from an auction of Wm Morrison, the supermarket chain – a deal valued at close to £10bn including debt.

MFG has grown substantially since CD&R bought it in 2015 from Patron Capital Partners in a deal worth about £500m.


Three years later, it paid £1.2bn to add MRH, the market leader, creating a group operating under fuel brands such as BP, Esso, Shell and Texaco.

Profits are understood to have risen about tenfold since CD&R’s original acquisition of MFG.

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The company has invested heavily in its convenience retailing proposition, featuring the likes of Costa Coffee, Greggs and Subway at many of its sites.

The CD&R-owned company competes with supermarket-owned fuel chains, as well as the likes of EG Group, which is owned by Mohsin and Zuber Issa in conjunction with TDR Capital.

Image: CD&R won an auction for Morrisons

EG is undertaking a review of its strategic options, while Rontec, the group controlled by Gerald Ronson, has also been periodically linked with a sale.

MFG’s increased focus on electrification may appeal to infrastructure investors who could seek to partner with each other to bid for the company, according to banking sources.

A deal could also attract interest from oil companies attempting to harness the global energy transition, they added.

A public listing of MFG is also a possibility, although at this stage it is understood to be less likely than a sale.

MFG is run by William Bannister, who acquired the business in 2011 through a management buy-in, while it is chaired by Alasdair Locke, a serial entrepreneur in the energy industry.

CD&R has been contact for comment.