Ampol makes a comeback after Caltex name is taken back by US oil giant Chevron

Ampol Caltex US oil giant Chevron Australia CTX ASX

It is going to be back to the future for Caltex petrol stations around Australia with the old Ampol brand set to return.

It has been more than 20 years since Australians last poured some Ampol petrol into their cars, but that will soon become an everyday occurrence and Ampol will also become the new share market name for what is now Caltex Australia.

Caltex Australia is spending around $165 million to rebrand itself as Ampol after the breakdown of a licencing agreement with US oil giant Chevron.

Caltex brand could remain in Australia as well

There is speculation that the Caltex name could also live on in Australia with Chevron having recently paid $425 million to take over Puma Energy’s fuel and service station business, which includes 360 petrol stations.

Caltex Australia said the reintroduction of the Ampol brand followed Chevron’s termination of the longstanding agreement for Caltex Australia to use its Caltex brand, which it owns and licences to operators around the world.

Caltex Australia is the biggest petrol wholesaler in Australia and also runs one of Australia’s four local refineries.

Caltex Australia also mulling takeover offer

The name change comes on top of some more challenges for Caltex Australia, which is also waiting on a fresh takeover offer from Canadian convenience store operator Couche-Tard after the company said the initial $8.6 billion bid was “undervalued”.

However, Caltex Australia has given ATD access to some company information.

Caltex Australia is planning to float up to 49% of its 250 core convenience retail sites into a separate listing on the share market.

Chief executive officer Julian Segal said the Ampol rebrand would not have any impact on any prospective bid from Couche-Tard, saying there was “no connection between the two”.

Caltex has been working on Ampol rebrand since 2015

Mr Segal said the company had been working on the rebranding since 2015 and was prepared for independence, which would save the company about $18-20 million a year in annual costs due to the removal of annual trademark licence fees it paid Chevron.

Chevron used to be a 50% shareholder in Caltex Australia and notified the company of the licencing agreement’s termination last Friday after 18 months of negotiation.

“We’ve been working on this since 2015,’’ Mr Segal said.

“Now we can act as one and chart our own destiny.”

Ampol was founded in 1936 and originally known as the Australian Motorists Petrol Company and was bought by concrete company Pioneer in 1988 before merging with Caltex Australia in 1995.

Caltex Australia has already been using the Ampol brand internationally in Asia and will gradually transition to Ampol in Australia over the next three years.

Analysts said the brand change was not expected to hurt sales at current Caltex Australia stations and it is possible that it could even improve sales if the Ampol brand stressed its Australian roots compared to other foreign petrol brands.

Caltex Australia shareholders will be asked to approve the name change at the company’s annual general meeting in May next year.

Caltex Australia shares (ASX: CTX) closed down 0.09% at $34.14 on Monday.

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