Now Woolworths is looking at selling its fuel business

Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The troubled supermarket chain Woolworths has confirmed it is looking at a sale, reported to be for as much as $1.5 billion, of its petrol business.

The retailer says it has received incomplete and conditional proposals from a number of parties.

“Woolworths wishes to advise that it is currently evaluating whether to retain or dispose of its Petrol business,” the company said in a statement to the ASX.

“No decision in relation to the future of the Business has been made, and Woolworths wishes to advise that current discussions may not result in a transaction.”

The retailer was responding to a report in The Australian newspaper that several hundred retail outlets are being sold by Woolworths through Morgan Stanley.

“It is now believed Caltex is the sole bidder,” the newspaper said.

The petrol business turned over $4.61 billion in the 2016 financial year, a fall of 18.1% on the previous 12 months.

Sales were impacted by changes to the alliance with Caltex and declining average fuel prices.

Woolworths is also getting rid of its hardware businesses. The company will gain about $1.5 billion from exiting its home improvement division, including selling the property of the troubled Masters chain.

Last month Woolworths posted a full year net loss of $1.23 billion, as the retailer exits the hardware industry, restructures and rebuilds its supermarket business.

Total revenue for 2016 slipped 0.8% down to $60.65 billion.

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