Australia’s leading independent law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, has advised Coles Group Limited (ASX:COL) (Coles) on the sale of its fuel and convenience business to Viva Energy Group Limited (ASX:VEA) (Viva Energy).

The transaction will see Viva Energy own and operate 710 Coles Express sites and result in termination of the existing fuel and convenience alliance between Coles and Viva Energy, which otherwise was due to end in 2029.

As part of the A$300 million transaction, Coles and Viva Energy have entered into a multi-year strategic partnership so that Coles and Coles Express customers will continue to enjoy loyalty benefits, including the 4c/litre fuel discount offer and earning and redeeming Flybuys points. 

Corrs advised on all aspects of the transaction, with a multidisciplinary team of over 30 lawyers bringing expertise from across corporate, property, financial sponsors, real estate, environment and planning, employment and labour, tax, technology and intellectual property. The team included partners Jonathan Farrer, Phil Catania, Mark McCowan, Ian Reynolds, Steven Rice, Justin Fox, Nathaniel Popelianski, Alex Peace, Rosie Syme, Louise Camenzuli, Paul Burns, Rhys Jewell and Jennee Chan.

Commenting on the matter, lead partner Jonathan Farrer said: “We are very pleased to advise Coles on this important strategic transaction, involving Australia’s largest convenience and fuel retail network with 710 sites and around 6,000 staff.” 

“Given the scale and complexity of the transaction, which also involves a multi-year strategic partnership and transitional arrangements, successful execution required collaboration from experts across the entire firm.”

Coles CEO Steven Cain said: “This agreement is positive not only for Coles and Viva Energy, but also for our customers, team members and respective shareholders. Viva is well-placed to make the most of opportunities to grow the Express business in the future, while we will strengthen our focus on our omnichannel supermarket and liquor businesses and our ambition of becoming Australia’s most sustainable supermarket group.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including Viva Energy obtaining ACCC and FIRB approval. Completion is expected to occur in the second half of FY23.