Eni SpA and Galpenergia SGPS SA, Europe's fourth-largest oil company and Portugal's biggest, have agreed to swap 306 gas stations in Italy and Portugal for Total Fina Elf SA's network of 186 stations in Spain.
Eni will give up 195 stations in Italy and Galp will hand over 111 in Portugal, which sell a combined 533,000 cubic meters of gasoline and diesel a year. The Total stations involved in the agreement sell 620,000 cubic meters, Galp said in a statement sent by e-mail.
The move will allow the three companies to increase their market shares elsewhere in Europe without threatening their positions at home. It will also enable Galp to increase its profile in Spain ahead of an initial public offering planned to take place simultaneously in Portugal and Spain by mid-2003.
Total Fina Elf, Europe's third biggest oil company, will continue to operate in Spain through Compania Espanola de Petroleos SA, of which it controls forty five percent. Cepsa shares have gained fifty one percent this year on expectations that Santander Central Hispano SA, Spain's biggest bank, may sell its twenty percent stake in Cepsa to Total.