Caltrex dealers seek QC advice

…CANAG chairman Richard Kaucic said yesterday that a significant number of those had contributed $500 each to a fighting fund set up by CANAG. CANAG has asked Caltex to renegotiate the contracts of each Caltex store not included in the deal, or buy out those franchisees who want to leave. Mr Kaucic said Caltex had refused to recognise CANAG because it was not an official franchise council and, Caltex argued, had no standing within the group.

The West Australian
December 5, 2003

Caltrex dealers seek QC advice
Ruth Williams

HUNDREDS of Caltex franchisees left out in the cold by the oil giant's deal with Woolworths will decide today whether to take legal action over their plight.

A group representing the disgruntled franchisees will meet a Sydney-based QC today after their concerns were greeted with what it described as an unsatisfactory response from Caltex.

The group has registered the name Caltex Ampol National Action Group to represent the franchisees not included in the Caltex-Woolworths discount petrol scheme, which is being rapidly rolled out across Australia.

It is understood that about 500 Caltex franchisees will not be included in the Woolworths deal and CANAG chairman Richard Kaucic said yesterday that a significant number of those had contributed $500 each to a fighting fund set up by CANAG.

CANAG has asked Caltex to renegotiate the contracts of each Caltex store not included in the deal, or buy out those franchisees who want to leave.

Mr Kaucic said Caltex had refused to recognise CANAG because it was not an official franchise council and, Caltex argued, had no standing within the group.

A company spokesman could not be reached for comment. Caltex said in a statement last month it would be disappointed if franchisees were to consider taking legal action and said it would maintain its support of the Caltex and Ampol sites operating outside the Woolworths joint venture.

Caltex sites in Warnbro, Joondalup, Midvale, Mosman Park and Highgate will have been rebranded as Caltex-Woolworths by Saturday, bringing Woolworths' petrol network to almost 350 sites around Australia, about 50 of which were previously Caltex.

Another 80 Caltex sites will be added to the Woolworths network.

The Coles and Woolworths deals give shoppers a 4¢-a-litre discount each time they spend $30 in supermarkets and other stores in the groups. Their deals with Shell and Caltex have radically changed the landscape of Australia's retail petrol industry and left independent operators fearing the fallout.

© 2003 West Australian Newspapers Limited
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