Wakefield Buys BPs Toronto Plant


Castrol distributor Wakefield Canada has agreed to purchase the Castrol Canada blending and packaging plant in Toronto from BP Lubricants USA. The acquisition cost was not disclosed.

BP Lubricants earlier this year said it would explore options for the Toronto facility, and Wakefield was one of several parties to submit proposals. BP Lubricants signed a non-binding letter of intent with Wakefield. The two companies have worked since then to reach an agreement.

For us its a case of better efficiencies, BP Canada spokeswoman Hejdi Feick told Lube Report. We were already working strategically with Wakefield. They were our marketing and distribution arm for our Castrol brand in Canada, so it just made sense to further the relationship and the partnership that way.

Under the agreement, Wakefield will assume ownership of the plant and manufacturing responsibility for the plant, blending and packaging most Castrol products for the Canadian marketplace. Wakefield will continue to have exclusivity on sales, marketing and distribution of Castrol consumer and commercial lubricants in Canada.

David Fifield, Wakefield Canadas chief operating officer, said the blending plant, which will be Wakefields first, has an estimated capacity of 150,000 metric tons per year. He highlighted the sites geographic appeal.

Its located in Toronto, which is very central in Canadas largest lubricant market, Fifield told Lube Report. Ontario is about 42 percent of the market here, and Toronto is the largest population center in the country. The other thing worth noting is that our offices are probably no more than a couple hundred yards from the plant.

The plant is also not far from Suncors Petro-Canada base oil plant in Mississauga. From a supply chain perspective, its in the right place, he continued.

BP Lubricants will continue to retain ownership of the facility and operations during a transitional period during which the two companies will work together closely to ensure a seamless transition to Wakefield ownership at some point during mid year 2010.

About 40 to 50 people work at the Toronto manufacturing facility, Fifield said, adding, its anticipated the vast majority of those folks will be coming over as part of the Wakefield organization.

Wakefield began operations in July 2005 after signing a strategic partnership with BP.

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