BP plans to sell Duckhams

Wednesday 23 February 2011 14:49

Oil giant BP today announced plans to sell Duckhams, the engine lubricants brand it has owned for around 40 years.

BP has begun the search for buyers for the Duckhams and Veedol brands as it focuses on its other makes of lubricant, including Castrol.

Duckhams has been in production for more than 100 years and is perhaps best known for Duckhams Hypergrade and for teaming up with the Formula 1 Lotus team.

Veedol is not as well known in the UK, but was the motor oil chosen by Henry Ford to lubricate the world's first mass-produced car, the Model T Ford.

Des Johnson, global brand director for BP and Castrol, said: "Both these brands are world famous and millions of motorists across the world have at one time or another used these brands for their cars, bikes or trucks."

The sell-off is not connected to BP's ongoing asset sale to pay for clean-up and compensation costs following the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Duckhams was invented in 1899 by Alexander Duckham and worked with the Morris and Wolsey car manufacturers in the UK.

BP bought Duckhams in about 1970 and promoted its products by sponsoring the Lotus Formula 1 team in 1975, while Hypergrade oil was advertised on TV.

Duckhams is currently sold in the UK, Ireland and Malaysia, although it is no longer widely advertised as BP moves customers towards its Castrol and BP brands.

Veedol, which is sold in Australia and India, also has an illustrious past, having sponsored the Miss Veedol plane which made the first non-stop flight across the Pacific Ocean.

BP has set a deadline of March 12 for any parties interested in buying the brands, and hopes to complete a sale by the end of this year.

The oil giant aims to sell 30 billion US dollars (£18.5 billion) of assets as part of its pledge to compensate the victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

It yesterday revealed plans to sell its Wytch Farm terminal - the biggest onshore oil field in Western Europe - and all operated gas fields in the southern North Sea.

A spokesman for BP said the UK sell-off was not driven by compensation goals and was focused on a restructuring of its UK portfolio.

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