Texaco service station operator agrees to stop selling rival’s fuel

A Texaco service station operator has agreed to stop selling a rival’s fuel, the High Court heard yesterday.

John Cuddihy and his company Daymount is prepared to order a minimum of 20,000 litres of Texaco fuel for the Douglas Service Station in Cork, which he operates under licence from oil distributor Valero Energy (Ireland) Ltd, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy was told.

On March 6 last, notices appeared in the service station stating that “due to a legal dispute with Texaco, we have had to source our motor fuel from an alternative supplier,” the High Court heard.

The notices also said that the fuel was being bought “at a more favourable rate than previously and we have passed on this saving to you at the pumps.”

The undertaking to put in minimum orders of 20,000 litres came after a day-long hearing in which the fuel distributor sought an injunction preventing the Valero-owned service station from selling any fuel other than that supplied by Valero.

The court heard Valero had sought an order that Mr Cuddihy comply with the terms of the operating licence given to him by the fuel distributor, which requires he only put in for minimum orders of 30,000 litres.

Following the offer to order a minimum of 20,000 litres, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy adjourned the injunction matter for the terms to be handed into court today.

The court heard there are separate proceedings over payment by the defendants of the annual licence fee to Valero for the operation of the station.

Mr Cuddihy had claimed Valero was charging him higher rates than other Valero licensees in a move “deliberately designed to put us out of business” — a claim denied by the fuel distributor.

Valero said prices vary in a competitive market so that at any given time it may well be that a better price can be obtained, but this has very little to do with the normal arrangement for supply on an ongoing basis to a retailer.


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