Austrian fuel company OMV has reached an agreement to purchase 70 service stations in Czech Republic from the local arm of UK petrol retailer BP.

OMV, one of the largest oil and gas suppliers in central Europe, signed an agreement with BP on October 5, 2005 to acquire the 70 high-quality Aral service stations in the eastern European state. The value of the deal was not disclosed however figures from Reuters suggest that it could be as much ass $161 million.

The purchase will see OMV taking over the fourth biggest filling station network in the Czech Republic, making it the leading fuel retailer in the Czech filling station market.

The acquisition of the stations raises the number of OMV forecourts in the Czech Republic from 146 to 216. OMV now owns 35 filling stations located on motorways and highways, and 38 in the city of Prague and the surrounding areas.

OMV Deputy CEO Gerhard Roiss said, By acquiring these…service stations we are taking advantage of a crucial growth opportunity in the Czech Republic. We take over a high quality network with excellent efficiency. It will enable us to firmly position the OMV brand. We have been successfully active in the Czech Republic since 1991, and it will continue to be a key market for OMV.