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Canada’s competition watchdog says Shell Canada Ltd. has agreed to divest some of its western assets to advance its $100-million deal to buy gas stations from an affiliate of grocery giant Empire Co. Ltd EMP-A-T.

The Competition Bureau says it concluded the energy company’s plan to buy 56 gas stations from Sobeys Capital Inc. would likely lessen or prevent competition in three markets in Alberta and British Columbia.

To resolve the concerns, the bureau says Shell SHEL-N and its affiliate Canadian Mobility Services Ltd. will divest assets in Brooks, Alta., and in Fort St. John and Mission, B.C.

The bureau say Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell is satisfied that the divestment agreement will address the competition issues that were likely to result from the proposed transaction.

Shell struck a deal in December to buy all of Sobeys’ Western Canadian gas stations, saying the agreement would help it grow its retail fuel footprint across the country.

Shell supplies fuel to about 1,383 gas stations across Canada, while Sobeys owns about 391 stations and convenience stores.

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