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AUSTRALIA’S second biggest public company listing went live last Friday as the giant petroleum supply and distribution business Viva Energy put its shares on the stock exchange to value the company at $4.9 billion.

Viva, which bought the assets of Shell including 1165 service stations, pipelines, depots terminals and the Geelong refinery, maintained trader interest when its $2.50 shares opened on its first day at $2.43 a share and crept to $2.47. It settled back this week to around $2.46.

The listing valued the company at about $4.9 billion compared with Medibank Private at $5.7 billion in 2014.

Viva is chaired by former Liberal politician Robert Hill who is now also chairman of Low Carbon Australia and an adjunct professor in sustainability.

It supplies about one-quarter of Australia’s fuel needs.

Viva also owns 38 per cent of the Viva Energy REIT, a property trust that owns most of the service station sites including the bulk of Coles Express service stations.

In its prospectus, Viva said it had revenue of $15.7 billion in the 2017 financial year and expected $16.7 billion in the 2018 financial year.

The company has about 50 per cent of its shares held by its parent, global independent energy commodity trading conglomerate Vitol International.

Vitol bought the Shell assets in 2014 for $2.9 billion. It spent $1 billion upgrading the Geelong refinery and to expand its jet fuel business, including the purchase of 50 per cent of petroleum wholesaler Liberty Oil.

By Neil Dowling