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GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -- Final court approval was given to sell the assets of Appalachian Oil Co. Inc. (Appco) of Blountsville, Tenn., which is currently navigating Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, according to a statement by NRC Realty Advisors, the agency handling the sale.
As first reported earlier this week by CSNews Online in an exclusive interview with Andy Weber, chief restructuring officer of Appco and an officer of NRC leading its merger and acquisitions group, the final court approval was scheduled for June 10, and at that time a sale package was ready for distribution through NRC.
"NRC Realty Advisors has done an outstanding job adapting to the changing dynamics of the company and presenting the opportunity for our buyers," Weber told CSNews Online earlier this week, adding NRC has been ready for the sale since early May, but he had to get consensus and agreement among the constituencies in Appco, including various landlords, senior lenders and the committee of unsecured creditors.
"Bankruptcy is the ultimate environment for negotiation, and we have had a lot of opportunity in that regard during this case," he said.
The most recent court action designates NRC Realty Advisors LLC, as the agent to execute the sale of 47 gasoline stations and convenience stores—all of which are leasehold properties—operated by Appco in northeastern Tennessee, southwestern Virginia and eastern Kentucky. Also approved were the sale procedures and NRC’s accelerated sales schedule, the company stated.
Under the terms, Appco’s stations will be offered for sale in a "buy one, some or all" format, where 26 stores were subdivided into small groups of stores operating under six regional master leases. Bids on master lease stores must include all stores within each regional master lease.
NRC, Appco, Appco’s creditors and the bankruptcy court expect to move quickly in evaluating all bids and accepting bids, according to NRC's statement. All sales are expected to close within 10 days of court approval.
Weber told CSNews the sale of the stores has generated "amazingly strong interest" from both large and small operators.
"I think buyers realize the store assets are of good quality and in good shape, and that Appco's challenges were driven more by capital structure and owner/lender relationships than anything else," he said, adding later: "Appco management performed admirably under a challenging situation, and the stores themselves were not the problem."
While a single buyer would provide the best opportunity for Appco employees to transition to new employment, the chain is being marketed in a way that also allows a small entrepreneur to leverage his or her local market knowledge, and regional operators could use their scale to dramatically increase their bottom line, Weber explained.
"The sales process approved by the court provides Appco with the opportunity to explore a single transaction and a series of smaller sales. I have an obligation and fiduciary responsibility to maximize a sale value for the benefit of those creditors involved in the case," he said.
A confidential information memorandum will be available to interested bidders today, and will contain information on the sealed bid procedures and property information, including store attributes, financial summaries and lease information, according to NRC.
Also available is an online "Virtual Deal Room" for prospective buyers to use in evaluating individual stores and bid preparation. The VDR includes standard due diligence information and a copy of the purchase and sale agreement, NRC stated.
Final bids are due to later than July 9. A complete list of stores is available online at www.nrc.com/906, or by calling (800) 747-3342, ext. 906.
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