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By Mehgan Belanger
TAYLOR, Mich. -- Fuel distributor and c-store operator Atlas Oil Co. will acquire 33 retail gas stations and convenience stores in southwest Chicago and the surrounding area from BP Products North America Inc.
The purchase "is a continuation of our relationship with BP and the strength of working together," Kelly Kroll, director of marketing for Atlas Oil, told CSNews Online. "[The stores] overlay attractively with the current market space logistics and operations."
As reported in a CSNews Online news flash yesterday, the purchase will bring Atlas' total BP station count in the region to 113, and is scheduled to close in June. Atlas will supply the locations with fuel, and will operate the stores initially, but in the future, may give dealers the opportunity to purchase sites from Atlas or employ another operational model, depending on the location, Kroll said.
The company's focus on Chicago has come from its acquisitions strategy, which over the past several years has brought its from southwest Michigan to Indiana and farther west, Kroll said.
"There's clear operational efficiency for transportation and logistics," he said. "Chicago is still a forward moving market space, and we are behaving like most other organizations and we follow the money."
With the completion of this deal, Atlas will manage the supply of nearly 400 retail locations in total throughout the U.S. In addition, Atlas’ annual distribution of BP fuel will top more than 300,000,000 gallons through this acquisition, making it one of BP's largest distributors, according to the company.
"Atlas Oil Co. has proven to be a great business partner for BP," Sean Daley, vice president Midwest Sales of BP Products North America, said in a statement. "Atlas' distribution, supply management and operational capabilities have given us considerable confidence and trust in their ability to manage these BP branded retail assets in one of the most important Midwest markets for BP and the ampm franchise offer."
But Atlas' growth will not stop soon. By 2015, the company has a distribution goal of 5 billion gallons. Meanwhile, it continues its expansion through purchases such as this, which is the third from BP in a year. Previous transactions include 23 sites in September 2008, and 57 sites in January 2009.
"Despite challenging economic conditions nationally and in our home state of Michigan, we continue to meet our growth objectives in the Midwest market," Mike Evans, executive vice president of business development for Atlas Oil, said in a statement. "Each acquisition expands the markets in which we can prospect for new opportunities, and we look forward to being able to further develop our relationship with BP by converting additional locations to the BP brand."
Kroll added: "In general, recessions are bad for everyone's growth plan, but it does provide some opportunities on the acquisition side, where some costs do go down. When the market is depressed there are bargains to be had."
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