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    Atlas Oil Finalizes Details of Fusion Oil Purchase

    Three of its four Sunoco locations will be rebranded BP, Marathon or Clark.

    TAYLOR, Mich. -- Atlas Oil Co., petroleum distributor and operator of more than 40 convenience stores, has finalized agreements to acquire four Detroit-area locations from the bankruptcy proceedings of Romulus, Mich.-based Fusion Oil.

    CSNews Online exclusively reported on Jan. 24 that the company expected to finalize purchase agreements on Jan. 28.

    "They were very good sites. There were quite a few locations available, and we really tried to pick better locations," Mike Evans, Atlas Oil's executive vice president of business development, told CSNews Online last month. "The Michigan market and economy is fairly tough and operations are kind of difficult, so we wanted to focus on real good pieces of real estate with long-term viable assets."

    Three of the four Sunoco-branded locations are closed and will be rebranded to BP, Marathon or Clark prior to reopening, while the one open location will continue under the current independent operator, Evans told CSNews Online last month.

    Fusion Oil's 41 stores in Michigan and Ohio were sold as part of a bankruptcy proceeding against the oil marketer by Comerica Bank, CSNews Online reported in January, citing a Monroenews.com report from July 2007. The Georgia-based auction firm, Tranzon LLC, handled the sale of the properties, the report stated.

    This acquisition follows another five-location purchase by Atlas Oil from R & J Inc., which was completed in early January. Those Battle Creek, Mich., area stores will switch from the CITGO banner to BP, CSNews Online reported. All remaining employees at the five stores were merged into Atlas' operations.

    Both acquisitions are part of the company's two-pronged growth strategy.

    "There will be two to three new-to-industry stores we look to build this year. There will be a couple of remodels going on at sites -- some are old Clark locations, some are old Shell sites," Evans said in January. "Some we'll buy through acquisitions."

    Atlas does not have a set model for store acquisitions, according to Evans, and instead, the company looks at where the seller is positioned and "if we think it can perform better or in a different business model than what is being operated in today." He also noted that there is a possibility to acquire 20 to 30 locations at one time.

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