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    Corner Capital Closes Innovative Credit Transaction, Adds Staff

    Deal involves the sale of more $70 million worth of convenience store assets; Carl Ray Polk Jr. joins firm.

    SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Corner Capital Partners LLC, an investment banking firm focusing on all aspects of the downstream energy and convenience store industries, announced the successful closing of an innovative credit transaction with Fifth Third Bank, an Ohio corporation.

    The deal involved the valuation and sale of more than $70 million in mortgages, working capital loans and other real estate loans, primarily comprising convenience retailing assets. Silverstone Partners LLC of Cincinnati, Ohio, partnered with Corner Capital on the transaction.

    Corner Capital founder Andy Weber told CSNews Online that the deal includes "a whole potpourri of convenience store assets, including independently operated dealers and jobbers, a variety of brands and both operating and closed sites."

    To complete the project, the Corner Capital team determined the estimated value of the collateral and conducted on-site evaluations of the real estate, evaluated the value of the loans and secured strategic and financial investors interested in the loans and the collateral.

    "It was not a traditional engagement," Weber explained. "It included the complicated, detailed evaluation of nationally distributed, geographically diverse performing and non-performing loans."

    Corner Capital completed the credit transaction on behalf of Fifth Third Bank, which is Cincinnati's largest bank and was recently ranked the seventh strongest bank in the world by Bloomberg. It was one of only three U.S. banks in the top 20.

    "Our expertise in the industry let us do something outside of the box," Weber said of the transaction. "We are pleased that we exceeded the bank's expectations, and that we were given the opportunity to demonstrate our unique knowledge of the industry and its underlying values."

    Corner Capital also announced three new additions to its staff, bringing its combined experience in transaction financing, investment banking, private equity, refining and marketing management, and energy business ownership to more than 100 years.

    Carl Ray Polk Jr. joined the company as a principal. Polk has more than 23 years of industry experience as the former executive vice president of Brookshire Brothers Ltd., and the former owner and CEO of Polk Oil Co. Inc., both of Lufkin, Texas. He is the past board chair of the Texas Petroleum Marketers Association, a member of Coca-Cola's National Retailers Council, and served on several national committees for NACS -- the Association for Convenience and Petroleum Retailing. Polk is a third-generation retailer, wholesaler and lubricants jobber.

    In addition, Jerry Richards joined Corner Capital as senior vice president, business development, to build out the firm's financial engineering practice. Richards brings operational and financial expertise, with more than 30 years of achievements at Exxon, Texaco, Getty, CitiCapital Franchise Finance and GE Capital.

    The company also said Ellen Galperson Lehto will now serve as director of credit markets. With a robust background in underwriting, structuring and institutional relationships, Lehto will work closely with clients and institutions to meet the diverse needs of Corner Capital's wholesale retail, and institutional client engagements. Prior to joining Corner Capital, Lehto held credit management positions with FMAC, Merrill Lynch Franchise Finance and GE Capital.

    Corner Capital has offices in California and Texas.


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