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    Crown Central Sells 150 Gas Stations, Convenience Stores

    Firm is to sell or close last 10 outlets by July 31.

    BALTIMORE -- Crown Central Petroleum Corp. sold more than 150 gasoline stations and convenience stores in Maryland and Virginia, reported the Baltimore Sun.

    The price of the sale to Petroleum Marketing Investment Group LLC was not disclosed.

    Baltimore-based Crown expects to sell or close the fewer than 10 stations it still owns by the end of the month, officials said. Local consumers aren't likely to detect a change from the sale to Petroleum Marketing.

    "Certainly, as far as the Maryland stations go, there is virtually no change in the operation," said Andrew Lapayowker, vice president, general counsel and secretary for Crown. "The same independent dealers that were operating them are still operating them."

    The Virginia outlets are to be operated by E&C Enterprises Inc., an affiliate of Petroleum Marketing. E&C runs gasoline and convenience outlets in metropolitan Washington.

    Crown began selling off its gas stations and convenience stores in various parcels, in March 2003, Lapayowker said. It also sold its terminals and currently is negotiating the sale of its two refineries. Lapayowker would provide no estimate for when that transaction might be completed.

    Crown, which went private in 2001, owes $125 million in debt, which comes due Feb. 1, 2005. It is unclear whether the bondholders will get back all of their money. "If we have the cash to do it, we will pay it back at 100 cents on the dollar," Lapayowker said.

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