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    Giant Oil to Acquire Ohio BP Stations

    The 32 company-owned stations will remain BP-branded. Meanwhile, BP helps launch a redevelopment program in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

    DAYTON, Ohio -- Giant Oil Inc., a c-store operator and wholesale fuel distributor based in Tampa, plans to acquire all of BP's company operated service stations in the market here by year end, the Ohio-based Dayton Business Journal reported.

    Giant, which operates nine retail stores in Florida and Ohio, and a distribution business in the Sunshine State, holds a contract to purchase the 32 sites in Ohio and would take over their operations in November or December, if all goes as planned, Giant's owner, Basem Ali, told the Journal.

    Plans for the stations include a renovation and expansion of the convenience stores at older locations, the report stated. Ali declined to discuss the level of investment in the sites, as well as the cost of the purchase, the report stated.

    As part of the agreement, Giant will keep the BP banners at the stations, Valerie Corr, a spokeswoman for BP, told the paper. In addition, Giant will supply fuel to several local independent BP-branded stations, the report stated. Corr added that the move was a part of the company's review of its site network.

    "This is not necessarily a template for what's going to happen everywhere, but for this market it was the right thing," Corr said. "We see sales like this as a growth strategy because these are people who are very experienced."

    In addition, Giant Oil plans to break into another market in Ohio, as Ali sees growth on the horizon, the paper stated. The company operates stores in the Akron and Canton, Ohio regions.

    "We feel there's a growth around the I-75 corridor and we're hoping that down the road [the economy] will change," Ali told the paper. "We evaluated the properties and opportunities and we would like to be positioned in those areas."

    The move is par for the course for major oil companies such as BP, Roger Dreyer, president of the Ohio Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, told the paper.

    "I think that everything is for sale in Ohio," Dreyer said. "Major oil companies are oil companies, not convenience store people."

    In other BP news, the National Urban League and BP Foundation created the Gulf Coast Economic Empowerment Program with a $3.2 million grant to help small and minority-owned businesses become a part of the rebuilding effort in New Orleans and surrounding areas, the company reported.

    The program, which offers training and resource support, allows businesses to secure contracting opportunities in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in the housing and construction industries.

    To get involved with the program, business owners can attend the National Urban League's Gulf Coast Economic Empowerment Tour, being held from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. today in the New Orleans Marriott Hotel. The tour is powered by BP and co-sponsored by the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, the company stated. During the presentation, attendees will learn about accessing contracting opportunities created by the recovery, meet with representatives of government agencies and corporations who plan and manage major rebuilding projects; receive matchmaking prospects; and participate in one-on-one networking sessions.

    Speakers at the event include Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of BP America; Bob Malone, president of BP America; and Nolan Rollins, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans.

    In addition, the program will provide consultations and recommendations to improve attendees' businesses, back office operations, technical assistance, tailored services and assessments along with periodic reviews, the company stated.

    The Gulf Coast Economic Empowerment Program is free to small and minority-owned businesses, and registration is required. Interested parties can call (504) 529-9890 or visit www.nul.org.

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