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    Williams Cos. Sells Alaska C-Stores, Refinery

    Holiday Stationstores, Koch Industries pick up assets.

    TULSA, Okla. -- Williams Cos., based here, has agreed to sell 26 convenience stores, a refinery and an interest in the trans-Alaska pipeline for $265 million in cash.

    Holiday Cos., the Bloomington, Minn.-based operator of 270 corporately owned and 56 franchised Holiday Stationstores in 11 states, will be picking up 26 Williams Express stores, according to reports by the Associated Press and bizjournals.com.

    Koch Industries' Flint Hills Resources, based in Wichita, Kansas, which is buying Williams' North Pole, Alaska, refinery, will supply the c-stores. Holiday and Flint Hills work together in the upper Midwest market, with Holiday Stationstores having an exclusive arrangement to sell Blue Planet gasoline, a low-sulfur fuel. Koch Alaska Pipeline Co. is buying Williams's 3.0845-percent interest in the pipeline.

    "We've taken command of our finances and our future," said Williams's chairman, president and CEO Steve Malcolm. "Our asset sales have served to build a healthier Williams. We have recently completed the early retirement of $950 million in debt."

    The oil company has sold more than $8 billion in assets since December 2001 in a plan to improve its balance sheet and refocus on its natural gas business, according to the Associated Press report.

    The deals are expected to close in the first quarter of 2004, pending approval by the Federal Trade Commission, Regulatory Commission of Alaska and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. The Alaska Legislature must also approve the Flint Hills' crude supply contract with the state.

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