Atlas Adds BP Sites

Purchases 23 locations; some slated for ampm conversion

TAYLOR, Mich. -- As reported yesterday in a CSP Daily News Flash, BP Products North America confirmed that it has sold 23 BP-branded retail sites in Lake County in northwest Indiana to Taylor, Mich.-based Atlas Oil Co. The sale is scheduled to close in the fall and includes retail locations owned by BP, several dealer-supplied sites and an agreement allowing Atlas to operate several sites on the Indiana toll road.

As part of this transaction, Atlas will convert a number of the retail sites to the ampm brand, which was recently introduced to the Chicago metropolitan area. Atlas will operate [image-nocss] the sites from its South Bend, Ind., headquarters.

This agreement is the first BP Jobber Supplied Franchise agreement reached east of the Rockies following BP 's announcement that it would be moving most of its direct-supplied marketing areas to jobber supplied.

"Utilizing BP's fuel brand and the ampm franchise program will allow Atlas to further build upon our reputation in the marketing areas in which we supply and operate," said Atlas Oil CEO Sam Simon in a press release.

In mid-January, Atlas Oil acquired the five Battle Creek, Mich.-area gas station-convenience stores of R & J Inc. has folded that company into its own retail segment. Previously, the company also rebranded two other locations in Dexter and Chelsea, Mich., just west of Ann Arbor, to BP as part of a new branding agreement with BP. Through this agreement, Atlas Oil has begun branding BP outlets throughout Michigan and Indiana.

"We are confident that our team will help facilitate growth of the BP brand while adding to our existing brand deck that includes Clark, CITGO, Marathon, Phillips, Fast Track and WOW," said Simon when the deal was announced in December.

"This expansion with BP is exactly what we've been working toward since we became a BP Jobber in 2007," Simon said of the current deal. "We are excited to continue to grow with BP and the ampm franchise."

Atlas, a unit of Simon Holdings, currently owns 40 gas stations and is the chief gasoline supplier to more than 300 retail outlets in 10 states (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Georgia, Florida and Minnesota), as well as being a regional ground fuels supplier to FedEx Corp. and several trucking companies. The company is also the franchisor of Fast Track, its own retail brand of gas stations in the Midwest. Fast Track Ventures purchases stations, office buildings and vacant land and resells those parcels. It works with Atlas Oil to purchase the stations and resell them, allowing Atlas to secure long-term supply contracts.