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Sunshine Energy files for court protection for three divisions in Tennessee, Virginia

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

INDEPENDENCE, Kansas -- Less than a year after pulling two financially struggling convenience store companies out of the ashes, Sunshine Energy finds itself in its own dire economic straits, having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for three of its divisions.

The Independence, Kansas-based company reported liabilities of between $1 million and $10 million for each of the three divisions, according to court documents filed yesterday in Greeneville, Ky.

Part of Palm Beach, Fla.-based Florida Sunshine Investmentsa corporation owned by billionaire Jeff GreeneSunshine [image-nocss] Energy picked up Crescent Oil Co Inc. at auction for $11 million, as well as Appalachian Oil Co. (Appco) for $6.25 million, from Titan Holdings Corp., Richardson, Texas, in September 2009. Prior to the deal, Greene was a property owner for some of the Crescent Oil sites operated on a lease basis.

The court documents show each of the divisions filing for bankruptcy protectionSunshine Energy VA I LLC, Sunshine Energy TN I LLC and Sunshine Energy TN II LLChas fewer than 50 creditors and between $1 million and $10 million in estimated assets.

In April, Greene told the Palm Beach Post that Sunshine Energy LLC, which employs more than 1,100 people in 146 gas stations and convenience stores, sells and distributes more than 300 million gallons of gasoline annually. Sales for Sunshine Energy were expected to exceed $1 billion in 2010.

However, earlier this month, the Johnson City Press reported that Appco's original owner had begun repossessing the 28 Appco properties it still controls, starting with a station in Kingsport, Tenn.

"The stores will close as we take possession and will remain closed until another operator commences running the stores," former Appco CEO Jeff Benedict told the newspaper. Benedict still works with longtime Appco owner Jim MacLean, who sold the 58-store chain for $30 million to Titan Global Holdings in September 2007.

Another Tennessee company, Management Properties Inc., retained ownership of more than two dozen of the store properties during Titan's ownership, leasing them back to Titan. Under Titan, Appco declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2009, but MPI retained ownership of those properties, with amended, less expensive leases, after Sunshine Energy took ownership.

(Click here for previous CSP Daily News coverage.)

Steve Holtz, CSP/Winsight By Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News
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