DALLAS -- Empire Petroleum Partners LLC and Usher Transport Inc. have acquired the consignment and wholesale motor-fuels supply businesses and the related fuels transportation assets of Superior Transport Inc., doing business as STi Fuels, a petroleum marketer serving the three-state market of northern Alabama, northwestern Georgia and southern Tennessee.
The addition of the STi's customers' provides Empire Petroleum with coverage of the entire state of Georgia adding to an existing footprint in the Atlanta market and southcentral Georgia. In addition, Empire adds to its existing portfolio in Alabama and Tennessee and further increases Empire's existing supplier partnerships with Shell and BP.
Based in Rome, Ga., STi distributes more than 75 million gallons of motor fuels annually through more than 120 consignment and dealer supply accounts.
STi was initially the wholesale and transportation division of D&D Oil Co. Inc., doing business as Cowboys Food Mart. In 2002, STi was incorporated into a new entity and operated as a sister company to D&D Oil until the sale of the Cowboys Food Mart chain to The Pantry Inc. in 2004. STi continued to haul fuels for The Pantry after the Cowboys sale; over the next four years, it built a large common carrier business with 78 transports hauling fuels in four states.
In 2008, STi sold its common carrier business to the Kenan Advantage Group Inc. to focus exclusively on building its retail and wholesale motor fuels operations. The company was primarily an unbranded marketer and developed its own Hi-Tech fuel brand to offer customers a fuel image coupled with the lower costs of unbranded fuel.
Over the past several years, the company has grown significantly under the leadership of president and co-owner Don Newton, co-owner Jarrett Shadday and CFO Kevin Bush. At the time of the sale to Empire Petroleum, STi retailed fuels through 47 consignment accounts and supplied wholesale fuels to 77 customers. It marketed most of its fuels through the proprietary Hi-Tech and Smile brands, and the company also supplied unbranded fuels to customers using their own flags.
STi supplied six Shell sites and 11 BP sites and was a jobber for both companies, and the company operated a trucking division that hauled fuel to its consignment and wholesale sites in Georgia and Tennessee. The company also has a commercial fuels business operating as Enterprise Oil Co., which will continue to operate and grow this business.
"Empire is very pleased to add STi's high-volume dealer base to its existing distributor network with this acquisition. The quality of dealers associated with STi enhances our existing Georgia network with a portfolio now stretching across the entire state. Sti Fuels has been a fixture in all facets of the fuel business for decades to include, retail, wholesale, development and transportation, and being able to acquire these customers is a welcome addition to Empire's network," said Michael O'Brien, Empire's vice president of market development.
"This is a continually evolving industry and Empire Petroleum has the resources and personnel to help our customers continue to grow and develop,” said Newton. “It is never easy to let go of something that you have built, but we feel Empire was the best choice to turn the company over to. Empire is hiring STi's sales and maintenance force which will help ensure a smooth and seamless transition."
Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc., Richmond, Va., provided merger and acquisition advisory services to STi, which included valuation advisory, marketing the business through a confidential, structured sale process and negotiation of the transaction. Vance Saunders, director, and Tom Kelso, managing director and principal, managed the transaction. Kyle Profilet, analyst, also advised on the transaction.
Dallas-based Empire Petroleum is a motor-fuels distributor of brands that include Chevron, Shell, Valero, ConocoPhillips, Marathon, CITGO, Texaco, Sunoco, BP, Exxon, Mobil and Gulf. It distributes motor-fuel products to more than 1,400 gas stations in 27 states in the mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest and Midwest.