Company News

Sentry Lets its Guard Down

Auctions 23 stores to The Pantry as part of selloff

SANFORD, N.C. -- As The Pantry Inc. continues a small-scale store-buying spree, the owners of Angus Hines Inc. look forward to some downtime once the sale of its 53 convenience stores and other business ventures is complete. We're selling our heating-oil company and our convenience stores and getting out of the business, Bob Story, vice president and co-owner of Angus Hines Inc., Suffolk, Va., told CSP Daily News. My boss is 82 [years old], and I'm 62, so we're retiring.

The Pantry helped Story move in that direction yesterday by purchasing 23 of those [image-nocss] Sentry Food Marts, as reported in a CSP Daily News Flash. That makes 79 stores that The Pantry, led by president and CEO Peter Sodini, has purchased so far in 2005.

We are pleased to announce this acquisition, which we believe complements our existing base of 30 stores in Virginia very well, Sodini said.

The 23 stores generated total revenue of approximately $122 million in 2004, according to Sodini. The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, is expected to close in The Pantry's fourth fiscal quarter. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Recent purchases by The Pantryincluding 53 Cowboys stores in April and three stores in Charleston, S.C., in May from an unidentified sellerare being financed with a combination of cash on hand, the remaining proceeds from the previously disclosed forward-equity sale agreement completed in October 2004 and lease financing.

This transaction is consistent with our tuck-in acquisition strategy, which is focused on high-volume stores that enhance our market presence, Sodini said. [The purchase] is expected to be immediately accretive to our earnings per share.

The sale leaves 30 Sentry Food Marts in Virginia and North Carolina still on the auction block. Matrix Capital Markets Group, Richmond, Va., is handling the auction process. Most of the stores are owned in fee and are being sold with the real estate included; others are subject to long-term leases. The majority of the stores sell gasoline under a variety of brands, including CITGO, Exxon, Shell and a proprietary Sentry brand.

The Matrix Capital website said the winning bidders of the remaining sites will be selected on Monday, June 20.

Headquartered in Sanford, N.C., The Pantry is a major independently operated c-store chain in the southeastern United States and one of the largest independently operated c-store chains in the country with net sales for fiscal 2004 of approximately $3.5 billion. As of June 2, 2005, the company operated 1,390 stores in 11 states under a number of banners, including Kangaroo Express, The Pantry, Golden Gallon, Cowboys and Lil Champ Food Store.

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