Victory Petroleum Grows

Acquires real-estate, fuel distribution rights to 38 Miami Mobil sites; 7-Eleven update

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

MIAMI -- Coming just one day after 7-Eleven Inc. announced that it is acquiring 183 Exxon Mobil Corp. sites in Florida, Victory Petroleum Inc. has announced that it has expanded its retail network in southern Florida with an agreement to acquire the real-estate interests and fuel distribution rights in 38 ExxonMobil company- and dealer-operated gas stations located in Miami.

As reported yesterday in a Morgan Keegan/CSP Daily News Flash, the agreement between Victory Petroleum and ExxonMobil also includes the distribution rights to three dealer-owned sites.

Victory [image-nocss] Petroleum will retain the Mobil brand at all of the stations purchased, it said.

The company did not disclose the deal's price tag, citing a confidentiality agreement.

"It is a great opportunity for our company," Arturo Zizold, Victory Petroleum vice president, told CSP Daily News. We have been growing the last two or three years, selectively. We have been an Exxon Mobil distributor for several years, and in my opinion, this is a premier portfolio of gas stations in this market. We're a multi-branded company--we also work with Chevron and Valero. But the most attractive portfolio in this market is the Exxon Mobil one that was for sale."

He added that the stations "are a great fit" with Victory Petroleum's existing retail network, geographically and in terms of business model. Based in Miami, Victory currently supplies fuel to sites in southern Florida.

"There is a combination of company-operated and dealer-operated sites, which is how we operate right now. We own close to 50 of the 75 sites that we supply gas to," said Zizold.

The company's president, Carlos Fontecilla, has been involved in aspects of the petroleum industry since 1989, ranging from development of new-to-industry sites to fuel distribution to retailing.

All of the sites are fully upgraded in terms of tanks and infrastructure, as well as the convenience stores. "That is another reason this portfolio was so attractive to us," Zizold added.

As for future acquisitions, Victory Petroleum is "looking at several targets; we have already started discussions with a few," said Zizold. "We continue to look for growth opportunities."

Irving, Texas-based ExxonMobil confirmed that it has reached an agreement with Victory Petroleum to sell the sites, all in Miami/Dade County.

"We expect this to be transparent to customers who frequent these sites; customers can expect the same high-quality Mobil products," ExxonMobil spokesperson Kristen A. Hellmer told CSP Daily News.Hellmer also confirmed that Dallas-based 7-Eleven "will purchase 169 sites in Orlando, Southwest Florida, Palm Beach and Broward and nine dealer-owned sites [and five unused parcels of land] will transition to 7-Eleven." (Click here for previous CSP Daily News coverage of the deal.)

She added that both transactions are "consistent with the June 2008 announcement that ExxonMobil would be transitioning out of the direct-served (i.e., dealer- and company-operated) retail business in U.S. markets. This includes the conversion of a majority of markets to branded distributor to build on the strength our current distributor network."

Meanwhile, Noritoshi Murata, president of Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd., the Tokyo-based parent company of 7-Eleven, said in a Notice Regarding Acquisition of Exxon Mobil's Retail Interests that "7-Eleven Inc.'s acquisition of the retail interests will contribute to higher revenues and profits from convenience store operations in the United States and Canada in two principal ways: 1.) Florida is one of the key areas for store openings in the United States and Canada. The acquisition will enhance customer recognition of 7-Eleven by advancing the concentration of the 7-Eleven network in Florida. 2.) The acquisition will boost the efficiency of 7-Eleven Inc.'s infrastructure--including fresh food production facilities and joint distribution network--and increase store profitability."

He added that he expected the deal in the Sunshine State to close on March 31, 2011.