Metis Capital Sale of U.S. Stations Moving Forward

Report names Australian gas/c-store retailer United Petroleum as would-be buyer

Tel AVIV, Israel & ABBOTSFORD, Victoria -- Investment house Metis Capital Ltd. is moving forward on the sale of its stake in Petro Group Ltd., which owns 350 gas stations in the United States, to Australian gas station and convenience store operator United Petroleum Pty Ltd., according to a report in Israeli newspaper Globes.

Tel Aviv, Israel-based Metis Capital, the holding company of Petro Group Ltd., the parent company of GPM Investments, has been in talks to sell Petro Group to an Australian gas station operator, David McComas, CEO of GPM, told CSP Daily News earlier this month when reports of a possible deal first surfaced. Mechanicsville, Va.-based GPM owns and operates the Fas Mart and Shore Stop c-store chains.

"This would be the fourth or fifth time holding ownership of the company has changed hands since 2003," McComas said at the time, stressing that with each ownership change there has been no change to Fas Mart's operations. "The difference this time is that [the potential buyer] is in the convenience store business in Australia." McComas said. "It's an industry player and they know the business. So it could be good for the operating business."

McComas would not identify the potential buyer at the time.

Abbotsford, Victoria-based United Petroleum operates in all states and territories in Australia, engaged in petroleum retailing, convenience store retailing, franchising, wholesale of petroleum products and LPG, construction of gas stations and other building projects. It operates a network of more than 200 gas stations and convenience stores, with plans to expand further, the company said on its website.

It also said that it was the first independent oil company in Australia to introduce ethanol-enhanced fuel, such as PLUS ULP, BOOST 98 and PREMIUM 100, with E85 coming soon.

United Petroleum was founded by and is led by directors Eddie Hirsch and Avi Silver.

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