PAPCO Acquires SMO's 'Tidewater Retail Assets'

Purchases 24 stations, supply contracts in core Virginia market from Wills Group subsidiary

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- In a deal that will leverage supply and marketing capabilities in Hampton Roads, Va., PAPCO Inc. has acquired the "Tidewater Retail Assets"--23 Shell-branded gas stations and one Exxon location in southeastern Virginiaand supply contracts--from SMO Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of The Wills Group Inc.

SMO has made a strategic decision to exit this market and reinvest in its other Virginia assets.

"We are very pleased that PAPCO is serving these retail locations," said Lock Wills, president and CEO of The Wills Group. "PAPCO is a dynamic and innovative company that has an outstanding reputation in supplying petroleum retailers. These retail dealers will continue to enjoy the same high quality level of service they have always enjoyed."

After the transaction with PAPCO, SMO will continue its core marketing activities in retail from Richmond, Va., to Wilmington, Del. It operates the Dash In chain of convenience stores.

"We are very excited about the SMO acquisition," said PAPCO president Gary Gilmore. "These retail assets are in our core market in southeastern Virginia and will be a nice addition to our retail portfolio. We look forward to working with this group of retail dealers to continue their ongoing operations and helping them to leverage the supply and marketing strengths of PAPCO."

PAPCO CEO John Malbon added, "This acquisition provides a great advantage for both PAPCO and these Tidewater retail dealers. Our product and service capabilities offer significant value that gives our new customers the flexibility to remain very competitive."

As reported in a Raymond James/CSP Daily News Flash, PAPCO began servicing these sites on Aug. 30. "The transition will be smooth and seamless as customers are integrated into PAPCO's operation," PAPCO finance vice president Beth Johnson said.

Virginia Beach, Va.-based PAPCO is a leading energy supplier in the eastern United States and markets refined fuels, lubricants, risk management products and fuel card fleet management programs to a broad customer base which includes industrial, retail, marine, commercial transportation companies (trucking, transit, railroad, marine) and federal, state and municipal government end users. PAPCO backs their value-added services with its secure fuel supply capabilities through proprietary fuel storage locations and supply agreements with an established network of refiners, pipelines, terminals and transportation providers

Based in LaPlata, Md., SMO and its parent company, The Wills Group, have been in business since 1926. Additionally, SMO serves southern Maryland markets and beyond in home heat, HVAC, commercial fuel.