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Mergers & Acquisitions

Private-Equity Firm Establishes 31-Store Retail Platform

Two acquisitions create large regional convenience and fuel network with growth in mind
Photograph courtesy of First Reserve

STAMFORD, Conn. – Private-equity firm First Reserve has created a retail fuel distribution investment platform in the Southeastern United States. The cornerstone of the platform is an agreement to acquire Refuel Inc., a Charleston, S.C.-based retail fuel distribution and convenience-store chain. As its first expansion acquisition for the Refuel brand, First Reserve concurrently has agreed to acquire West Oil Inc., Hartsville, S.C.

Together, these companies have a combined 31 sites, establishing a robust regional footprint. The combined platform creates a profitable, strategically positioned portfolio from which to drive near-term growth, First Reserve said.

Mark Jordan founded Refuel in 2008 and is the five-store chain’s CEO. Jordan has more than 20 years of experience developing, acquiring and operating c-stores and gas stations. He will lead the combined platform along with Chief Administrative Officer Travis Smith. West Oil was founded in 1964, operating 26 locations primarily in northeast South Carolina under the proprietary Markette store and West Oil fuel brands.

“The motivating force behind Refuel’s brand has been a commitment to quality and service on behalf of our customers and employees. We have been proud to partner with and showcase local brands in our convenience stores, while providing premium, quality gas in our pumps,” Jordan said. “I believe the West Oil acquisition represents an opportunity to increase our scale and density in the attractive South Carolina market, and we welcome the West Oil employees to our thriving family. Further, I am excited to partner with First Reserve to continue to accelerate our growth strategy and deliver for our communities.”

Gary Reaves and Neil Wizel, managing directors of First Reserve, said, “First Reserve has a history of backing experienced management teams with strong middle-market platforms to drive growth and create value for our stakeholders. We are pleased to partner with Mark Jordan and Travis Smith to establish a new platform in what we believe is the highly fragmented retail fuel distribution sector. Under their leadership, we believe Refuel, in part powered by the synergies of the combination with West Oil, is well-positioned for expansion in an attractive regional market.”

The transactions are expected to close in the first half of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions. The parties did not disclose the financial details of the transactions.

Stamford, Conn.-based First Reserve is a global private-equity investment firm focused exclusively on the energy sector. The firm has raised approximately $31 billion of aggregate capital since its inception 35 years ago. First Reserve has completed more than 650 transactions. Its portfolio companies have operated on six continents, spanning the energy spectrum from upstream oil and gas to midstream and downstream, including resources, equipment and services and associated infrastructure.

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