Mergers & Acquisitions

Refuel Embarks on Latest Acquisition

Retailer adds 11 company-owned Fast Break c-stores, hires new COO
Logo courtesy of Refuel

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Refuel Operating Co. LLC has closed on the acquisition of certain assets of Embark Energy LLC. The transaction includes 11 company-owned and -operated conveniences stores in the greater Austin, Texas, market operating under the Fast Break brand, along with four company-owned, dealer-operated locations.

Refuel, a retail and wholesale fuel distribution and convenience-store business, is a portfolio company of First Reserve, a global private equity investment firm with a focus on the energy and industrial value chains.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Based in Austin, Texas, Embark, a wholesale and retail fuel distribution and c-store chain, was founded in 1996 by current owners Ismail Ali, Iqbal Ali and Mohammed Ali.

“The Ali family has built a wonderful company in an incredible market over the past 26 years. We are extremely excited to expand our current footprint in the high-growth Central Texas market and look forward to welcoming Embark’s employees to the Refuel family,” Mark Jordan, CEO of Refuel, said.

In a joint statement, Mohammed Ali and Iqbal Ali said, “We are grateful to our loyal customers and team members for their support and dedication for over two decades. Our family and business partners are excited for our team members to join a dynamic organization like Refuel to continue their personal and professional growth. Embark was purposeful in choosing Refuel as a steward of our family assets and we have been impressed by the care exhibited during each step of our journey. We cannot imagine a better partner as Refuel has similar operating values and commitment to our dedicated employees and loyal customers.”

The transaction represents the 11th acquisition for Refuel since establishing the partnership with First Reserve in May 2019, bringing total store count to 185 company operated locations across Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, South Carolina and North Carolina.

  • Refuel is No. 64 on CSP’s 2021 Top 202 ranking of c-store chains by store count. Watch for the full 2022 Top 202 ranking in the June issue of CSP magazine and in CSP Daily News.

In April 2020, Refuel completed the purchase of Double Quick Inc., bringing its store count to 83. In November 2020, it agreed to buy the assets of Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Holmes Oil Inc., including the Cruizers c-store chain.

In June 2021, Refuel closed on the acquisition, announced in May, of Wag-A-Bag LLC, which has 18 c-stores in Texas. In August 2021, Refuel entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of Albemarle Oil Co., including 28 ALCO c-stores in North Carolina and South Carolina. And in September 2021, it entered into a deal to acquire the assets of Action Fuels LP, including 9 Buck’s c-stores in Texas.

In other company news, Refuel has hired Tim Rupp as chief operating officer effective April 25, 2022. Rupp joins Refuel after spending 31 years at Speedway, Marathon’s U.S. c-store segment, which operated more than 3,900 locations prior to its sale to Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Inc. in 2021. While at Speedway, Rupp held a variety of leadership roles including most recently senior vice president of merchandise and marketing and spent the past year assisting 7-Eleven with the integration of the Speedway acquisition.

“I am incredibly pleased that Tim has joined our senior leadership team,” said Jordan. “He is a talented executive who has spent his career operating in the convenience industry at one of the largest chains in the United States. As we continue to execute our growth strategy, Tim will be instrumental in ensuring that we continue to deliver strong performance and a high-quality experience for our customers.”

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