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Alon Growth Continues

JERUSALEM -- In a move that could portend additional growth in the United States, Alon Israel Oil Co. said it is expanding retail operations in Israel with the construction of commercial centers adjacent to its convenience stores.

Alon plans to use the centers to grow the brands of its strategic partners, such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Segafredo Cafes and Burger King.

Additionally, Alon plans to include Super Alonit convenience stores in these centers. The stores, which are a joint venture between the fuel company and Supersol, are the fourth largest retail chain in Israel, with 40 branches in operation and 11 more to open this year at a cost of $2.5 million per store.

Super Alonit will begin selling over-the-counter medication at all 40 stores, drawing more customers to the commercial centers, company executives said.

Alon, with its acquisition of Totalfina Elf SA's US assets in 2000, is Israel's largest fuel company. Its subsidiary, Dallas-based Alon USA, operates 1,714 gas stations under the Fina brand, and a refinery in Big Spring, Texas.

Among the U.S. initiatives the oil company is working on is offering cell phone refueling to its customers. The company expects to launch that service later this year.
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