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EZ Energy Looks To Buy Out Investor

MANSFIELD, Ohio -- Israeli firm EZ Energy Ltd. wants full control of its EZ Energy USA Inc. subsidiary, operator of nearly 70 convenience stores and approximately 20 other gasoline sites.

The energy company informed Investec Bank (UK) Ltd., which owns 34 percent of EZ Energy USA, that it will exercise the option granted in its loan agreement to buy back the shares for $10.4 million, according to a report by Globes Online, an Israeli business news organization.

In late 2008, Investec Bank lent EZ Energy USA $10 million in exchange for an option to convert the loan into debt, which would be repaid after three years. EZ Energy was given the option to repay the loan after one year, and get back the shares in EZ Energy USA. If Investec Bank decides to sell the EZ Energy USA stake, EZ Energy will record a $10 million debt with a longer average duration than its current debt to Investec, according to the report.

Last June, EZ Energy USA completed a $32.5 million acquisition of 41 gas stations and three lots slated for the construction of new retail fuel sites from BP Products North America Inc. The purchase gave EZ Energy 92 gas stations in the United States, 68 of which have convenience stores. The petroleum marketer has a two-pronged approach to operating c-stores: directly and through dealers.

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