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FTC Scrutinizing Aloha Deal

HONOLULU -- Aloha Petroleum Inc. said its purchase of 18 former Arco stations will likely close next month despite a joint antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and the state Attorney General's Office.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports that Bob Maynard, president of Aloha Petroleum, said that such investigations are part of the "normal process" when it comes to the sale of oil industry properties and that he doesn't expect any delay in the deal.

Aloha Petroleum announced earlier this year that it was acquiring the stations from U.S Restaurant Properties Inc.

The company also is purchasing U.S. Restaurant's 50 percent interest in the 500,000-barrel Aloha Petroleum Fuel Storage Terminal at Barbers Point, according to the Star-Bulletin.

Aloha Petroleum owns the other 50 percent interest in the terminal facility.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday, U.S. Restaurant's successor company, Trustreet Properties Inc., said it received a letter from the attorney general's office last week informing it of an antitrust investigation.

Trustreet said the attorney general's office asked that it voluntarily provide records relating to the sale of the stations and its interest in the terminal facility.

Both Aloha Petroleum and Trustreet said they intend to cooperate with the request.

The attorney general's office declined comment.

The pending deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed, will significantly expand Aloha Petroleum's operations in the islands.

The company, a locally based gasoline wholesaler and retailer that traces its roots to the early 1900s, operates at 60 locations on Oahu and the Big Island.

It said that the new stations would operate under its Mahalo brand.

U.S. Restaurant had been trying to sell its Hawaii stations after the previous station operators, BC Oil Ventures, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2000.

BC Oil had operated in Hawaii under the Arco brand.

Trustreet is an Orlando, Fla.-based real estate investment trust that was formed in February through the merger of U.S. Restaurant, CNL Restaurant Properties Inc. and 18 CNL income funds.

CNL was a landlord for national fast-food chains such as Jack in the Box and Wendy's.

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