Lehigh Gas Partners Enters Knoxville Region With 34-Site Acquisition
ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Lehigh Gas Partners LP agreed to purchase the assets of Rocky Top Markets LLC and Rocky Top Properties LLC, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Under the terms of the agreement, Lehigh will purchase 30 gas stations; assume or enter into leases for four others; assume seven third-party supply contracts; and purchase certain equipment and other assets at the sites for a total of $36.9 million.
At closing, Lehigh will pay $10.7 million for one fee property site, the four leasehold sites, the third-party supply contracts and other equipment and assets. Concurrent with the closing, Lehigh will enter into a master lease for the remaining 29 sites. Additionally, on or after Aug. 1, 2015, Lehigh will purchase the 29 sites for $26.2 million, the remaining balance of the purchase price.
Lehigh is entering a new market through this acquisition. All 34 sites, 31 of which are Shell-branded, are located in and around the Knoxville, Tenn., region along Interstates 40 and 75, according to the report. The total portfolio, including the third-party supply contracts, sold 34.1 million gallons of motor fuel in 2012.
"We are extremely excited to enter into the Knoxville market and to establish a presence in Tennessee," said Lehigh Chairman and CEO Joe Topper. "We are pleased to be able to acquire assets of the quality of Rocky Top and to add to our Shell portfolio. The acquisition provides us a solid platform in the region that we hope to grow over time."
Lehigh also agreed to lease or sublease the 34 sites in a 15-year agreement to Lehigh Gas-Ohio LLC (LGO), which will purchase fuel and merchandise inventory, as well as certain other assets at the sites, from Rocky Top. Lehigh will also supply fuel to LGO at these sites according to the 15-year agreement.
Lehigh said it expects to fund the transaction through funds available under its corporate credit facility. The acquisition is expected to close during the third quarter.
Allentown, Pa.-based Lehigh Gas Partners is a wholesale distributor of motor fuels and owns or leases more than 500 sites in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, New York, Massachusetts, Kentucky, New Hampshire and Maine.