Lykins Cos. President: "We Are Financially Sound and Profitable"

MILFORD, Ohio -- To clear up any confusion due to recent media reports, Lykins Cos., headquartered here, issued a statement yesterday clarifying that it has no relation to Maysville, Ky.-based Lykins Enterprises, the company that owns 14 Gasoline Alley convenience stores and that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In the statement, Lykins Cos. President Jeff Lykins said: "Lykins Cos. is financially sound and profitable. We want to clarify that we are not related in any way to the company in Maysville, Ky., that recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. We are releasing this official statement to clarify this fact and eliminate any confusion."

Lykins Cos. is a family owned and operated business founded in 1948 by Guy Lykins Sr., and now in its third generation of management. The company serves customers in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, as well as throughout the Midwest and the Southeast United States. Lykins Cos. provides five key services -- branded fuels, wholesale fuels, commercial, transportation and home heating oil -- and represents five major fuel brands including BP, Marathon, ExxonMobil, Shell and Clark.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Lykins Enterprises, which owns the 14 convenience stores in Kentucky and Ohio, filed for bankruptcy protection Jan. 29. The filing indicated that the company has 50 to 99 creditors, assets of $50,000 or less and liabilities between $1 million and $10 million. The company's three largest unsecured creditors are: Chevron Oil Products, which is owed $841,444.28; Marathon, which is owed $480,085.07; and Shell Oil, which is owed $425,179.46.

In the days after the initial filing, the company reached a deal with Chevron and Shell to continue receiving fuel and will pre-pay for petroleum products, the report stated.

"The good news is we have valuable assets, and we are optimistic we will be able to meet our obligations going forward," Lykins Enterprises Founder David O. Lykins Jr. told the newspaper. "We appreciate the support of our vendors and suppliers, but most of all, our customers in both wholesale and retail … We plan on revising our cash management system, tightening up our receivables and emerging from Chapter 11 as soon as possible."

He said customers won't see any difference in the company's day-to-day operations.

Lykins Enterprises formed in the late 1970s after working as an agent for Ashland Oil. According to the Chapter 11 filing, the company first experienced cash flow problems in 2007 in the midst of a two-year expansion that saw the construction of four stores and the purchase of one additional location. An employee also was found to be embezzling funds during that time period and "to compensate for the financial hardship," the company leased four of its 14 convenience stores, the filing noted.

The company's problems continued in 2008 as the price of oil fell and gasoline revenues declined. In mid-2009, the company lost approximately $1 million in a short time when the price of oil dropped, the filing stated. Lykins Enterprises also blamed the growing presence of gas stations operated by large retailers such as Walmart that undercut their profit margins.

In addition, the company said its short-term cash flows have been affected by confusion from its fuel suppliers, who have charged the company for purchases made by an unrelated Ohio company with a similar name -- Lykins Cos.
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