M&A Activity Heating Up

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- It's a busy week for c-store industry mergers and acquisitions. The latest changeover is Western Refining Southwest Inc.'s purchase of the Catalina Mart operating unit from Loma Catalina Co., based in Tucson, Ariz.

It's been "very difficult for us to be competitive," Loma Catalina President Robert Mahlstede told CSNews Online. He added that Western Refining Southwest is "in a good position to be the operator of our stations" because it is a "more vertically integrated" company.

Western Refining Southwest will begin operating the stores over a period of four days, starting June 20.

According to the Catalina Mart website, it operates 17 stores, all in Tucson. Also completing a sale was Circle K Stores Inc., which sold two of its Memphis, Tenn., service station properties to Rafiq Devji. The stations, which were sold as excess locations, are located at 3015 Lamar Avenue and 1351 Madison Avenue, Costar.com reported.

The Lamar Avenue station is 3,699 square feet and sold for $500,000, while the Madison Avenue station is 3,000 square feet and sold for $675,000. Both sites include convenience stores with gas stations, which will be rebranded, according to the report.

Meanwhile, looking to make a sale is Sam's Real Estate Holdings-Georgia LLC. The company retained NRC Realty & Capital Advisors LLC to coordinate the sale of its 34 c-stores with gas in the greater Atlanta market. The properties are high-volume, Shell-branded gas stations with convenience stores, currently operating under the Sam's Mart trade name. They are being sold with Shell-branded supply, but without the c-store brand.

The majority of the properties have medium- to large-sized c-stores of 2,000 to 3,900 square feet on lots up to 2.5 acres. With the exception of five leased sites, the locations are being sold with the underlying real estate. They are concentrated in the northern Atlanta suburbs, with nearly half in the cities of Marietta, Alpharetta, Kennesaw and Roswell, NRC reported.

"These are some of the best sites we've seen come onto the market in recent years," stated Evan Gladstone, executive managing director of NRC. "The combination of great sites, long-term supply and the ability to operate your c-store under your own brand offers some great opportunities for qualified buyers. Anyone interested in the growing Atlanta market or seeking to expand operations should take a serious look at these high-quality stores."

The sale is being conducted using NRC's "buy one, some or all" sealed bid sale process. The bid deadline is August 18. A complete list of the properties and information regarding submitting offers is available online at www.nrc.com/1113. Interested parties can register there for sale updates or by calling the NRC Customer Service Center at (800) 747-3342, ext. 1113.

A sales brochure containing information for all the sites will be available shortly and a site specific Property Specific Package will be available for each property by late June.

"We're excited to be working with NRC on the sale of our stores, and are looking forward to a successful outcome," said Paul Mastroianni, COO of Sam's Mart. "We've worked very hard over the past several years on these sites, and believe we have some of the best stores in the Atlanta area."

Sam's Mart is headquartered in Matthews, N.C., and has annual sales of more than $1 billion. The first store opened in June 1991, and the company has grown steadily over the years, largely through acquisitions. Today, Sam's Mart operates 150 stores in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.


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