Matrix Announces the Successful Sale of Huff’s Neighborhood Stores
RICHMOND, VA – February 21, 2008 – Matrix Capital Markets Group, Inc. announced today the successful closing on certain assets of Huffman Oil Company, Inc., a Burlington, North Carolina based motor fuels distributor and convenience store chain trading as Huff’s Neighborhood Store. The 35 stores are all located in central North Carolina, with the exception of one store that is located in Virginia.
The Huff’s Neighborhood Stores are well positioned in their market and have significant customer loyalty. Last summer, Mr. James Barnwell, owner of Huffman Oil Company, Inc. decided that it would be in the Company’s best interest to divest of its retail operation and focus on its dealer and fuel distribution business as well as its growing propane operation. In order to maximize the value of the Company’s retail chain in a sale, the Company engaged Matrix to structure and manage the sale of its 35 retail stores.
The stores sold approximately 45 million gallons of motor fuels per year, with the majority of that volume being sold at its 30 Shell branded locations. In addition, the stores sold approximately $23 million of convenience merchandise items per year. The Company owned 29 of the properties and leased the other 6 from third parties. Matrix was able to execute on a competitive sale process that resulted in the Company’s acceptance of offers on 32 of the stores to date. Quality Oil Company contracted to acquire 16 of the stores and has already closed on 14 of them. In addition, Boulous Properties LLC contracted to acquire 4 stores, Krisha, Inc. 3 stores, and other buyers included M.M. Fowler, Inc. and Rose Oil Company.
Mr. Barnwell commented on the sale, “Having made the decision to divest our retail operations, we knew it was imperative that we seek the best organization to maximize our return and make the process as simple as possible. After considerable research, we settled on Matrix to represent us and feel we could not have made a better selection. Tom Kelso, Cedric Fortemps, and Vance Saunders were extremely knowledgeable about the industry and the potential buyers in the market. They did a great job of keeping the process moving in a positive direction and we were extremely pleased with the outcome.”
Tom Kelso, Managing Director and head of the Energy and Multi-Site Retail Group at Matrix managed the transaction and added, “It has been an honor to work with Mr. Barnwell and to advise him on maximizing the value of his retail assets, which will allow the Company to focus on its core operations.” Cedric Fortemps, Vice President, who co-managed the transaction also commented, “The stores’ position in their market, the area’s improving demographics, and the high percentage of owned real estate in this transaction combined to drive demand for the stores and made for a very competitive sale process amongst both strategic acquirers and owner/operator buyers.”