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Lehigh Gas Looking to Redeploy Capital


Seeking buyers for 26 nonstrategic sites in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio
CSP Daily News | January 20, 2012

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Saying that the locations no longer fit with its strategic growth plans, Lehigh Gas Corp. said that its is putting 26 of its gas stations and convenience stores and one truckstop on the auction block.

The Bethlehem, Pa.-based company added that it wants to sell these assets in order to redeploy the capital in other areas of its business.

As reported in a Morgan Keegan/CSP Daily News Flash on Friday, the offering includes 16 stations in New Jersey, one in New York, one in Ohio and nine in Pennsylvania (including the truckstop).

The locations are Stratford, Trenton (3), Lebanon, Mount Holly, Merchantville, Cherry Hill, Pennsauken (2), Turnersville, Ocean City, Mount Laurel, Long Branch, Randolph and Hazlet, NJ.; Bolivar, N.Y.; Shaker Heights, Ohio; Norristown, Malvern, Pittsburgh, Milesburg, Levittown, Chambersburg, Hollidaysburg, Bellefonte and Derry, Pa.

The company owns the real estate at 21 of the locations (including the truckstop) and leases the other six locations; 12 stations and the one truckstop are company operated, six stations are operated by dealers and eight stations are currently closed.

Lehigh Gas currently supplies fuels to these locations.

Prospective buyers are encouraged to enter into a fuel supply contract to purchase fuels from Lehigh Gas going forward, but are not required to do so as a condition of the sale. Excluding the truckstop, the average lot size is seven-tenths of an acre and the average building size is approximately 1,320 square feet. Five of the locations have repair bays.

The truckstop, in Milesburg, Pa., has a 17.75-acre lot and 50,406 square feet in various building footprints. On site is a 9,408-sq.-ft. c-store, a 4,884-sq.-ft. restaurant, a 2,520-sq.-ft. auto parts building, a 11,738-sq.-ft. hotel, a 18,166-sq.-ft. service garage and a 3,150-sq.-ft. Ryder truck rental center.

All 13 of the company-run locations and the eight closed locations can be operated immediately post-closing by the buyer, said Richmond, Va.-based Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc., which is managing the sale through a structured process for Lehigh Gas. The short lease durations provide flexibility for the new owners.

The other six locations leased by dealers could be operated by buyers once the existing lease expires or per any termination rights in the individual leases. One lease is on a month-to-month basis and none of the existing dealer leases run beyond January 2015; the average lease expiration date is January 2014.

In addition to owner-operators, the stores also present excellent opportunities for real-estate investors or fuel distributors seeking to purchase the real estate or fuel volume and continue to collect rent from current and future tenants and potentially supply fuel to the locations.

This sale process allows buyers of all types to participate as bids can be submitted for individual stores or for multiple stores. Offers on the stores are due on March 28, 2012; however, Lehigh Gas will consider accepting offers prior to the deadline, Matrix added.

The stations are available for sale on an individual or multiple basis.

Click here for sale details.

In 1987, Joe Topper  Jr. purchased two gas stations in Lehigh Valley, Pa. Five years later, Topper founded Lehigh Gas and then acquired a full-line Texaco distributorship in 1997. Soon after, Lehigh Gas became affiliated with a number of national petroleum brands. Exxon became an affiliate in 1999, Mobil in 2000, Gulf in 2001, Sunoco in 2002, Shell in 2003 and Hess in 2004. Its most recent brand affiliation was with Valero in 2006. The company has positioned itself as a leading distributor of branded petroleum products in the Northeast.

(See Related Content below for previous CSP Daily News coverage.)


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