GasMart Stores Sell to Travel Centers - O'Keeffe and O'Malley

GasMart Stores Sell to Travel Centers

May 06, 2015

Overland Park, KS-based GasMart USA, Inc. announced today that it sold its 19 stores in the greater Kansas, MO area to Travel Centers of America. GasMart USA, Inc. is a high volume distributor of primarily branded motor fuel that operates 44 convenience store and gas station locations in IllinoisWisconsinIndianaIowa, and Nebraska.

Ohio-based Travel Centers of America operates Petro Shopping Centers, TA and Minit Mart. The company acquired the GasMart locations for $27 million.

With its origins in 1995, the George Family combined with members of the Gustin Family, including one of the founders of Applebee's International, Inc., Abe Gustin, to develop the chain by completing construction of its first store in 1996. Since that time, GasMart has gone through a number of acquisitions and divestitures of stores in seven states. With the sale announced today as well as others under contract, GasMart and its affiliates will have 42 stores, including six leased locations. Other businesses owned and operated by GasMart and its affiliates include an expanding wholesale fuel business as well as a fuel transportation concern with its own fleet of trucks.

The transaction, in addition to two other sales currently under contract, concludes a six month sale process conducted by GasMart in its efforts to restructure its balance sheet as well as facilitate the retirement of one of its founders, Jim George.

In speaking about the sale announced today, David George, the President of GasMart, indicated, "We are extremely pleased with all aspects of the transaction. We enjoyed working with the buyer to find a win-win for everyone. For GasMart in particular, the sale means that we have dramatically deleveraged our company. Our balance sheet is much, much stronger and now we can focus on improving the operating performance of our remaining locations. As part of this process, the shareholders of GasMart, including surviving members of the Gustin Family, agreed to retain John Tittle, Jr. as our new Chief Executive Officer. We were very pleased with Mr. Tittle's efforts in conducting the sale process and elected to appoint him as CEO. John has a 30-plus year background in providing turnaround, financial advisory, and M&A services to clients across a broad range of industries, including a number of companies in the gasoline/convenience store space. Everyone is excited about the prospects for GasMart going forward."

Mr. Tittle agrees in that, "I am pleased to be appointed as CEO. GasMart has a collection of great fee simple properties that had been overleveraged. This led to cash flow problems and an inward focus on the part of management. This inward focus is now being transformed with the culture to be positive, market-driven, and results-oriented. I look forward to working with our great group of employees, suppliers, and constituents to make this happen."