In a letter to Sunoco employees obtained by Convenience Store Decisions, Bob Owens called media reports “erroneous” and said Energy Transfer Equity “has no interest in selling.”
By John Lofstock, Editor
While rumors continue to swirl that Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) is looking to sell off Sunoco, Sunoco’s CEO Bob Owens moved swiftly to squash any theories that the retail arm of ETE is for sale.
In a letter to employees obtained by Convenience Store Decisions, Owens said, ” In fact, ETE has neither the need nor desire to sell either the SUN General Partnership (GP) or even SUN LP units.”
The full text of Owens letter is below.
The company’s comments come on the heels of a Reuters report that claimed Energy Transfer officials have “held talks to sell gas station and convenience store operator Sunoco LP, according to three people familiar with the matter.”
Owens said that report is “erroneous.”
“Unfortunately, we can’t prevent the rumors, but we can stay focused on continuing the remarkable growth of our company,” he said.
Jeff Shields, a spokesman for Sunoco, also denied the sale rumors in a statement to CSD. “The facts stated in the article are not accurate. No such discussions have been held, and Energy Transfer Equity has no intention to sell the GP of Sunoco LP,” Shields said. “Since 2012, Energy Transfer has received many unsolicited calls from parties interested in the Sunoco assets, and Energy Transfer has consistently responded to the inbound calls explaining that the company has no interest in selling. We fully expect to continue to be a positive contributor to ETE.”
Philadelphia-based Sunoco has been part of the Energy Transfer Partners family of companies since 2012. It’s retail network currently includes approximately 6,800 retail outlets in 30 states from Maine to Hawaii and west to Wisconsin and Louisiana. Sunoco also has more than 650 APlus branded convenience stores which are company-operated and operated by third-party dealers.
In 2014, ETP reached a $1.8 billion deal to acquire Corpus Christi, Texas-based Susser Holdings. That deal gave ETP general partner interest and distribution rights in Susser, as well as retail in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
The rumors picked up steam quickly likely because of the attention being paid to CST Brands, whose board of directors has been making headlines over the strategic direction of the San Antonio-based marketer. Last week, CST Brands formed a strategic committee to explore “strategic alternatives.”
The full text of Sunoco CEO Bob Owens’ letter to employees:
Dear Sunoco Employees,
I am writing to you to address the concerns created by a recent, erroneous article regarding Energy Transfer’s plans for SUN LP. Reuters, and now others, have reported that ETE had engaged in discussions with prospective buyers interested in buying the GP of Sunoco LP and that the talks purportedly did not progress due to “disagreements over Sunoco’s valuation.”
The facts stated in the article are not accurate:
* No such discussions have been held.
* ETE has no intention to sell the GP of SUN.
What is true:
* There is a great deal of interest in SUN LP. Since 2012, Energy Transfer has received many unsolicited calls from parties interested in the Sunoco assets–most recently the GP of SUN LP. Prior to the establishment of SUN LP calls were received regarding Sunoco Inc. This level of interest, which we should all find flattering, is reflective of both the value of our assets, including the iconic Sunoco brand, and the performance of our enterprise. Energy Transfer has consistently responded to the inbound calls explaining that the company has no interest in selling. In fact the opposite is true. The enterprise has grown substantially in terms of sales, earnings, and value since being acquired by Energy Transfer in 2012 and shows great promise for future growth.
* We enjoy a mutually beneficial, close and supportive relationship with both ETE and ETP. Our growth these past few years, expanding geographically and diversifying our business, would not have been possible without that support. We fully expect to continue to be a positive contributor to ETE as SUN grows earnings and distributions.
* During our discussions about this issue, Kelcy Warren said “ETE has neither interest nor need to sell the GP. Since our acquisition of Sunoco in 2012, we have been pleased with the performance and prospects for the company. We believe both ETE and SUN unit holders benefit from our continued ownership and support. We have no plans to sell the GP.”
* Speculation around Energy Transfer’s funding for the Williams transaction apparently fueled this article. In fact, ETE has neither the need nor desire to sell either the SUN GP or even SUN LP units in support of that deal, as it has many other options available and in place.
I hope this will allay any concerns about rumors swirling in the media. Unfortunately, we can’t prevent the rumors, but we can stay focused on continuing the remarkable growth of our company.
Thanks to all of you for your contributions to and confidence in our company.
President and CEO