West Oil Inc. this week sold its 25 Markette convenience stores and one Lotto Land convenience store in South Carolina to FR Refuel LLC, a portfolio company of First Reserve, a leading global private equity investment firm exclusively focused on energy. The transaction also includes two car wash properties and three vacant lots for future development.
West’s stores are primarily located in northeastern South Carolina. Fourteen of the stores sell Shell branded motor fuels and the remaining 12 stores carry the company’s proprietary West Oil fuel brand. As part of the transaction, FR Refuel is acquiring the fee simple interest in 25 of the stores and a leasehold interest in the remaining property.
Lee West founded West Oil in 1964, in Hartsville, South Carolina. In 1973, Lee’s son, Alexander West Sr., joined his father in opening West Oil’s first retail store. By 1989, the company had grown to 15 stores. Grandson Alexander West Jr. and company partner Reginald Joyce III purchased the company in in 2003.
In 2009, the company introduced its proprietary fuel brand, West Oil, to diversify its fuel supply sources, and the West Oil branded sites are now some of the company’s highest performing locations.
“It was not an easy decision to sell a family run business of 40 years,” said Lex West, president of West Oil. “My grandfather and father built a strong foundation for the growth of the Markette brand. That growth would not have been possible without our outstanding employees and loyal customers.”
West Oil also owns a propane distribution business, multiple wine and spirits shops, a mini storage business, and owns and develops other real estate.
Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc., a leading, independent investment bank, provided merger and acquisition advisory services to West Oil. Matrix executives managing the transaction were Cedric Fortemps, co-head of Matrix’s Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Group; Managing Director Vance Saunders, Vice President Stephen Lynch and analyst John Mickelinc.