The acquisition helps Lehigh achieve expansion beyond its core geographic footprint in the Northeast and gain property in a highly-trafficked metro market, says Lehigh CEO.
Lehigh Gas Partners LP (LGP) has completed the acquisition of Express Lane Inc. of Lynn Haven, Fla., including Express Lane’s 45 motor fuel sites in the Florida “panhandle” region.
The aggregate purchase price for the Express Lane property and the Express Lane Shares is $43 million, subject to certain post closings adjustments. The acquisition was fully financed with Lehigh Gas Partners’ revolving credit facility.
The 45 fuel sites are concentrated in the Tallahassee/Panama City metropolitan area and along the Interstate 10 corridor of the “panhandle” region located in northwest Florida. Seven of the sites are fee simple interests and 38 are leasehold interests.
Forty-three of the 45 sites sell motor fuel, of which 41 sites sell branded motor fuel, including 25 Chevron sites and 16 ExxonMobil sites. Two sites sell unbranded motor fuel. The remaining two sites are real estate acquisitions. The motor fuel volume for the 43 sites totaled more than 42 million gallons in 2011.
Lehigh Gas – Ohio LLC, an entity managed by Joe Topper, chairman and CEO of Lehigh Gas Partners, will operate Express Lane’s gasoline and diesel retail outlet business, and its related convenience store business. Lehigh Gas – Ohio will lease the Express Lane sites from Lehigh Gas Partners.
Lehigh Gas – Ohio paid Lehigh Gas Partners $1,000,000 in exchange for Express Lane’s retail business assets.
Lehigh Gas Partners estimates it will receive aggregate rental income, net of expenses, of approximately $4.6 million per year, with an average lease term of up to 20 years. In addition, 14 of the sites have quick serve restaurants with the following national brands: Subway, Domino`s, Pizza Hut and Hardee’s.
“The acquisition of Express Lane helps us accomplish two key goals pursuant to our overall growth strategy,” Topper said. “We achieve expansion beyond our core geographic footprint in the Northeast and establish a foothold in a highly-trafficked metro market.”
“We also welcome Chevron, a major fuel brand, to our portfolio,” Topper said. “Chevron has a strong market presence in the southeast.”