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FPX makes bid for Exxon Benica refinery 2015-04-23 01:32:39


SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS TIMES - by Nanci L. Valcke


Bidding for Exxon’s Benicia refinery has begun and rumor has it a decision will be swift.

Among the contenders is a little-known St. Louis-based minority-owned firm, FPX Group LLC.

"We did
make a bid," confirmed FPX Group LLC’s President and CEO Patrick O’Basuyi. "It’s
now up to Exxon. We don’t know what they are going to do."


A Nigerian native, O’Basuyi, 38, emigrated to the United States in 1979. He is a principal in the Arlou Inc. engineering firm in Clayton, Mo. and is also chief executive of Cinecorp, which has interests in two movie theaters in the Midwest.

Sale of the refinery is a condition of the Federal Trade Commission’s recent approval of Exxon’s $82 billion takeover of Mobil Corp.

"The only thing I can say about Benicia is we have had a number of responsible buyers expressing an interest, but I cannot identify any of those potential buyers" ExxonMobil spokesman Ed Eurwell said.

Two other rumored suitors are Valero Energy Corp. of San Antonio and Tesoro Petroleum Inc. also of Texas. The companies could not be reached for comment.

O’Basuyi said his company is offering a competitive price for the refinery, terminal and gas stations and has the ability to close the deal quickly.

According to petroleum marketer trade journal Oil Express, FPX has offered Exxon "$934.4 million for the refinery and terminal and $182.8 million for the dealer and distributor units." The journal indicated that FPX can "close in less than 120 days."

"I am not confirming or denying" the information," O’Basuyi said from his St. Louis office. "I can’t comment under the confidentiality agreement," he said.

He did say buying the Benicia operation is a "really good opportunity for a minority to get into the petroleum industry."

If FPX is successful with its bid, it will become the first minority-held firm to own a refinery, terminal and service stations, O’Basuyi said.

"It’s so sad that in this business, we don’t have a minority-owned refinery. The only
African-Americans able to do it is our group because we are well aligned with sources," O’Basuyi said.

FPX is
interested in purchasing the refinery and the service stations, but other bidders may want only the refinery.

Under the sale conditions set by the FTC, Exxon must give the refinery buyer the right to purchase retail service stations.

This condition is causing consternation among independent gas station owners some of whom have already made bids on the service stations. If the refinery buyer does not exercise its option to buy the outlets, then they could be up for grabs.

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