Alvin Yumen cleaned the back window of a customer's car at the 76 gas station in Enchanted Lake. The owner of Hawaii's Union 76 gas stations to selling them to the Singapore group that owns the Gas Co.

34 isle gas
stations sold

The owner of the Gas Co. is buying
the Union 76 gas stations from
ConocoPhillips, but doesn’t plan
major changes for gas prices
or employees

Oil giant ConocoPhillips is selling its Union 76 gas stations and other Hawaii assets for $38.15 million to the same Singapore group that acquired natural-gas supplier the Gas Co. in 2002.

Singapore's k1 Ventures Ltd. will acquire the 34 stations directly owned by Houston-based ConocoPhillips as well as the contracts to supply gasoline to another 20 Union 76 stations owned by third parties. It also will secure Hawaii rights to the Union 76 name for 10 years.

The cash purchase is being made through k1's subsidiary Mid Pac Petroleum LLC and is expected to close by Aug. 31.

A Mid Pac spokesman said the company's plans for the assets are "in development" but that major changes to staffing and gas prices are not expected.

"We expect this to be seamless as far as customers are concerned," said spokesman Steven Golden. He said Mid Pac plans to keep the stations "competitive" on pump prices.

Golden also said Mid Pac might have to hire additional staff to perform back-office functions previously handled by ConocoPhillips staff on the mainland.

"We expect to hire locally for some of those," he said.

The deal marks the second foray into Hawaii's energy market in as many years for k1, which bought the Gas Co. in 2002 for $115 million in cash.

The stations involved in the deal are on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big island. The deal also includes ConocoPhillips' Hawaii trucking assets and its fueling terminals at Hilo and Kawaihae on the Big Island and marketing programs such as the Union 76 credit card.

Golden said Mid Pac was in talks with suppliers on providing the Union 76 stations with their gasoline. Under an agreement with ConocoPhillips, the stations are currently supplied by Chevron, which owns and operates one of the two refineries in Hawaii. ConocoPhillips has no refining operations in the state.

ConocoPhillips' main fueling terminal on the Honolulu waterfront was not part of the purchase, however. A company spokesman said ConocoPhillips is negotiating with unnamed parties to sell that asset.

The company said the sale of its Hawaii assets was part of a strategic realignment aimed at focusing its retail operations on the geographic areas served by its own refineries on the mainland.

K1 said the assets being acquired generated net income of $7.2 million in 2003.

K1 Ventures is controlled by the Singapore government's main investment vehicle Temasek Holdings, which owns controlling stakes in top Singapore companies such as Singapore Airlines and has played a central role in developing that city-state's economy.

K1 invests in a wide range of investments across diverse sectors including energy, consumer products, technology and health care.

K1 Ventures is led by Chairman and Chief Executive Steven J. Green, the U.S. ambassador to Singapore during the Clinton administration and a figure in the controversial bankruptcy of communications giant Global Crossing.

Green bought a stake in k1 Ventures in 2001, while he was a member of Global Crossing's board, according to the New York Times. He later left Global Crossing after questions were raised when another Temasek Holdings unit submitted a joint bid to buy Global Crossing out of bankruptcy.


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