A number of debt holders have raised objection against downstream petroleum distributor Sunoco LP’s SUN $3.3 billion deal with Japan-based retail conglomerate Seven & I Holdings Co., Ltd. Bondholders have apparently raised an objection against a reported modification in the terms of the $1.6B-credit agreement. They demand higher monetary grants and enhanced protection to agree to the changes in the bond indentures.
The deal with 7-Eleven was announced in April and is scheduled to close by the second half of 2017. Per the deal, Sunoco is to sell around 1,100 convenience stores and gas stations in Texas and other states to 7-Eleven. Per the deal, the partnership will also enter a 15-year agreement with 7-Eleven to sell 2.2 billion gallons of fuel annually.
The deal will help the partnership to partially pay down $4.51 billion debt. The 15-year supply agreement will also provide the partnership with regular long-term income thereby improving Sunoco’s financial profile.Sunoco will utilize cash proceeds to repurchase equity, including the $300-million investment made by its parent company Energy Transfer Equity ETE in March along with some of the units owned by Energy Transfer Partners ETP from the drop-down transactions last year.
Sunoco plans to sell another 200 stores and fuel outlets in North and West Texas by the end of the fourth quarter and expand its distribution business through acquisitions.
Energy companies like Hess Corporation HES, Valero Energy Corporation and others have divested gas stations to focus on the core business of exploring, transporting and refining oil and gas.
The divestiture is likely to improve the weak financial profile of Sunoco and enable it to pursue acquisitions. However, these retail stores are a major contributor to Sunoco’s earnings. Therefore, whether the partnership will be able to maintain its current pay-out level post the closure of the divesture remains a wait-and-watch story.
Sunoco currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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