Appalachian Oil acquired by biofuels company

Rick Wagner • Jan 18, 2007 at 9:15 AM

BLOUNTVILLE - A Tri-Cities petroleum company founded in 1923 is being sold to a Charlotte, N.C.-based biofuels company.

Appalachian Oil Co., a regional fuel distributor and owner of the APPCO convenience centers, is to become part of NewGen Technologies Inc., which has a subsidiary called ReFuel America.

The combined companies plan to distribute biodiesel and ethanol-based fuels across the Southeast, Appalachian President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Benedict said.

"We have signed an agreement to become part of a company based in Charlotte which is in the biofuels business," Benedict said of APPCO stockholders selling their stock to the new company. However, Benedict said that Appalachian will continue to operate as is in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and elsewhere in the region.

"This would seem to bode well for the area, certainly for the Tri-Cities," said Jonathan Overly, executive director of the Knoxville-based East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition.

NewGen Technologies has announced an agreement with BioFuel Investments LLC, or BFI, for $70 million in secured debt financing. The money, according to a news release, will complete the purchase of Appalachian Oil, pay off existing debt and fund other strategic objectives to facilitate distribution of premium blended biofuels through its ReFuel America brand.

BFI is part of an international private investment group focused on environmentally friendly, renewable biofuel and alternative energy projects.

The BFI financing is expected to be completed after due diligence and completion of commercial definitive agreements, the release said.

Headquartered in Blountville, Appalachian Oil operates from its offices in Tennessee and Virginia, selling to wholesale and retail customers in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

APPCO operates 58 company-owned gas station convenience stores and supplies petroleum products to more than 160 other independent dealers.

In the 12-month period ended Sept. 30, 2006, APPCO had revenue of more than $400 million, distribution of more than 225 million gallons of fuel, and counted more than 500 employees.

For more information, go to www.goappco.com, www.newgenholdings.com and www.refuelamerica.com.

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