PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Inquirer speculated yesterday as to the future of Sunoco€™s 4,900 gas stations after it merges with Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), a move that Sunoco announced last month.
While ETP is primarily interested in Sunoco€™s pipeline affiliate, Kelcy Warren, ETP€™s chief executive, said he is "very comfortable" owning the gasoline brand, a sentiment that analysts maintain is financially unsound.
"Those guys are not into the retail business," said John R. Cusick, an analyst with Wunderlich Securities in Memphis, who follows ETP.
While ETP has received "a lot of inbound calls" about Sunoco€™s stations since it announced the merger, Martin Salinas Jr., ETP€™s CFO, said the inquiries have not had "any traction." Analysts value Sunoco€™s stations at $1.8 billion.
"Sunoco has a good amount of brand recognition, especially in the Northeast," said Bradley Olsen, an analyst with Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.
Potential buyers for the stations include Marathon Petroleum, Alimentation Couche-Tard, and Global Partners L.P., according to analysts.
"We would be very interested in it, of course," Global Partners CFO Thomas J. Hollister said.