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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Judge Sets Stage for Appco Sale

Source: CSP Daily News
By Steve Holtz

By Steve Holtz

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – A week after U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Marsha Parsons questioned whether convenience store operator Appalachian Oil Co. (Appco) had the wherewithal to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, it appears the company will ultimately be sold. Yesterday, Parsons named NRC Realty Advisors' P.A. (Andy) Weber as chief restructuring officer for Appco, beginning the process of giving NRC the authority to sell the company and its 58 c-stores, as reported in a CSP Daily News Flash.

In his role, Weber will be responsible for all operational and financial matters of the company, as well as all efforts to market and sell the company's assets. It is part of a broader agreement between Appalachian Oil and its creditors, including principal secured creditor Greystone Business Credit II LLC, New York, to facilitate a sale of the company and its assets.

In connection with that agreement, the company will be filing an application with the court seeking to retain NRC Realty Advisors, Chicago, to serve as sales agent with respect to the marketing of the company and its assets.

Appalachian Oil, Blountville, Tenn., operators 58 convenience stores in Tennessee and Kentucky. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on Feb. 9.

At a hearing a week ago, landlords for many of Appalachian's retail-gasoline and c-store facilities asked for permission to terminate leases on stores and evict Appalachian, but the court gave the company an additional week to find a solution and to pay the delinquent rent. At the time, Parsons suggested the company was "just buying time" and would ultimately fail in its effort to reorganize.
An NRC representative said Appco parent company, Titan Global Holdings, which purchased Appco in September 2007, will no longer be in charge of the retailer.

Although no specific timeline has been established for placing the company or its assets on the market, it is "likely to be a matter of a very few weeks," according to Weber. "Although it is NRC's initial impression that the best and most efficient way to market the assets of Appalachian Oil is on a portfolio basis of the entire company, all options will certainly be evaluated. NRC will be reaching out to companies we know who are qualified purchasers likely to have an interest in buying all or parts of this company, but we will also be welcoming inquiries from other prospective bidders."

Chicago-based NRC Realty Advisors LLC, which specializes