AmeriGas acquires Heritage Propane; Bissell announces retirement for 2012

November 3, 2011 By    

AmeriGas Partners L.P. reached an agreement to acquire Heritage Propane, the propane operations of Energy Transfer Partners L.P., for about $2.9 billion, the nation’s largest propane retailer announced.

Energy Transfer conducts its propane operations in 41 states through subsidiaries including Heritage Operating L.P. and Titan Energy Partners L.P. The acquisition of Heritage Propane will add more than 1 million retail propane customers and more than 500 million gallons to AmeriGas’ nationwide propane distribution operations, which already included 1.3 million retail customers and more than 893 million gallons of annual propane sales.

“This transaction provides AmeriGas with an outstanding opportunity to grow its core business,” said Eugene V.N. Bissell, president and CEO of AmeriGas, in a company statement. “We look forward to working with Heritage Propane as we merge two high-quality propane operations into one cohesive organization. The combination of these two customer-focused teams will provide us with the unique opportunity to utilize a broader platform to enhance productivity, develop new growth opportunities and deploy new technologies.

“As we integrate the businesses, we will adopt best practices from each of the organizations in order to optimize service to our customers and ensure strong financial performance for our investors,” Bissell added.

The transaction is expected to close late this year or early in 2012.

Bissell to retire
Bissell intends to retire next spring, the company also announced.

The 58-year-old Bissell joined UGI Corp., AmeriGas’ parent company, in 1981 as part of its executive training program. He held positions of increasing responsibility at UGI and in the industrial gases division of AmeriGas prior to leaving in 1987 to join the BOC Group, where he held positions of increasing responsibility in their industrial gases business. Bissell returned to AmeriGas Propane Inc. in 1995 and held positions in sales, marketing and operations prior to his promotion to president and CEO in 2000.

“Throughout his 30-year career, Gene has made enormous contributions to both AmeriGas and the propane industry,” said Lon R. Greenberg, chairman of AmeriGas, in a company statement. “Gene led AmeriGas through a period of transformational improvements in customer service, operations and safety while at the same time delivering long-term value for AmeriGas’ investors. Gene was also a role model for many at AmeriGas, leading the company in a highly ethical manner and always remembering to thank the employees who contributed to the company’s success.”

Bissell has been an active member of the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA). His contributions to the industry were recognized this year through NPGA’s Distinguished Service Award, becoming one of only 39 people to receive the honor in the 80-year history of NPGA.

AmeriGas plans to name Bissell’s successor by Dec. 31.

UGI grows in Europe
UGI Corp., which owns 44 percent of AmeriGas Partners, acquired Shell’s LP gas distribution businesses in the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The acquired businesses delivered about 300 million gallons of LP gas in 2010, and the addition will expand UGI’s European LP gas business to more than 700 million gallons.

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik was a senior editor at LP Gas Magazine.

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