in brief

Chevron Invests in Biodiesel Facility
Chevron Corp.,

which operates 2,800 convenience stores, has invested through a subsidiary, Chevron Technology Ventures LLC (CTV), in a Houston-based company that is building one of the first large-scale biodiesel plants in the U.S. The facility will have the potential to produce 100 million gallons per year of this clean-burning renewable fuel—-an amount that would more than double the current production volume of biodiesel in the U.S. CTV has taken an equity position in Galveston Bay Biodiesel LP (GBB), which is constructing a biodiesel production and distribution facility in Galveston, Texas, scheduled for completion by the end of 2006. GBB will produce biodiesel from soybeans and other renewable feedstocks. GBB has the option to sell pure biodiesel or biodiesel blended with off-road or on-road diesel into marine, commercial, trucking and industrial markets in the Galveston and Houston metropolitan areas. GBB will have initial production of 20 million gallons per year, representing almost a 27% increase in total U.S. biodiesel production of 75 million gallons in 2005.

Delta Petroleum Completes Merger
Delta Petroleum Corp.,
a Denver-based independent energy exploration and development company, has completed its acquisition of Castle Energy Corp. (King of Prussia, Pa.), an oil and gas refining and marketing company. Delta has most of its operations along the U.S. Gulf Coast and the Rocky Mountain region. Castle's assets, meanwhile, included oil and gas producing properties in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Delta Petroleum is also close to setting up a refinery in Berbice, Guyana—-a $500 million facility that reportedly would have the capacity to handle 100,000 barrels of crude per day. Construction is expected to begin early next year and last 15 months.

Love's Teams Up with NCR
Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores
(Oklahoma City) is rolling out a point-of-sale (POS) solution from NCR Corp. (www.ncr.com) as part of a technology refresh project that includes all of its more than 180 locations across the U.S. The current phase of Love's POS technology update is scheduled for completion in July, with additional systems planned for replacement next year. Love's selected NCR RealPOS 70 touchscreen POS terminals for its food service and retail operations throughout each location. The solution includes Palm POS application software from Pinnacle Corp. (www.pinncorp.com), a Platinum-level member of the NCR RealPartner program. Designed to be easy to service, the NCR RealPOS 70 simplifies troubleshooting and minimizes downtime. With a flexible, industry-standard computing architecture and readily integrated upgrade modules, it offers a clear migration path and lowers total cost of ownership. Love's began installing NCR technology in its new locations in 2002, according to company-vice president and CIO Jim Xenos. It then made the decision-to replace the existing POS terminals in all the rest of its Travel Stop and convenience store locations.

The Pantry's New Hiring Strategy, Acquisition
The Pantry Inc.
(Sanford, N.C.), which operates 1,458 convenience stores in 11 states, selected Deploy Solutions (www.deploy.com) to improve workforce quality using its hourly recruiting and talent management solutions. The Pantry selected Deploy's c-store solution to help the company realize its growth goal, reduce turnover, enhance career opportunities for employees and drive a paperless employment process. Using Deploy's industry knowledge and product flexibility offered in the Deploy C-Store Advantage, the chain could better position itself in front of job seekers, and streamline the process of identifying and hiring high-quality candidates. Applicants can use a kiosk and/or Web solution to apply for an available position, which helps achieve consistency and compliance in the application process. Then, using assessments for traits such as dependability and customer service, the system can automatically provide store managers with the candidates most likely to perform at a high level of customer satisfaction. In acquisition news, The Pantry Inc. has completed its purchase of Shop-A-Snak Food Mart Inc., which operates 38 stores in Alabama and generated total revenue of about $123 million in 2005. The acquisition doubles the number of stores The Pantry owns in Alabama, to 76 locations.

Berry-Hinckley Acquires Ariz. Chain
Berry-Hinckley Industries (Reno, Nev.) has purchased an 11-location chain of Superpumper c-stores in Scottsdale, Ariz. Paul Morabito, chairman and CEO of Berry-Hinckley, said the company is scouting for more acquisitions and expansion possibilities in the Scottsdale area. Berry-Hinckley is the largest petroleum wholesaler in Nevada, operating two fuel pipeline terminals along with trucking and warehousing operations. The cost of the acquisition was not released, but Morabito said the chain generates more than $100 million a year in annual sales volume.

Reynolds Looks to Acquire Conwood
Reynolds American
(www.reynoldsamerican.com), which owns R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, announced its proposed $3.5 billion acquisition of the nation's second-largest manufacturer of smokeless tobacco products. Reynolds American plans to purchase Memphis, Tenn.-based Conwood Sales Co. (www.cwdlp.com), which is the only company with products in all five segments of the U.S. smokeless tobacco industry: manufacturing moist and dry snuff; and manufacturing loose leaf, plug and twist chewing tobaccos. Reynolds American plans to fund the acquisition with $3.2 billion in new debt and $300 million in cash, the company said.

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