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Sat, Nov 17, 2007 - Page 10 News List

BP America to sell convenience stores in the US

AP , NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS

BP America Inc said on Thursday it would sell all of its more than 700 company-owned and operated US convenience stores over the next two years, eliminating nearly 10,000 jobs.

The company said most of the sites will be sold to franchise owners, while some will be sold to dealers and large distributors.

However, the sites will continue to sell BP fuels in the eastern US and Arco fuels in the western US, with the store brand now to be known nationwide as "ampm."

Approximately 95 percent of BP's 13,000 US retail sites are independently operated.

The sale of the 700-plus stores will eliminate 9,500 positions and 350 business support staff. About 100 employees from BP's pipelines and logistics unit will also be affected, the company said.

BP America said the action is linked to the reorganization announced by London-based parent BP PLC last month in which the oil company said it would streamline its structure, shrink the number of business units and trim management in an effort to end a slump.

As part of that overhaul, the company is relocating some staff to its US headquarters in Houston, shifting roughly 1,000 employees from the western Chicago suburbs to downtown and laying others off.

Specifics of those layoffs had not previously been disclosed.

Fiona MacLeod, president of BP US Convenience Retail, said the company will be able to grow its business by building a strong franchise network of local station owners.

BP said it will support franchisees with a field-based staff and a small head office located in La Palma, California.

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