Williams Sells Travel Centers to Pilot

Williams Co. Inc. announced Oct. 30 it has signed a deal to sell its travel center operations for $190 million to reduce its debt.

The Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Travel Centers LLC will buy the company’s 60 travel centers in a deal designed to ease the energy company’s debt, according to Williams.

“We are executing our plan to rebuild our finances,” said Steve Malcolm, Williams chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We’re continuing to optimize our cash position, reduce debt and focus on core businesses like gas pipelines, natural gas production and midstream services such as gathering and processing.”

Williams Travel Centers, Inc., based in Nashville, Tenn., employs about 2,000 people. Pilot Travel Centers is a joint venture 50 percent owned by Pilot Corporation and 50 percent owned by Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC.

The asset package, which includes fuel inventory, merchandise and supplies, is comprised of 60 Williams Travel Centers in 15 states. Most of the travel centers are concentrated in the Ohio Valley region and the Southeast, but stretch as far west as Arizona.

According to the company, the sale is projected to close in 60 days, subject to completion of necessary closing conditions. Williams expects to record a pre-tax impairment charge to earnings in the third quarter of approximately $115 million.