$12.5M Fred Fuller deal goes through

Last modified: 12/5/2014 11:29:05 AM
Customers of Fred Fuller Oil and Propane Co. will not have to worry about staying warm this snowy weekend. Rymes Propane and Oil’s purchase of the home heating oil company seeking bankruptcy was finalized in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Antrim-based Rymes is now the largest oil company in New Hampshire.

Bill Gannon, Fred Fuller’s attorney, said Wednesday that Rymes Propane purchased Fuller Oil for about $12.5 million.

Gannon and Tom Rymes, who operates the oil company with his brothers, John and Jim, both were relieved the roller-coaster of a sale was completed.

Gannon said completing the sale of a bankrupt company is typically a 60 to 90 day process. Ryme Propane’s purchase of Fuller Oil was completed in less than two weeks.

Gannon said Tuesday that when he said to U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge J. Michael Deasy this deal was closed at a “blistering pace,” he meant it.

Rymes said Wednesday the deal was closed urgently because of Fuller’s financial predicament. Fuller declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month. This past year, Fuller failed to deliver to prepaid customers. The company attributed the failed deliveries to weather, accumulating oil demands, and a glitch that disabled their phone system.

Rymes said that because it is almost winter, they didn’t have much time to finalize all aspects of this deal.

Rymes said the holiday storm, which is expected to dump almost a foot of snow in Southwest New Hampshire, and Thanksgiving just added extra drama to this deal.

Gannon agreed with Rymes. He said there is no question winter was a driving factor in this sale.

“No one, and I mean no one involved, was prepared to risk the consumer/customer interests in any way,” he said. Gannon said this was a concern shared by Governor Maggie Hassan , N.H. Attorney General Joseph Foster, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayote with Fuller.

Rymes, Gannon and others a part of the deal said the assistance they received from state and federal officials was pivotal in this agreement coming through.

In an email following a phone interview, Rymes wrote, “This deal was very complicated, and simply could not have happened without the direct and active involvement of Senators Shaheen and Ayotte, Governor Hassan, U.S. Attorney John Kacavas, N.H. Attorney General Joe Foster, and many others.”

Gannon said the biggest obstacle in finalizing everything was resolving the nature and extent of the tax liens on Fuller Oil imposed by the federal government. According to the Concord Monitor, Rymes couldn’t sign the agreement because of a potential lien the Internal Revenue Service had placed on property Fuller personally owned. Gannon said support and advice of the New Hampshire Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney were critically important.

Rymes also said his company was very busy trying to process Fuller’s employees over to Rymes, rebranding trucks and refueling tanks, and anything else they needed to do to get the job done.

The Monitor reported trucks bearing both Rymes and Fuller logos started delivering oil to Fuller customers Wednesday morning. State law requires the trucks carry Rymes’s logo, but there isn’t enough time to change the paint on the trucks’ tanks, John Rymes told the Monitor.

Rymes praised Fuller’s employees Wednesday morning. He was also glad to save Fuller’s prepaid customers their money.

The tax lien which Gannon mentioned was cleared before everyone appeared in court Tuesday. News of the tax lien delay inspired Santoro Oil, a Rhode Island company, to offer at the last minute $1 million more than Rymes, the Concord Monitor reported.

According to Gannon, the bankruptcy judge made the ruling against Santoro’s late offer. Deasy then approved the sale to Rhymes with revisions yesterday afternoon, pending a proposed order from both parties. Following that, the two parties went about finalizing negotiations. They wrapped everything up at 5:30 or so this morning.


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