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HOUSTON-The Coastal Corp. of Houston, on the brink of a merger with El Paso Energy Corp., has sold off 253 of its convenience store-service station locations in east and northeast. The sale to Sunoco Inc. has nothing to do with the merger, according to David A. Arledge, Coastal CEO.

“The proposed sale stems from several changes in the marketplace and in our business plans in recent years,” Arledge says. The final signing hinges on due diligence and regulatory approvals, but is expected to close by year’s end along with the planned merger.

Specifically, Coastal’s subsidiary, Coastal Mart Inc. has agreed to sell 103 company-operated outlets in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina, and 150 contract dealer accounts in the East. Coastal plans to hold onto its northeast-branded jobber marketing program, which covers more than 500 locations in 15 Mid-Atlantic and northeastern states.

Coastal Mart will continue to hold 1,250 company-owned and jobber stores. Coastal employees will get job offers or severance packages with the change-over. The energy holding company has consolidated assets of $16 billion and subsidiary operations in the energy industry.

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