Williams to sell convenience stores to heighten energy focus

TULSA, Okla., Dec. 28, 2000 (PRNewswire) — Williams Express, Inc., a unit of Williams (NYSE: WMB), announced today that it has signed an agreement to sell its convenience store operations to Durham, N.C.-based Convenience U.S.A, Inc.

The sale is expected to be concluded in the first quarter of 2001. Pursuant to the agreement, Convenience U.S.A will purchase the 198 MAPCO Express convenience stores, primarily in the Tennessee metropolitan areas of Memphis and Nashville. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Our strategy for the Energy Services unit of Williams is to grow a portfolio of energy businesses which offer a platform of growth and provide value creation opportunities through marketing and trading while meeting the criteria of generating attractive stand-alone returns,” said Steve Malcolm, president and CEO of Williams Energy Services.

“While the convenience stores established strong market share and excellent customer service, this decision will assist Williams in its efforts to aggressively focus on further developing businesses that more clearly match its strategies.”

MAPCO Express convenience stores employ about 1,500 people who are expected to be offered employment with Convenience U.S.A. Williams will continue to own and operate its 46 interstate travel centers across the United States. Williams TravelCenters cater to professional drivers, business travelers, vacationing families, tour groups, recreational vehicle travelers and local residents.

About Williams

Williams, through its subsidiaries, connects businesses to energy and communications. The company delivers innovative, reliable products and services through its extensive networks of energy-distributing pipelines and high-speed fiber-optic cables. Williams information is available at www.williams.com.

About Convenience U.S.A, Inc.

Convenience U.S.A is a leading consolidator of convenience stores in the southeastern region of the United States. It owns and operates 251 stores under the names Holiday Market, Kwik Shop, Nugget Store, McCracken Express, Tee Pee, Winoco, Gant and Sun Mart in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.