Pilot Flying J (PFJ), formerly Pilot Travel Centers, steers truckers and other motorists to more than 650 company-owned and -operated Travel Centers in about 45 states and six Canadian provinces. In addition to selling fuel, the travel plazas house Arby's, Subway, Wendy's, and Taco Bell restaurants. PFJ is expanding through licensing agreements with local travel centers, including Montana's Town Pump. PFJ subsidiary, Maxum Petroleum (acquired in 2012), is one of the largest independent energy logistics companies in North America, selling and distributing more than 1.3 billion gallons of refined products annually. Pilot Travel Centers acquired and merged with is rival Flying J in 2010 to form Pilot Flying J.
Change in Company Type
Pilot acquired the travel center operations of rival Flying J out of bankruptcy for $1.8 billion. Flying J operated about 270 locations. (Flying J's woes were a result of a sudden drops in oil prices and tight credit markets.) The steep purchase price allowed all Flying J creditors to be paid off, and Pilot provided $100 million in debtor-in-possession financing to fund Flying J's operations.
Privately-owned PFJ and Maxum Petroleum have annual sales in excess of $30 billion.
PFJ is a vertically integrated operation, sourcing, transporting, and selling petroleum products at its own travel centers and those operated by others. To the end, the company has been acquiring petroleum products distributors.
Meanwhile, the company has been upgrading its travel centers and acquiring new ones. PFJ has plans to add restaurants to all sites that currently do not have them. Flying J sites will accommodate Denny's, Subway, and Pizza Hut. In addition, it intends to update drivers' lounges, remodel restrooms, and install new gas and diesel pumps at many locations. Indeed, as the result of a $165 million investment PFJ's now offers diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) at the pump at 3,000 fuel lanes across the US.
Mergers and Acquisitions
PFJ in July 2012 acquired a controlling interest in Maxum Petroleum. (Other investors included Metalmark Capital, Waud Capital, and Maxum management.) Under PFJ's ownership, Maxum continues to operate as a stand-alone business. Previously, PFJ acquired Utah-based Western Petroleum, which sells and transports about 200 million gallons of fuel and lubricants to the oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing industries, in February 2012. Western Petroleum operates largely in the Rocky Mountain states, the South, and northern Plains. In January the company acquired seven travel centers in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota from rival Bosselman, thereby strengthening its position in the Midwest.