Watco Cos. LLC has reached a definitive agreement with Kinder Morgan Terminals (NYSE: KMI) to purchase 20 bulk terminal operations in the United States, which will expand Watco’s terminal operations to 73 locations, the company announced on Nov. 10.
The new sites include 14 on inland waterways, four rail/truck terminals and two deepwater locations. The locations are focused on the dry and break bulk industries that handle a diverse mix of commodities, including fertilizer, ferro alloys, salt, coal and various break-bulk products, according to a Watco press release.
“We realized tremendous success through the terminals that were acquired in our previous transaction with Kinder Morgan in early 2015 and we expect continued success with these facilities as well,” said Will Patterson, Watco’s senior vice president of network strategy.
“We have identified many opportunities to expand our terminal operations and rail presence with these new sites and look forward to further developing operations with our customers,” he added.
“We are delighted to enter into this mutually beneficial transaction with Watco. It allows us to monetize non-core assets, representing less than 2% of the segment’s earnings, on attractive terms while giving employees at those terminals an opportunity to work on assets that are core to Watco’s business,” said John Schlosser, Kinder Morgan Terminals president.
In anticipation of the terminal acquisition, a new equity investment was closed on Sept. 30 with SkyKnight Capital. The Crowley family, who owns and operates Crowley Maritime, are the seed investors behind SkyKnight. Watco officials anticipate Crowley Maritime will be a long-term strategic partner, Watco officials said.
As part of SkyKnight’s initial investment into Watco, Tom Crowley has joined Watco’s board.
Watco and SkyKnight anticipate closing a second round of equity with additional equity partners before the end of the year to support Watco’s customer growth initiatives, officials said.