Pickens, BCG EFuels Combine

From Bloomberg News

Pickens Fuel Corp., a natural-gas filling station company owned by former oilman and corporate raider Boone Pickens, said Thursday that it merged with a Canadian venture to more than double the size of its retail chain.

Pickens adds 40 gas-refueling stations in British Columbia and Ontario, Canada, to the 35 it owns in California and Arizona in the merger with BCG EFuels Inc., said Andrew Littlefair, chief executive of the merged company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

BCG EFuels is owned by B.C. Gas Inc. and Westport Innovations Inc. All three companies are based in Vancouver, Canada. B.C. Gas, which owns a utility and pipelines in British Columbia, holds more than 50% of the merged company, Littlefair said.

Westport, which makes equipment that allows large diesel engines to run on natural gas, will get 20% of the company for its stake in BCG EFuels and $660,000 cash.

California, Arizona and other states have strict anti-pollution rules that require lower emissions from cars and trucks. Some drivers have switched to natural gas, which burns cleaner than gasoline and diesel fuel, to meet the standards.

"This business has the potential to grow rapidly," Littlefair said. The merged company, which hasn't been named, will have about 30 salaried employees and be based in Seal Beach. It had about $30 million in combined sales last year.

Westport is developing a small diesel engine with Ford Motor Co. and has a venture to build large engines for trucks and power generation with Cummins Inc. Westport owned 32% of BCG before the merger.

Boone Pickens, known for his corporate raids with Mesa Inc. in the 1980s, also has a company that aims to sell water to big cities in the Southwest. He is chairman emeritus of the merged company and B.C. Gas Vice President Gordon Barefoot is chairman, Littlefair said.

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