Article courtesy: Valley News (West Lebanon, NH)
CONCORD — Rymes Propane and Oil, founded a half-century ago and long based in New Hampshire, is being bought by a Canadian energy firm for $159 million.
The purchase by Superior Plus needs regulatory approval and is scheduled to wind up Sept. 30.
Superior Plus is based in Alberta and Ontario, Canada, with extensive operations in the northeastern U.S. In a news release, Superior Plus said the purchase expands its “U.S. propane distribution footprint and scale in New Hampshire and New England.”
Superior Plus lists three New Hampshire distributors on its website, in North Haverhill, Littleton and Dover, plus may more in Maine and Massachusetts as well as other Northeast states.
Rymes has 18 retail locations in New Hampshire, plus one each in Maine and Massachusetts, and delivers oil and propane to homes and businesses throughout the state. The energy supplier also has a propane offloading site — moving fuel from rail cars to trucks — at Westboro Rail Yard in West Lebanon.
Superior Plus said Rymes earned about $20 million in 2019, has about 3 million gallons of storage capacity, a fleet of 350 vehicles and about 370 employees.
Superior Plus is a much larger company, with 2019 earnings of more than $300 million. As well as distributing heating oil, propane and other fuels, it has a large specialty chemical division.
In its statement about the purchase, Superior Plus said New Hampshire’s retail propane distribution market “has approximately 185 million gallons of demand and an opportunity for further industry consolidation, as the market is highly fragmented with over 50 independent propane retailers operating in the state.”
Rymes was founded in 1969 by Jim and Carol Rymes in Antrim, N.H., after Jim returned from combat service in Vietnam. “They traded in their family car for a pickup truck that they used to start a business delivering propane to local homes and commercial properties,” is how the company puts it on its website. The firm was later taken over by their three sons, John, Jim and Tom, and moved to Concord, where it is currently headquartered.
In 2014, Rymes bought the troubled Fred Fuller Oil Co. in Hudson, N.H., after it had closed abruptly due to financial and legal troubles, stranding hundreds of customers during a cold snap.