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Flying J to give up corporate name

Published July 7, 2010 6:25 pm

Bankruptcy » Ogden-based travel center company will become FJ Management Inc.
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Say goodbye to the Flying J corporate name.

To avoid any confusion from the sale of its 250 travel centers to former rival Pilot Travel Centers last month, Flying J is changing its storied moniker to FJ Management Inc.

Pilot, which is changing its name to Pilot Flying J, will operate the Flying J travel stops under the Flying J brand.

The corporate name change is the latest twist in a saga that began when Ogden-based Flying J voluntarily filed for bankruptcy in December 2008. The company cited a steep fall-off of crude oil prices and a sudden freeze in credit markets that triggered a cash crunch.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Delaware approved Flying J's reorganization plan that repays in full the $1.4 billion it owes its creditors. The plan also keeps the company in the hands of CEO Crystal Call Maggelet and other members of the founding Call family, and leaves them with an equity ownership valued at $840 million.

Just two years ago, Flying J was one of the biggest private companies in the United States. With an estimated $18 million in revenue, it landed at No. 13 on Forbes magazine's annual list of the largest U.S. private businesses.

Flying J is expected to formally exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 10 business days. The company said it will begin to repay its creditors in cash before the end of July.

To raise enough money to repay creditors completely, Flying J sold roughly $1.5 billion worth of assets, including a Texas pipeline, an oil refinery in Bakersfield, Calif., and its travel centers, which fetched almost $1.2 billion.

"We have had to make some very difficult decisions over the past 18 months to maximize value and pay back our creditors," Maggelet said in a statement Wednesday.

"For a company with such a complex corporate structure, more than 15,000 employees and debts of this magnitude, emergence from bankruptcy [has been] extremely difficult."

FJ Management will keep its headquarters in Ogden, with Maggelet continuing as CEO.

The company is also keeping its Big West oil refinery in North Salt Lake. The facility processes up to 30,000 barrels of crude oil a day into gasoline and diesel fuel.

Its Transportation Alliance Bank, or TAB, subsidiary is also staying with FJ Management. TAB sells financial services to trucking companies and drivers. It has more than $500 million in assets.

The company will have an undisclosed stake in the Pilot Flying J travel center network. And it will continue to be part owner of Transportation Clearing House, which processes driver diesel purchases at truck stops.

"We are poised for a bright future," Maggelet said.





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