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New propane distributor looks to be 'more competitive' with some pricing

Sarjeant Company has taken over Superior Propane's distribution facilities across Northern Ontario

THUNDER BAY — The new owner of Superior Propane's distribution hubs in Northern Ontario says prices to customers will not increase overall, and it expects to be "more competitive" on some residential and agricultural pricing, depending on the market.

A spokesperson for The Sarjeant Company made that statement in response to questions from TBnewswatch this week.

The Barrie-based firm recently acquired Superior Propane's operations in eight locations across Northwestern and Northeastern Ontario as the result of an agreement Superior Propane reached earlier this year with the Competition Bureau of Canada.

It required Superior to sell its Northern Ontario distribution hubs to address competition concerns related to its acquisition of Certarus Ltd., a Calgary-based supplier of compressed natural gas.

The bureau concluded the transaction would likely lessen competition for the retail supply of propane and natural gas for industrial customers in Northern Ontario.

"In addition to Superior and Certarus being each other's closest competitor for the supply of portable heating fuels to industrial customers in Northern Ontario, there is a limited number of alternative suppliers and barriers to entry are high," the federal agency stated.

The Sarjeant Company's history dates back to 1889, when it was selling coal and building supplies.

In 1952, it began transitioning to the fuel industry, and it expanded its presence in the north from Timmins to Fort Frances in 1975.

Sarjeant Company started distributing propane in 2014.

It's retaining existing Superior Propane staff and said in a news release Tuesday that customers can expect no changes to their deliveries or services during the transition period. 

"Throughout the heating season, Sergeant will work diligently with Superior Propane to ensure a smooth integration, with exclusive support from Sarjeant Propane ready to be provided entirely by the upcoming summer," it stated.

The company acknowledged that news of the acquisition might create concern or uncertainty among customers, who have been already notified by mail, but it promised to provide "an enhanced customer experience."



Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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