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PHILLIPS buys Tosco, Tosco layoffs

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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) _ A Connecticut oil refiner in the midst of being sold is laying off 200 employees, most of them in its marketing division in this Phoenix suburb.

Stamford-based Tosco Corp., the parent of Circle K convenience stores, said Thursday the move is expected to save $20 million a year.

Tosco is being bought by Bartlesville, Okla.-based Phillips Petroleum Co. The deal is expected to close by the end of the third quarter if regulators approve.

Tosco employs about 1,400 people in Tempe, where 180 of the cuts were being made. The layoffs were to be completed this week.

Phillips had said when the $7 billion purchase was announced in February that it would put the combined companies' retail, marketing and transportation operations in Tempe and would cut duplicate jobs. Tosco employs a total of about 25,000.

``The very competitive environment in retail marketing mandates a very cost-efficient operation,'' said Thomas O'Malley, Tosco's chairman and CEO who will head the Tempe operation.

Tosco also said it expects second-quarter revenue be around $8 million rather than $10.4 million as forecast. the company said it will take a $10.5 million charge in the second quarter to cover the layoffs.

Spokeswoman Julie Igo said retail gasoline and convenience store sales have been lagging the last 18 months. She also cited a $40 million pretax loss in the first quarter.

Tosco, the largest U.S. independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products, has revenue of about $28 billion a year. The company also is the nation's largest operator of company-controlled convenience stores.
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