warm thoughts


Written on: August 25, 2022

Cetane Associates LLC (“Cetane”) is pleased to announce that Dead River Company, LLC, northern New England’s largest, full-service home heating provider with a corporate office based in South Portland, Maine has acquired the distillates and HVAC service business of Bay State Fuel Oil, of West Springfield, Mass. The transaction closed on August 10, 2022.

Founded in 1962 by Leonard Bruso Jr. and Janet Bruso, Bay State operated for its first 20 years from their home. In 1983, the owners made an acquisition that doubled the size of their business and soon after bought and developed nearby property for their expanding operations. Through the years several other acquisitions were made inspiring more growth. By 2000, the founders retired and sold their shares to their children Laura J. Bruso Benoit and Leonard “Len” Bruso III who both had extensive experience working at Bay State. The second-generation owners continued stimulating growth via acquisition for the next 20+ years. Today Bay State enjoys a strong reputation in western Massachusetts as a leader in home heating oil delivery and home comfort services. Len stated, “We take great pride in the Bay State business known for its outstanding service and employees. Our customers have been loyal for decades and we know they’ll be in good hands with Dead River Company.” Laura added, “Dead River Company is a great fit for our team and the community. We are grateful to the professionals at Cetane Associates for their expertise in making our transaction a terrific success. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Dead River Company, founded in 1909 by Charles Hutchins, had its roots in the forest products industry. In 1936, Dead River Company entered the petroleum business and has since grown to be the largest, full-service home heating provider in northern New England. By operating locally managed offices throughout Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and western Massachusetts, it maintains deep roots in the communities that it serves. Casey Cramton, Dead River Company President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “The Bruso family built a successful business, and we are honored that they chose Dead River Company to continue to care for their long-standing customers. We are excited to welcome the Bay State Fuel Oil employees joining our team and look forward to helping them feel right at home with the Dead River Company. We plan to carry on the legacy established by Bay State Fuel Oil in the local community.”

Jeff Brunner, Director at Cetane, commented, “I am happy for Laura and Len to have completed this successful transaction. They built and grew a great company. I appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with them in this significant transition in their lives. It was a pleasure to work with them.”

Cetane served as the sole arranger and financial advisor to Bay State Fuel Oil. Cetane advised on the sale, including an initial valuation opinion, marketing the business through a confidential process, assisting in negotiating the final deal terms, and coordinating the due diligence process. The transaction was managed by team members Jeff Brunner, Fred Lord, and Barrett Conway.

About Cetane Associates LLC
Cetane is a leading provider of financial advisory services to business owners in the retail energy distribution industry. Clients engage Cetane to advise on sales, spin-offs, and acquisitions, as well as perform valuation and ad hoc corporate finance assignments. For more information, please visit www.cetane.net.