Ferrellgas Partners, L.P. (FGP), a master limited partnership (MLP), is the second largest retail propane distributor in the U.S. As of July 31, 2006, it had 846 propane distribution locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada, serving more than one million residential, industrial/commercial, and agricultural customers. The partnership's operations primarily include the distribution and sale of propane and related equipment and supplies with concentrations in the Midwest, Southeast, Southwest and Northwest regions of the country. The partnership sold approximately 810 million gallons of propane in fiscal year 2006 (Fiscal year ends on July 31st) and 682 million gallons during the first nine months of the current fiscal year. In addition to retail propane distribution, Ferrellgas is also engaged in the wholesale marketing of propane, the sale of other refined fuels, and the retail sale of propane appliances and related parts. In April of 2004, Ferrellgas Partners acquired Blue Rhino Corporation for more than $400 million. As a result of the acquisition, Ferrellgas became the largest national provider of propane by portable tank exchange.
The partnership's strategy is relatively simple: achieve operating efficiencies through the utilization of technology in its operations capitalize on its national presence and economies of scale expand its operations through disciplined acquisitions and internal growth and align employee interest with investors through significant employee ownership (employees own approximately 33% of the outstanding units through an Employee Stock Ownership Trust).
Propane is primarily used for heating during the cooler months and grilling during the warmer months. With propane's dominant use being for heating, the partnership's sales and profits, similar to all other propane marketers, are concentrated in the winter months, which for Ferrellgas correspond to its fiscal second and third quarters.