Crown Central's survival

Going private: Rosenberg leadership has been good for Baltimore, will continue.

April 13, 2000

BALTIMORE can only hope that taking Crown Central Petroleum Corp. private will allow board chairman Henry A. Rosenberg Jr. and his family to restore the company's fortunes and reputation.

Both the corporation and the Rosenberg family, as well as the extended Blaustein family, have been valuable contributors to this region's economic and civic life for many decades. Mr. Rosenberg is known for his enthusiasms and contributions of time and energy as well as money to nonprofits in health, education and culture.

His labors for Baltimore tourism were valiant.

In an age of consolidations in many industries, oil included, many such leaders have departed Baltimore and other cities, as company after company becomes a branch of something larger.

That was proposed here. Crown Central has posted losses, especially when world oil prices were low. Although it has been a Fortune 500 company, in the oil industry it is a niche player.

The sale of the publicly traded Crown Central to Rosemore Inc., a holding company controlled by the Rosenberg family, takes it private and ends the possibility of its disappearance for now.

There's more at stake than the 180 jobs that might have vanished or shifted to St. Louis had Apex Oil bought the company, and that might reasonably go to Texas, where Crown Central has facilities.

It is also the heritage of Crown Central and its founders in this city and the contributions that Mr. Rosenberg and his family make.

One of Baltimore's biggest boosters and inveterate board members is still in town. Now that his family have had their way with Crown Central's independence, they have to make it work.

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