Couche-Tard Strikes Deal with Spirit Energy

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Convenience Store Decisions 2007 Convenience Store Chain of the Year, reached an agreement to acquire 83 stores in Missouri and central Illinois area from Spirit Energy.

Of the 83 convenience stores, 69 operate under the Convenient Food Mart banner and are all company operated. The stores would be operated by the Circle K Midwest Division under the Circle K banner. The remaining 14 locations currently operate as dealers. As part of the deal, Couche-Tard would buy the land and buildings for 15 locations and would assume or enter into leases for the remaining locations. On the fuel side, the company plans to keep the stations Shell branded.

Couche-Tard, which had been rumored to be nearing a deal through its Mac’s Convenience Stores subsidiary, strengthens its hold in the Midwest market. It’s Midwest Division would jump to 424 stores. The assets are expected to add revenues of approximately $430 million to Couche-Tard’s revenues on an annualized basis. The transaction is anticipated to close in July, but is still pending standard regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

According to a confidentiality agreement between the parties the purchase price cannot be disclosed at this time, but Couche-Tard said it is funding the deal with "internal available cash."

"These stores are located on highly visible and well-traveled roads and occupy strategic locations within their respective trade areas. These sites are well operated and have a strong management team in place," said Darrell Davis, vice president of operations for Circle K’s Midwest Division. "Strategically, this acquisition is a complement to our expansion and growth plans for the Midwest Division. In addition to being an excellent fit within our current network it is also an entry into a new market area and would allow us to more easily target growth in the St. Louis market."

Couche-Tard is the second largest independent convenience store operator with a network of 5,690 stores in the U.S. and Canada covering 29 states and six Canadian provinces. Some 45,000 people are employed throughout Couche- Tard’s retail convenience network and executive offices.

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