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Irving Oil acquires, rebrands eight Rice Oil sites to be operated by Couche-Tard

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- The rebranding of eight retail locations previously owned by Rice Oil Co. was completed last week even as the deal was announced by Irving Oil. "Irving continues to be interested in acquiring great retail sites that will fit well into our growing partnership with Alimentation Couche-Tard," Lars Trodson, spokesperson for Irving Oil, told CSP Daily News. "All our new sites will be Irving-branded at the pumps and canopies, and ACT will operate the sites."

In a major expansion into two new regions, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. will extend its retail brands into Atlantic [image-nocss] Canada and northern New England through an extension of a partnership with Irving Oil, the companies recently announced. In 2001, Couche-Tard took over operation of 56 Mainway stores, rebranding the sites but continuing to offer Irving's gasoline brand. That agreement, pending regulatory approvals, will now grow to include an additional 252 stores. (Click here for previous coverage.)

As reported in a CSP Daily News Flash on Friday, the eight sites are located in Keene, N.H.; Greenfield, Deerfield and Whately, Mass.; and in Brattleboro, Westminster, Dummerston and Ascutney, Vt.

"These are eight great sites on the I- 91 corridor in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. This acquisition gives Irving coverage in a market where we have limited exposure, but which is just south of a region, in the upper valley of Vermont and New Hampshire, where we have excellent representation," Trodson said.

The locations were quickly converted to the blue and red Irving logo on June 18 and 19. "Rapid new-site acquisition is an Irving core competency. We do extensive planning well in advance of the closing and our resources are on the ground before the deal is closed," added Trodson.

Executives of Greenfield, Mass.-based Rice Oil did not respond to CSP Daily News inquiries by presstime. "Irving has the same values, the same commitment to serving local customers that we have always had, and so we are very pleased to have Irving be the new owners of these sites," Timothy Rice, president of Rice Oil, said in a statement. "It has been a pleasure to work with them throughout this process, and I know that the customers Rice Oil has come to know and appreciate over the years are in the best of hands."

Rice Oil & Propane was founded in 1951 as a home heating oil and gasoline distribution business by Meldon F. Rice.

Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard is the second largest independent c-store operator in North America in terms of number of stores. Couche-Tard's network is comprised of 5,690 c-stores, 3,440 of which include motor fuel dispensing, located in 11 geographic markets, including eight in the United States covering 30 states and three in Canada covering six provinces.

Founded in 1924, Irving Oil, Saint John, New Brunswick, is a regional refining and marketing company with a history of long-term partnerships and relationships. The company serves retail, residential, commercial, industrial and wholesale customers in Eastern Canada, Quebec and New England with a range of finished energy products, including gasoline, diesel, home heating oil, jet fuel and complementary products and services. The company offers fuel at more than 700 locations in Atlantic Canada and New England, including company-operated, leased and independent sites.