RICHMOND, Va. — In 2019, five convenience-store chains rose to the top of the most aggressive growth companies in the industry. As part of its 2020 Top 202 list, CSP analyzes those chain's standing in mergers, acquisitions and new-store construction.
Headquarters: Richmond, Va.
2020 Rank: No. 7
Code Name: The Opportunist
Insight:The chain buys assets that it can transform to add value to both its top and bottom lines.
GPM Investments LLC has been on a tear.
The company operates 1,272 retail stores—nearly 300 of which were acquired in 2018—making it the fifth-largest c-store chain in the United States. Its latest additions include 18 TownStar stores in Florida, 64 Riiser stores in Wisconsin and five Cash & Sons stores in Arkansas, all acquired in 2019.
Can we expect to see more acquisitions from the company in 2020? That’s hard to forecast because decision makers at GPM are “opportunistic buyers,” says GPM CEO Arie Kotler.
“We review a lot of deals that never materialize,” Kotler says. “We look for opportunities that fit our culture and where we can add value to both the top line and bottom line.”
Although the coronavirus has slowed down just about everything, Kotler says GPM’s M&A team continues to evaluate potential pickups. Consolidation is inevitable in any industry, “and we believe that we are well positioned for continued growth in the c-store channel,” he says.
In fact, Kotler describes acquisitions as a core competency for GPM.
“We never set out to achieve a specific number of acquisitions or additional store count,” he says. “We review every potential acquisition on its own merits through our exhaustive due diligence process. If the potential acquisition passes due diligence and we can add value by growing both sales and operating profits and, of course, [if] the price is right, we will make the acquisition.”
At the end of 2019, GPM had signed an agreement to acquire the wholesale fuel distribution operations and retail assets of Empire Petroleum Partners, Dallas, which distributes fuel under multiple brands in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest and Midwest regions. The deal includes 77 retail sites and 225 controlled locations.