UPDATE: Couche-Tard Picks Up 29 Gas Marts

Acquires stations in Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma from Dickerson Petroleum

LAVAL, Quebec -- Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has signed a deal to acquire 29 convenience stores in the Greater Midwest from Dickerson Petroleum Inc. The stores, in three states, are currently under the Gas Mart banner and offer Phillips 66 gasoline, reported the Canadian Press.

As reported in a Raymond James/CSP Daily News Flash, 25 of the stores are in Illinois, three are in Missouri and one is in Oklahoma.

The companies anticipate that the transaction will close this month, subject to standard regulatory approvals and closing conditions. Available cash dollars will be used for the transaction.

Dickerson Petroleum is a family owned business and was founded in 1971 in Belleville, Ill. It is a wholesale gasoline distributor of unbranded and Phillips 66-branded gasoline to 27 locations throughout Illinois and Missouri along with most of the 30 Gas Mart Convenience Store locations totaling more than 50 sites.

The stores will eventually be rebranded under the Circle K brand and continue to offer motor fuel under Phillips 66. Couche-Tard's Midwest division would operate 28 of them and the other one would be operated by the Southwest division. Two sites are equipped with car washes.

Pursuant to this transaction, Couche-Tard would buy the land and buildings for 25 locations and would assume or enter into leases for the remaining locations.

In addition, pursuant to a related agreement, Couche-Tard would purchase the rights for the supply of 29 wholesale stores located throughout the same geographic area.

"Subsequent to this transaction, our network in the Midwest division would include a total of 527 company operated-stores and 212 locations under wholesale or franchise agreements. These stores occupy strategic locations within their respective trade areas. Strategically, this acquisition would be a great addition to our expansion and growth plans for the Midwest division," said Bruce Landini, vice president of operations for the Midwest.

The companies did not respond to CSP Daily News requests for comment by press time.

In other company news, Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard said that it is working to submit a plan to Quebec's language office outlining how it will respect the laws governing the use of French in the province, the CP said.

The original plan was due in September 2011. The language office said it tried several times to contact Couche-Tard but was unable to obtain details of when it would submit a language plan.

Consequently, it placed the retailer on a black list that prevents it from obtaining government contracts.

After its skirmish with the retailer was reported in Montreal La Presse, Couche-Tard said it submitted a letter Monday to the language office saying that it is acting in good faith to remedy the situation as soon as possible.

The company said it hasn't received any complaints from customers or the office in the last year but has been unable to meet the extended July deadline to submit a plan because of "administrative and operational issues."

Couche-Tard said it recently adopted internal policies that ensure full respect of the French language charter known as Bill 101. The law guides where French is used in computers, internal memos and signs.

Couche-Tard has about 900 corporate-owned and affiliated stores in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.

As of Oct. 14, 2012, Couche-Tard's network consists of 6,172 convenience stores throughout North America, including 4,590 stores with fuel dispensing. Its North American network consists of 13 business units, including nine in the United States covering 40 states and the District of Columbia (primarily under the Circle K flag) and four in Canada covering all 10 provinces (primarily under the Couche-Tard and Mac's flags).

Through its acquisition of Statoil Fuel & Retail, Couche-Tard operates a retail network across Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden and Denmark), Poland, the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and Russia with 2,301 stores as at Sept. 30, 2012.