LAVAL, Quebec — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has agreed to acquire all of the membership interests of True Blue Car Wash LLC. True Blue operates express tunnel car wash sites under the Clean Freak brand in the southwestern United States and the Rainstorm brand in the Midwest.
Founded in 2016, True Blue has 65 car washes located in high-traffic areas in Arizona, Texas, Illinois and Indiana with a pipeline of new-to-industry (NTI) sites planned and under development.
With approximately 170,000 fast-pass subscription members representing more than half of total revenue, True Blue has experienced strong growth in recent years and is well positioned to continue to grow in a highly fragmented and growing industry, more than 60% of which is comprised of standalone operators owning one to two car wash locations, according to Couche-Tard. True Blue has washed more than 10 million cars over the last year, the company said.
These sites are also a natural extension of Couche-Tard’s existing car wash network of more than 2,500 locations, it said. With more than 85% of True Blue’s locations within three miles of a Circle K convenience store, the transaction provides a strong geographic overlap to support traffic-driving offers between True Blue sites and Circle K locations, said the company.
“We are committed to leading and innovating in fast-growing segments that meet our customers’ needs. With True Blue, we have a great opportunity to extend our brands into a very attractive industry subcategory in a way that complements our convenience and mobility offerings and enhances value for our customers,” said Brian Hannasch, president and CEO of Couche-Tard. “Adding True Blue’s high-quality car wash sites to our family presents compelling opportunities to cross-promote and build loyalty and engagement for both customers and our team members. We are looking forward to having its talented team join us in our efforts to shape the future of convenience.”
CFO Claude Tessier, added: “We are impressed by the strong growth achieved by True Blue in recent years, as evidenced by an approximate 45% growth in total cars washed between fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2021, and believe this acquisition will enable future growth for Couche-Tard in this segment as well as contribute to create value for our shareholders.”
Couche-Tard will finance the deal with available cash and existing credit facilities.
The companies expect the transaction to close in the first half of calendar year 2023, subject to standard regulatory approvals and closing conditions.
True Blue’s management, office and operations teams will join Couche-Tard, and current CEO Stuart Crum will lead its operations.
“I am confident that together we will build a world-class express car wash business just as Couche-Tard has done over the last 40 years in the convenience-store business,” said Crum. “We will take our industry-leading playbook with Couche-Tard’s operating and growth model to become the leading operator in the car wash industry.”
- Alimentation Couche-Tard is No. 2 on CSP’s 2022 Top 202 ranking of U.S. convenience-store chains by store count.
Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard’s 24-country global c-store network includes approximately 9,300 locations in North America, with more than 7,100 in the United States, primarily under the Circle K and Holiday Stationstores banners, and approximately 2,100 in Canada under the Circle K, Mac’s and Couche-Tard banners.
In Europe, under the Circle K and other banners, Couche-Tard operates a retail network in Scandinavia, Ireland, Poland, the Baltics and Russia including more than 2,700 stores and unmanned automated fuel stations. And under licensing agreements, more than 2,200 stores operate under the Circle K banner in 15 other countries and territories (Cambodia, Egypt, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jamaica, Macau, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam). This brings Couche-Tard’s worldwide total network to approximately 14,300 mostly Circle K-branded c-stores, of which approximately 10,900 offer motor fuel.
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