Mergers & Acquisitions

Couche-Tard, Irving Oil Form Joint Venture

Will convert 36 CST Corner Store, Ultramar sites to global Circle K brand, Irving fuel

LAVAL, Quebec -- Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. is enhancing the market presence of its Circle K brand in Atlantic Canada following its 2017 acquisition of CST Brands Inc. through a joint-venture agreement with Irving Oil Ltd. to rebrand 36 of its CST sites to Circle K and the Irving fuel brand.

This agreement brings the total number of Circle K sites in Atlantic Canada to 166.

The agreement includes selling 13 of these former CST retail sites to Irving Oil. Couche-Tard will continue to operate the sites.

Nine of the 13 sites Couche-Tard is selling to Irving are in Nova Scotia, Halifax, Dartmouth, Lower Sackville and Truro. Additional sites are in St. John's, Newfoundland, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and Dieppe, New Brunswick.

Couche-Tard will immediately begin transitioning the retail sites to the Circle K store brand and Irving fuel, planning to complete the process by fall 2018 for all locations. Couche-Tard currently operates the sites under the Corner Store and Ultramar brands. Couche-Tard plans to make significant investments in further expanding the Circle K brand while growing its market share across Atlantic Canada and adding some if its key food concepts in select sites, including roller grill, Polar Pop, Simply Great Coffee, Froster and bake-on-site fresh bakery products.

"With our new global Circle K brand, we are setting out to make it easy for existing and new customers in Atlantic Canada,” said Pierre Peters, vice president operations of Quebec East and Atlantic region. “We are continuing on our journey to become the world's preferred destination for convenience and fuel, with a fresh look and feel and even better products for people on the go, always combined with fast and friendly service."

Couche-Tard launched the new global Circle K convenience brand in September 2015. The new brand replaces existing Circle K, Statoil, Mac's and Kangaroo Express brands on stores and gas stations across Canada (except in Quebec, where it will continue to operate under the Couche-Tard brand), the United States, Europe and more recently Russia. Since its launch, it has grown to include more than 5,000 sites in Europe and North America.

Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Irving Oil is a refiner-marketer with more than 900 gas stations and convenience stores in eastern Canada and New England. Its U.S. headquarters is in Portsmouth, N.H.

  • Couche-Tard is No. 2 in CSP's 2018 Top 202 ranking of convenience-store chains by total number of company-owned retail outlets.

Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard's network includes 10,020 c-stores North America, including 8,698 stores with road transportation fuel dispensing. Its North American network consists of 19 business units, including 15 in the United States covering 48 states and four in Canada covering all 10 provinces. Through CrossAmerica Partners LP, Allentown, Pa., Couche-Tard supplies fuel under various brands to more than 1,300 U.S. locations.

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