Mergers & Acquisitions

Francois Oil Exec Trading in C-Stores for Ford Dealership

Casey’s making good on promise to bulk up in the Badger State with acquisition

BELLEVILLE, Wis. -- With the sale of fiveconvenience stores to Casey’s General Stores Inc., Ed Francois, president of Francois Oil, is making a move to leave the convenience-store industry to spend more time on his Ford automobile dealership, one of the oldest in the state.

Casey's has purchased and acquired five of Belleville, Wis.-based Francois Oil Co.'s c-stores, which are branded The Station.

Francois Oil operates 13 c-stores and is a wholesale distributor of fuels in the Belleville and Madison, Wis., area. The company is selling four other locations to a private individual in two weeks, Terry Monroe of American Business Brokers & Advisors, Effingham, Ill., told CSP Daily News. Monroe and Bill Fecht of W.J.F. Services Inc., Normal, Ill., provided merger & acquisition advisory services to Francois Oil.

Francois Oil will continue to operate the remaining four for the time being.

The deal helps Casey's solidify its position in Wisconsin. The company has been looking to expand in the Badger State, said President and CEO Terry Handley, during the regional retailer’s latest earnings call.

“A state that we want to focus on as well, going forward, is Wisconsin. It's in our backyard, and we see a great number of towns that are Casey's towns,” Handley said earlier this month.

More than half of all Casey’s c-stores are in markets with populations of fewer than 5,000 people. Casey's has more than 20 c-stores in Wisconsin, a state dominated by La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip.

The company said it expects to convert the newly acquired The Station locations to the Casey’s General Store brand. Casey’s will renovate the stores in the coming months following the final closing of the transaction, it said.

Francois Oil began in 1939, when the company was founded by J.C. Francois, the son of a French immigrant. The company began as a Cities Service Gas Station in Belleville that originally sold and serviced Case Machinery and then eventually began to sell automobiles.

Starting in the early 1970s, the gas portion of the company began to develop when Rich, Ray and David Francois, J.C.'s sons, began working full time for the companies and formed a partnership now known as the Francois Oil. In addition to the original station, they opened another gas station in Stoughton, Wis., and created the convenience-store division.

The Station locations offer BP and CITGO gasoline; four locations have car washes, and one has a quick lube. The Station c-stores offer Milo's Subs, Subway, Godfather's Pizza and A&W for foodservice.

Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey’s operates more than 1,950 stores in 14 Midwestern states, primarily Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.

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