Mergers & Acquisitions

Irving Oil to Acquire Top Oil in Ireland

Deal for more than 200 retail sites pits refiner-marketer against Couche-Tard

SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick -- Irving Oil has signed agreements to acquire the Tedcastle group of companies, an Irish energy marketing and distribution organization that operates under the name Top Oil. The acquisition puts Irving Oil in competition in Ireland with Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.’s Topaz Energy Group Ltd., even as the two companies forge a closer relationship in North America.

Based in Dublin, Top Oil has a fully integrated market presence, including 200 dealer- and company-owned gas-station forecourts with convenience stores and 20 Sirio automated fuel-card sites.

It is also a major supplier of gasoline, diesel fuel, aviation fuel and home heating oil, including kerosene. Top Oil sells more than 264 million gallons of fuel every year to commercial and residential consumers in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The acquisition will enable Irving Oil to further expand its business across the Atlantic basin, having purchased Ireland’s sole refinery in Whitegate in 2016.

“As a proud Atlantic Canadian company, family owned and operated for close to a century, we have a long-term commitment to our employees, customers and communities we call home,” said Sarah Irving, executive vice president of Irving Oil. “We are looking forward to this opportunity to continue to expand and grow in the Irish market.”

The acquisition will be complete once all conditions of the sale have been met, including approval by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in Ireland. Upon closing, Irving Oil will continue full operation of the Top Oil business and its assets as usual. Top Oil branding will remain in place across all locations, and the company will maintain its existing workforce, it said.

“We are looking forward to joining Irving Oil and continuing to grow and develop our business under its umbrella,” said Gerard Boylan, CEO of Top Oil. “We share a common commitment to our employees, customers and the wider community.”

Canadian Frenemies

The acquisition comes as Irving Oil is forging ties with Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard, which 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 to rebrand 36 of its CST sites to Circle K and the Irving fuel brand. The agreement includes selling 13 of these former CST retail sites to Irving Oil. Couche-Tard will continue to operate the sites.

Couche-Tard closed on the acquisition of Topaz in early 2016. Topaz is the leading convenience and fuel retailer in Ireland, with 444 gas stations, including its recently acquired Esso gas-station network. Of these stations, Topaz operates 158, and dealers operate 286. The agreement also includes a commercial fuels operation, with more than 30 depots and two terminals. Couche-Tard will rebrand the Topaz stores, including the Esso locations, with the new global Circle K brand.

Founded in 1924 and based in Saint John, New Brunswick, Irving Oil operates Canada’s largest refinery in Saint John and more than 900 gas stations and c-stores and a network of distribution terminals in eastern Canada and New England in the United States.

Photograph courtesy of Top Oil

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