Global convenience and fuel industry giant Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ATD-A-T) has an agreement to sell 49 U.S. stores and has earmarked an additional 306 sites across North America for disposition following a review of its assets.
Among the sites it continues to market for sale are 37 stores in six Canadian provinces. The rest are in the United States, comprising 269 sites in 25 states.
“The decision to divest select stores fits within the company’s network optimization strategy and follows a comprehensive and uniform network planning process that began in the fall of 2020,” said Brian Hannasch, president and CEO of Couche-Tard, in the announcement Monday morning. “Through this process, we have identified sites that no longer fit our strategic objectives, either from a brand perspective or from a regional scale perspective.”
The 49 stores it has an agreement to sell are all in Oklahoma, and will be acquired by Casey’s General Stores Inc. for $39 million in an all-cash transaction. The portfolio includes 46 leased and three owned properties and is expected to close by July 31.
Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc. acted as financial advisor to Couche-Tard on the transaction.
Couche-Tard to continue building, expanding
Hannasch said Couche-Tard plans to continue its ongoing program to construct new stores and expand other existing properties.
“Concurrently we have identified many opportunities to expand our footprint through new store builds and will continue to allocate capital to upgrade the size and scale of our locations, improve store layouts and allow for the best utilization of our Fresh Food, Fast program as well as other initiatives which improve the customer journey,” he said in the announcement.
The stores Couche-Tard has placed on the market includes 269 U.S. sites in addition to the Canadian properties, with an average store size of approximately 2,600 square feet and an average lot size of 29,500 square feet.
Of the 306 sites, 122 are fee-owned and 184 are leased, while 238 properties sell fuel and 68 are convenience only.
Couche-Tard has set an early May deadline for expressions of interest.
About Alimentation Couche-Tard
Couche-Tard is an international leader in convenience and fuel retail, operating in 26 countries and territories. It operates more than 14,200 stores, of which approximately 10,800 offer fuel.
With its Couche-Tard and Circle K banners, it is the largest independent convenience store operator (based on number of company-operated stores) in the United States.
It is a major player in the convenience store and retail fuel industry in Canada, Scandinavia, the Baltics and Ireland. Couche-Tard also has interests in Poland and Hong Kong.
The firm reported $4.5 billion in total merchant dies and service revenues in its Q3 2021 financial report (ending Jan. 31), an increase of 5.6 per cent year-over-year.
Net earnings were $607.5 million, or $0.55 per diluted share, down from $659.9 million or $0.59 per diluted share, mainly due to a reduction in traffic caused by COVID-19 restrictions in countries where it operates.
Couche-Tard reported that while merchandise sales increased on a year-over-year basis, fuel sales declined by as much as 20 per cent due to the pandemic-related travel restrictions.
Couche-Tard employs approximately 135,000 throughout its network.