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Canada's Biggest Gas-Station Operator Eyeing the U.S.

ALBERTA, Canada — Parkland Fuel Corp.'s last big move was in Canada; however, its next step could be in the United States.

Chief Executive Bob Espey told the Calgary Herald the company is interested in the U.S. market — where it already has a toehold in the northern tier region. 

For example, Parkland Fuel Corp. inked agreements to buy three gas stations in Wyoming from 7-Eleven Inc. The two truck stops and one retail gas station were located around the Cheyenne area, as CSNews Online previously reported.

Its businesses also include Superpumper Inc., a regional convenience store chain based in Minot, N.D.

Espey also pointed out Parkland has room to grow in Canada's urban centers, like Calgary, where it does not currently have gas stations.

According to the news outlet, the company's acquisition activity kicked up with Espey at the helm. Within two years of taking over, he built a corporate development team to evaluate potential targets, hiring staff from investment banks as well as private-equity and consulting firms. 

In addition, he improved Parkland's integration process. "It's easy to buy businesses — it's difficult to do it well," he said. "We focus on doing it well and making sure that we are rigorous and understand what the opportunities are."

In one of its latest deals, Parkland entered into an agreement with Chevron Canada Ltd. to acquire all of the shares of Chevron Canada R&M ULC, which operates its Canadian integrated downstream fuel business.

The deal consists of three business segments: retail, commercial, and supply and wholesale. Included in the acquisition are 129 Chevron-branded retail service stations principally located in Metro Vancouver, which complement Parkland's existing 44 Chevron-branded sites in British Columbia.

The company will take the next 12 to 24 months to digest its recent purchases and work down the debt, Espey told the news outlet.

According to the report, the company's next acquisition could be in one of those less-visible markets, possibly in propane in Canada. But that will depend on what's available when Parkland is ready to start making big deals again, the executive said.

"Part of our culture is being deliberate and careful and making sure that we can deliver," Espey said. "Once we feel capable of delivering, we'll be back in the market looking for new assets."

Alberta-based Parkland delivers gasoline, diesel, propane, lubricants, heating oil and other high-quality petroleum products to motorists, businesses, households and wholesale customers in Canada and the United States.

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