Germany Could Be Next Stamp in Couche-Tard's Passport

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Germany Could Be Next Stamp in Couche-Tard's Passport


LAVAL, Quebec -- Fresh off revealing it is moving into Scandinavia, Poland and Russia's retail arena, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. may now have set its sights on Germany.

According to the Montreal Gazette, the Canadian-based convenience store retailer studied the European market thoroughly before offering $2.8 billion for Norway's Statoil Fuel & Retail ASA and decided that it would target northern Europe in its expansion plans. Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are next on the list as oil producers such as Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Exxon Mobil Corp. divest retail assets over time, said Couche-Tard CFO Raymond Paré.

"Germany is clearly on our radar and at the top of the list," Paré told the news outlet, adding that the nation's market is as solid as Scandinavia. "We did assess basically almost all the networks in these countries. We know pretty well what we want and what we don't want."

Couche-Tard grabbed headlines on April 18 with the early morning news that it was poised to acquire Statoil Fuel & Retail ASA, a 2,300 convenience store chain. Shareholders of Statoil must approve the transaction, and Norwegian government regulatory approvals are also required. However, Statoil's board of directors already approved the all-cash offer, as CSNews Online previously reported.

Couche-Tard has a strong presence in North America where it operates c-stores under the Couche-Tard, Macs and Circle K banners. The company also has licensees in Asia.