Deal could see Topaz rebranded to Circle K

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A typical Circle K forecourt in the US

Ireland’s Topaz sites could be rebranded under the Circle K fascia after being bought over by Canadian retail empire Alimentation Couche-Tard on Wednesday.

Reports suggest local management will be left in place, although it has emerged Topaz’s recently appointed entrepreneurial chief executive Emmet O’Brien will step down after the deal’s scheduled conclusion in March.

Couche-Tard has some 14,900 sites in its network, including 2,217 in Europe. It’s Circle K brand is among the five largest in the US, jostling for position with 7-Eleven, BP, and Shell.

Brian Hannasch, president and chief executive officer of Alimentation Couche-Tard and Emmet O'Neill, chief executive, Topaz discuss the deal. Photo by Johnny Bambury-Fennell Photography

Brian Hannasch, president and chief executive officer of Alimentation Couche-Tard and Emmet O’Neill, chief executive of Topaz, discuss the deal.
Photo by Johnny Bambury-Fennell Photography

The deal follows closely on the heels of Topaz’s multi-million Euro acquisition of Esso’s remaining Irish sites.

Although both companies agreed not to release details of the fee, the deal is understood to be worth in the region of €450 million.

Topaz’s owner, businessman Denis O’Brien, is reported to have purchased the fuel retail chain for €150m in a liquidators’ auction in 2013.

The Irish company’s annual turnover, including the Esso brand, is believed to be €3.5 billion.

“As part of the larger Couche-Tard merchant family, and with the strong, global Circle K brand in our portfolio, we are well-equipped to take on this significant market,” said Jacob Schram, Couche-Tard’s group president Europe yesterday.

“Topaz would be a great strategic fit for Couche-Tard and it would strengthen our position in Western Europe. It has an extensive and attractive convenience and fuel network, with good locations, quality forecourts and stores, an excellent food offering and very professional teams.

“We look forward to welcoming Topaz into our family.”

Topaz chairman John Callaghan added: “We are delighted to have agreed this transaction with Couche-Tard who are recognised as world leaders in the fuel and convenience store industry.

“We know they will build on the foundations we have put in place and bring a new dimension to the industry in Ireland to the benefit of the economy, our customers and our staff.  We wish Couche-Tard well and look forward with confidence to an exciting future.”

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