Topaz sold to Canadian retail giant

Ireland’s largest convenience and fuel retailer, Topaz, has been sold to Canadian retailer giant Alimentation Couche-Tard.

The companies signed an agreement that will lead to the acquisition on Wednesday morning. It will include Topaz’s subsidiary companies, Resource Property Investment Fund plc, and its recently-acquired Esso network in Ireland.

The transaction is expected to close in Spring 2016, subject to the regulatory approvals and conditions.

The companies said they have agreed not to disclose the purchase price for the acquisition.

Couche-Tard is one of the world’s largest convenience and fuel retail businesses, with some 15,000 sites across its network.

It currently has franchises in the US, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, the Baltics and Russia, Asia, and the Middle East, employing over 100,000 people.

Topaz’s chief executive, Emmet O’Neill, who took the top job halfway through 2014, described the transaction as a “game changer” for the retail sector in Ireland.

“Couche-Tard is one of the strongest names in retail in the world and their presence in Ireland will transform the retail sector here,” he said.

“I am thrilled they have chosen Topaz as the foundation for their entry to the Irish market. They will bring enormous skill, energy and resources to this business and this market.”

O’Neill said that the deal followed a transformation of the company over the past two years.

“In the last two years, Topaz has moved from being a challenged business to one which has been transformed at every level and which now leads the market here.

“We have refinanced the company, upgraded the infrastructure, acquired and built new sites and convenience stores and ultimately acquired the business of Esso in Ireland. Today’s transaction is a reflection of the immense effort made by everyone on the team and across the company over that time.”

Topaz’s network includes 464 service stations, 162 of which are company owned and a commercial fuels operation with over 30 depots.

Brian Hannasch, president and CEO of Couche-Tard said: “Ireland has been on an extraordinary journey over the past decade. We have been looking at this market for several years. With the addition of Topaz, we would expand our geographic footprint into what, today, is one of Europe’s best performing economies.”