Topaz owner Couche-Tard pumps €310m into Irish fuels unit

Couche-Tard’s move involves larger head office and unspecified job expansion

Couche-Tard finalised the purchase of the 430-strong Topaz network from Denis O’Brien in February 2016 in a €258 million cash plus debt deal.

Couche-Tard finalised the purchase of the 430-strong Topaz network from Denis O’Brien in February 2016 in a €258 million cash plus debt deal.

 

Alimentation Couche-Tard, the Canadian-listed owner of fuel retailing group Topaz, has pumped €310 million of cash into its Irish operation to fund the transfer of a number of the parent group’s global functions to Ireland.

Couche-Tard is relocating several global functions to Europe from Norway, where it also owns the former Statoil business, and Luxembourg, including its brand, procurement and fuels divisions.

The move will result in an expansion of its head office here, although the company has previously said it has not yet finalised the number of jobs that will shift to Ireland as a result of the relocations.

Couche Tard paid the cash into its Circle K Ireland Holding company in two tranches over the summer, according to documents that have just become available in the Companies Registration Office.

The first tranche involved a cash payment of €165.7 million into its Irish unit on July 19th. The payment was made by a Quebec company linked to the parent group. It then made a second payment a week later of €144.5 million.

The day after the first payment was received, the Irish unit then used a similar sum of cash to inject capital into another recently registered Dublin company, Circle K Procurement & Brands.

Circle K

Following the second payment, a similar transaction resulted in that cash winding its way into another recently registered Irish company, Circle K Ireland Fuel Trading.

“The recent investments are the capitalisation and transfer of intangible assets into the new entities . . . following the previous announcement to relocate these functions in Ireland,” the Canadian parent group confirmed.

“These investments highlight Couche-Tard’s commitment to the growth and development of the Irish business unit and Ireland as a country of strategic importance for the wider group.”

Couche-Tard finalised the purchase of the 430-strong Topaz network from Denis O’Brien in February 2016 in a deal rumoured at the time to be worth €400 million in terms of enterprise value (equity plus net debt).

Figures later provided by the Canadian group’s to its shareholders reveal it paid €258 million cash plus debt for Topaz. The figures also suggest it has assumed various tranches of borrowings, including long-term debt of €133 million, with a further chunk of contingencies.

It plans to bring its Circle K retail brand to its Irish business next year, while it has already announced the rollout of its Miles fuels brand in Ireland in a €26 million investment over four years.