Alimentation Couche-Tard, the Canadian-listed owner of Topaz, will bring its Circle K brand to Ireland next year, as part of an overall rebranding package for the network of filling stations and stores it bought from Denis O'Brien.
The parent group is also relocating several global functions to Europe from Norway and Luxembourg, including its brand, procurement and fuels divisions. Couche-Tard also owns the former Statoil business based in Norway.
It says it has not yet finalised the number of jobs that will move to Dublin, but it has already moved an initial 20 senior roles over as part of the process.
Couche-Tard said the beefing up of senior roles at the Irish group highlights its intention to grow the business.
The development of forecourt sites, the relocation of the global functions, as well as next year’s Circle K rebranding and a previously announced decision to rename the forecourts as Miles, will be partly financed from a cash injection from the Quebec parent entity.
The €25 million investment into Couche-Tard’s Irish holding company, Circle K Ireland Holding, was highlighted this week in documents filed with the Companies Registration Office.
The €6 million rebranding of the 430-strong chain of forecourts from Topaz/Esso to Miles will be completed will be completed within the next two months, the parent group said. Couche-Tard has been introducing the Miles brand in several of its European units in recent years.
The introduction of the Circle K brand is likely to see it eventually replace the Re:Store brand that Topaz had only just developed when Mr O’Brien agreed to sell the business to Couche-Tard in a surprise deal.
In effect, Miles will be the fuel brand over the forecourts, while Circle K will hang over the door of the shops.
Couche-Tard finalised the purchase of the business in February last year for €258 million cash plus debt. Figures provided in March to investors in the listed parent group suggest it has assumed various tranches of borrowings, including long-term debt of €133 million.
The overall enterprise value of the transaction is estimated at more than €400 million. A further €15 million is payable in contingent contract clauses.
Couche-Tard subsequently became embroiled in litigation with a company connected to Mr O’Brien over a portion of the sale price related to the Esso assets that Topaz agreed to buy under its former ownership.
That dispute, which is believed to be related to certain of the Esso assets, was later settled between the two sides.