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    Couche-Tard Acquires 53 Star Fuel Mart Stores

    Oklahoma City stores bring the company's Arizona division to 672 stores.

    LAVAL, Quebec -- Through its subsidiary Circle K Stores Inc., Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. signed agreements to acquire 53 All Star stores, with 2006 sales of approximately $215 million, from Star Fuel Marts LLC.

    All of the company-operated stores are in Oklahoma City with 29 branded ConocoPhillips-and 24 branded Shell. All the sites being acquired would retain their respective brands, according to Couche-Tard. In addition, 39 of the sites have drive-through car washes.

    "The All Star sites are located on highly visible and well traveled roads and occupy strategic locations within their respective trade areas,” said Geoffrey Haxel, vice president operations, Arizona division. “In addition, these sites are well operated and have a strong management team in place. Strategically, this acquisition would be an excellent fit with our network and would complement our expansion and growth plans for the Arizona division."

    Once acquired, the stores will be rebranded to the Circle K banner and operated by the Arizona Circle K division. Long-term leases will remain with the seller for 42 sites and Couche-Tard will assume 11 third-party leases for the remaining sites. The acquisition will bring the number of stores in the company's Arizona division to 672.

    "This is a good opportunity to enter that market because these assets are of a very high quality,'' Chief Financial Officer Richard Fortin said in a telephone interview to Bloomberg News. "We see further growth opportunities down there eventually.''

    The purchase price was not disclosed due to a confidentiality agreement. Internal available cash will pay for the transaction, which is expected to close in April 2007. The acquisition will add to Couche-Tard's revenues and contribute to its earnings on an annualized basis, the company said in a written statement.

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