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    Couche-Tard Acquiring 27 Sun Mart Stores

    Circle K subsidiary agrees to purchase Sun Mart stores from Sun Pacific Energy.

    LAVAL, Quebec -- Through its indirect wholly owned subsidiary, Circle K Stores Inc. Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. signed an agreement to acquire 27 stores in eastern Washington State from Sun Pacific Energy, which operates under the Sun Mart banner. The sites are primarily in the "Tri-Cities" area of Pasco, Kennewick and Richland. The transaction, subject to standard regulatory approvals, is anticipated to close this November.

    According to a confidentiality agreement between the parties, the purchase price cannot be disclosed at this time. Internal available cash and available credit facilities will fund the transaction. As CSNews Online reported earlier this month, Couche-Tard hinted that it was likely to make a purchase of less than 100 stores.

    All 27 Sun Mart stores are company-operated and 26 offer motor fuel, of which 19 are Shell branded and the other seven are Exxon branded. Couche-Tard expects these sites to bring a total additional volume of more than 43 million gallons in motor fuel sales annually, and nearly $35 million in merchandise revenue.

    Three of the sites are equipped with car washes, and five have sandwich offers under the Subway or Blimpie brands. The sites will be operated by Couche-Tard's West Coast Division under the Circle K brand. Pursuant to this transaction, Couche-Tard will buy the land and buildings for 26 locations and assume or enter into leases for the remaining location.

    "This is a great opportunity for the West Coast Division to make an entry into a new market with very high quality assets from an outstanding and highly respected operator. I am very confident the assets, market and team would make an immediate positive contribution to the corporation. This transaction would bring the company-operated store count for the division to 252," commented Tim Tourek, vice-president operations, U.S. West Coast Division.

    In North America, Alimentation Couche-Tard is the largest independent convenience store operator in terms of number of company-operated stores. As of April 29, the company had a network of 5,803 c-stores, 4,216 of which include motor fuel dispensing. As of the same date, the corporation had agreements for the supply of motor fuel to an additional 350 sites operated by independent operators.

    Couche-Tard's network consists of 13 business units, including nine in the United States covering 42 states and the District of Columbia, and four in Canada covering all 10 provinces. In addition, under licensing agreements, about 3,990 stores are operated under the Circle K banner in nine other countries worldwide -- China, Guam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Mexico, Vietnam and United Arab Emirates. More than 60,000 people are employed throughout Couche-Tard's retail convenience network and service centers in North America.

    Following its acquisition of Statoil Fuel & Retail last month, Couche-Tard now operates a broad retail network across Scandinavia, Poland, the Baltics and Russia with approximately 2,300 stores, the majority of which offer full-service and convenience products, while the others are automated (fuel only) stations. Throughout its European operations, Couche-Tard also generates revenues from stationary energy, marine fuel, aviation fuel, lubricants and chemicals. It operates 12 key terminals, as well as 38 depots in eight countries. It also operates approximately 400 road tankers. Including employees at Statoil branded franchise stations, about 18,500 people work in Couche-Tard's retail network across Europe, in its European corporate headquarters, eight regional headquarters, its terminals and in its depots.

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