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    Couche-Tard Continues Buying Spree

    Company acquires 54 c-stores in the Midwest from Holland Oil.

    LAVAL, Quebec -- Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. yesterday announced its second acquisition in just one week. This time, the Canadian company, through its indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, Mac's Convenience Stores LLC, signed an agreement to purchase 54 stores in Ohio from family-owned Holland Oil Company.

    Holland Oil, founded by Chuck Holland in 1954, started as a single service station. The 54 convenience stores are all currently company-operated under the Holland Oil and Close to Home banners. Fifty-two of the stores have CITGO-branded gasoline, while two are branded Gulf. There are 30 stores that have a beverage drive thru.

    The majority of the locations are in the Akron/Canton metropolitan area; the rest are within the Cleveland metropolitan area. Under the agreement between the parties, Couche-Tard would buy the land and buildings for all 54 stores.

    "Strategically, these acquisitions would be excellent complements to our current network in the Midwest and would efficiently complement the network expansion plans," said Darrell Davis, vice-president operations, Midwest division.

    "Consistent with our development strategy, we selected these 54 stores based on the following criteria: prime locations, potential for growth and quality of people. Under our operation model and with the efficiency of our marketing programs, these 54 sites would contribute to improve profitability of the division," he continued.

    Should this transaction close as planned in September 2006, Couche-Tard's network in the Midwest division would include a total of 692 stores. The acquisition will add sales of approximately $325 million to Couche-Tard's revenues and contribute to its earnings on an annualized basis. Internal cash flow dollars will pay for the transaction, but because of a confidentiality agreement, the purchase price was not disclosed.

    The transaction is subject to standard regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

    Couche-Tard's network is currently comprised of 5,144 convenience stores, 3,180 of which include motor fuel dispensing. It is the third largest convenience store operator and the second largest independent (not integrated with a petroleum company) c-store operator in North America.

    On August 18, CSNews Online reported that Couche-Tard, through its Circle K subsidiary, had signed an agreement with Sparky's Oil Co. to purchase 24 stores in West Central Fla., bringing the Circle K presence in the Florida and Gulf region to 570 stores. The chain is expected to buy the property of four locations and lease the remaining 20. That transaction should close in October.

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