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    Couche-Tard Squashes Sinopec Rumors

    LAVAL, Quebec -- Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. may not be eyeing a move into Asia after all.

    The Canada-based convenience store chain issued a statement late Tuesday putting to rest rumors that it is one of several companies looking to take a minority stake in China's Sinopec Sales, the world's largest fuel retail network.

    "Couche-Tard has no plan to invest in the Sinopec placement at this time. Furthermore, should Couche-Tard have material information to communicate, it would be timely circulated through a press release disclosing the news to the market," the company stated.

    Couche-Tard spoke out after people familiar with the matter told Reuters the retailer was on a short list of six potential buyers looking to pay $16 billion for a piece of state-run Sinopec, which was formally known as China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., as CSNews Online previously reported.

    Couche-Tard already has an extensive international footprint.

    As of April 27, its North American network was comprised of 6,241 convenience stores, including 4,756 stores with road transportation fuel dispensing. Its North American network consists of 13 business units, including nine in the United States covering 39 states and the District of Columbia, and four in Canada covering all 10 provinces. 

    In Europe, Couche-Tard operates a broad retail network across Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark), Poland, the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and Russia, which totaled 2,258 stores as of April 27. The majority offer road transportation fuel and convenience products, while the others are unmanned, automated service stations that offer road transportation fuel only.

    The corporation also offers other products, including stationary energy, marine fuel, aviation fuel, lubricants and chemicals. Couche-Tard operates key fuel terminals and fuel depots in eight countries. 

    In addition, under licensing agreements, about 4,600 stores are operated under the Circle K banner in 12 other countries worldwide -- China, Guam, Honduras, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Vietnam and United Arab Emirates -- which brings the number of sites in Couche-Tard's network to more than 13,100.

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